Further casting has been announced for several upcoming plays in London and at leading regional venues, including Peter Gill’s 50th anniversary production of John Osborne’s seminal Look Back in Anger, which concludes Sir Peter Hall’s annual summer repertory season at the Theatre Royal Bath (See News, 3 Mar 2006).

Gill has cast Richard Coyle (pictured) – whom he previously directed in his own play, The York Realist - as the original “angry young man”, the working class anti-hero Jimmy Porter. In an urban bedsit, Jimmy lives with his upper crust wife Alison and his best friend Cliff. Sexual tensions rise as the frustrations of daily life and a dead-end job mount. Look Back in Anger runs at Bath from 16 August to 2 September 2006 ahead of an anticipated West End transfer.

In addition to The York Realist, which moved to the West End following a Royal Court stint and tour, Coyle’s stage credits include Proof (opposite Gwyneth Paltrow at the Donmar Warehouse) and, most recently, Don Carlos (opposite Derek Jacobi at Sheffield Crucible and in the West End). His many screen credits include Coupling, Strange, The Best Man, The Libertine, Cracker and Gunpowder, Plot and Treason.

Osborne’s kitchen-sink drama was credited with changing the course of British drama when it opened at London’s Royal Court in May 1956. As part of its own year-long 50th anniversary season this year, the Royal Court held a special one-off performance - starring David Tennant, who played Jimmy in a Bath production last year - on 8 May 2006, 50 years to the day after it had its world premiere at a two-month-old Court under the English Stage Company (See News, 28 Apr 2006).

The Bath production is the only fully staged production of the play to mark its landmark birthday. It’s designed by William Dudley. No further casting has yet been announced.

At the National Theatre, Adrian Dunbar (Hear My Song, The Crying Game, The General on film) will star in James Joyce’s only stage play, Exiles, when it receives its first London airing in more than 30 years at the NT Cottesloe (See News, 19 Apr 2006). James MacDonald’s production, opening on 2 August 2006 (previews from 26 July), also reunites Dervla Kirwan, Peter McDonald and Marcella Plunkett who appeared together last year in the NT revival of Brian Friel’s Aristocrats.

During his long self-imposed exile from his native Ireland, Joyce wrote Exiles in 1914, between his classic novels Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man and Ulysses. It’s based in part on the author’s own relationship with Nora Barnacle. Back in Dublin after nine years abroad, Richard and Bertha have to confront two other people who love them and ask themselves questions about guilt and responsibility. Will infidelity hold them together?

At London’s Donmar Warehouse, title stars Michael Sheen and Frank Langella will be joined in the world premiere of Frost/Nixon by: Elliot Cowan (Don Carlos), Amerjit Deu, Corey Johnson, Lydia Leonard, Vincent Marzello, Kate Roscoe, Kerry Shale and Rufus Wright (See News, 2 Jun 2006). TV screenwriter Peter Morgan’s debut stage play is inspired by the bruising 1977 interview in which British TV presenter David Frost tried to get the disgraced former US president Richard Nixon to apologise for his crimes. Directed by Donmar artistic director Michael Grandage, Frost/Nixon runs from 15 August to 7 October 2006 (previews from 10 August).

At Chichester Festival Theatre, further casting has been announced for three of the remaining productions in this summer’s season (See News, 20 Feb 2006).

  • In the Festival Theatre, Daniel Weyman takes the title role in the two-part epic staging of Charles Dickens’ The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, which opens on 20 July 2006 (previews from 24 June) and continues to 2 September. The cast also includes: Steven Alvey, Ian Ashpitel, Bob Barrett, David Dawson (Smike), Pip Donaghy (Mr Squeers), Robert Hastie, Stephanie Jacob, Susan Jameson, Leigh Lawson (Ralph Nickleby), Dilys Laye, Bernard Lloyd, Christopher Logan, Emma Manton, Alex McIntosh, Abigail McKern, Brian Poyser, John Ramm (Newman Noggs), Simon Roberts, Veronica Roberts, Philippa Stanton, Zoë Waites and Hannah Yelland. The Royal Shakespeare Company’s groundbreaking 1980 production by Trevor Nunn and John Caird has gone down in theatrical lore. This updated version – newly adapted by David Edgar and directed by CFT Jonathan Church and Philip Franks - is the first major revival since then.

  • In CFT’s smaller Minerva Theatre, Noel Coward’s series of one-act plays, Tonight at 8.30 will feature: Nigel Anthony, Jonathan Bond, Josefina Gabrielle, Tamzin Griffin, Richard Hansell, Alexander Hanson, Peter Moreton, Susan Wooldridge and Madeleine Worrall. The plays were originally developed for Coward to perform with Gertrude Lawrence in 1935, and feature characters ranging from bickering music hall performers to domineering wives and down trodden husbands. Lucy Bailey directs the two triple bills, running from 13 July to 2 September 2006. Concluding the season in the Minerva, Jasper Britton will star in August Strindberg’s psychological drama, The Father, from 7 to 30 September 2006. When a wife hints that her daughter’s father may not be her husband, a fight to the death ensues as both parents bid to control their daughter’s future and win her exclusive affections. Mike Poulton’s adaptation is directed by Angus Jackson.

    - by Terri Paddock