British-born American TV star John Mahoney (pictured), best known as Marty Crane from Frasier, will lead the cast in the European premiere of David Mamet’s Romance at north London’s Almeida this autumn (See News, 25 May 2005). The production will now run from 14 September to 22 October 2005, following previews from 6 September (rather than previews from 2 September, press night on 8 September, as previously announced).

The satirical courtroom farce – which tackles wide-ranging subjects from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to sexual fidelity – had its world premiere this past February at Off-Broadway’s Atlantic Theater Company, which Mamet co-founded 20 years ago along with actor William H Macy.

Born in Blackpool, Mahoney moved to the US where he studied at Illonois’ Quincy University before joining the US Army. His extensive work with the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago includes The Dresser, Death and the Maiden, Of Mice and Men, Death of Salesman and Absent Friends. He was last seen on the London stage in Steppenwolf's The Man Who Came to Dinner at the Barbican in 1998. In New York, Mahoney’s theatre work includes House of Blue Leaves, The Weir, The Subject of Roses and Orphans. He starred in Frasier from the show’s inception in 1993 to its final episode in 2004 and received Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for his role as father Marty Crane. Mahoney’s film credits include Suspect, Moonstruck, Frantic, Barton Fink, In the Line of Fire, The Hudsucker Proxy and Primal Fear.

Romance will be directed by Lindsay Posner, whose recent West End productions have included starry revivals of Mamet’s Sexual Perversity in Chicago (with Matthew Perry and Minnie Driver), Oleanna (Aaron Eckhart and Julia Stiles) and, earlier this year, A Life in the Theatre (Patrick Stewart and Joshua Jackson).

Newly confirmed to the Almeida’s autumn schedule, Romance will be followed by the UK premiere of Stephen Dillane’s solo interpretation of Macbeth, which will run for ten performances only from 28 October to 5 November 2005 (previews from 26 October). It follows Simon Russell Beale’s performance in the same role, in John Caird’s full cast production, at the theatre at the start of this year.

Incorporating each individual character as if they are sliding in and out of Macbeth's conscience, this re-imagining of the play has been developed by Dillane and director Travis Preston with the support of the Sundance Theater Lab in Los Angeles. Dillane is accompanied by three live musicians, Jeremy Drake, Harris Eisenstadt and Vinny Golia, the renowned experimental jazz composer who has written the score.

Dillane's many stage credits include The Coast of Utopia (National) and the title roles in Uncle Vanya (directed by Katie Mitchell for the RSC) and Hamlet (directed by Peter Hall in the West End). His performance in the Donmar Warehouse production of The Real Thing, which transferred to the West End, won him the Evening Standard Award for Best Actor, and, when it subsequently transferred to Broadway, a Tony Award. Dillane’s screen credits include Welcome to Sarajevo, The Hours, Anna Karenina, The Cazalets and The Truth About Charlie.

After Macbeth, the Almeida season continues with, as previously announced (See News, 25 May 2005), another Lindsay Posner production, Moliere’s 1673 play The Hypochondriac (aka The Imaginary Invalid), in a new version by Richard Bean, running from 17 November 2005 to 7 January 2006 (previews from 10 November).

In the new year, artistic director Michael Attenborough will direct the UK premiere of Sam Shepard’s The Late Henry Moss and Howard Davies will revive Tennessee Williams’ 1960 play, Period of Adjustment, which has not been staged in London since 1962. The 2005/6 season concludes with Attenborough’s production of David Hare’s new version of Gorky’s 1906 play Enemies.

- by Terri Paddock