Prunella Scales and Samantha Bond will join Rupert Graves and Rachael Stirling in a new production of A Woman of No Importance (See News, 16 Jan 2003). The revival, directed by former RSC artistic director Adrian Noble, runs from 26 September 2003 to 24 January 2004 (previews from 10 September) at the West End's Theatre Royal Haymarket, where Oscar Wilde's comedy first premiered in 1893.

In A Woman of No Importance, the upper classes have gathered for a weekend house party at Lady Hunstanton's (Scales) country estate. The devilishly attractive Lord Illingworth (Graves) is free to flaunt his seduction skills while the ladies, including young Hester Worsley (Stirling) must hide their desires. When it's announced that Gerald Arbuthnot has been appointed as Illingworth's secretary, his mother's (Bond) scandalous secret threatens to upset her son's success.

Prunella Scales' (pictured) many notable stage productions include: in the West End, The Birthday Party, Just the Three of Us and An Evening with Queen Victoria; at the Royal Court, The Editing Process and Some Singing Blood; and at the National, Single Spies, School for Scandal and Long Day's Journey into Night. Most recently, she's appeared in touring productions of The Cherry Orchard and The External, the UK premiere of Too Far to Walk at the King's Head and the multi award-winning West End revival of Peter Nichols' A Day in the Death of Joe Egg.

Best known as John Cleese's wife Sybil in the classic sitcom Fawlty Towers, Scales has also appeared on screen in Mad Cows, Stiff Upper Lips, An Awfully Big Adventure, Howard's End, The Boys from Brazil, Silent Witness, Keeping Mum, The Rector's Wife, Mapp and Lucia and Marriage Lines - as well as the long-running Tesco adverts in which she plays Jane Horrocks' mum.

Earlier this year, Samantha Bond was nominated for a Theatregoers' Choice Award for playing Lady Macbeth to Sean Bean's Macbeth in the West End. Her other stage credits have included The Vagina Monologues, Dinner with Friends, The Memory of Water and playing the title role, opposite Dame Judi Dench, in David Hare's Amy's View at the National, in the West End and on Broadway. On screen, she's best recognised as playing Miss Moneypenny in various James Bond films.

Currently playing at the Haymarket is the revival of Ibsen's Brand, Noble's swansong production as artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, which opened on 4 June 2003, following previews and a run in Stratford. Starring Ralph Fiennes, it continues to 30 August 2003.

- by Terri Paddock