First mounted at Dublin’s Gate Theatre with Friel’s adaptation of Chekhov’s The Bear, the one-act Afterplay transferred to the West End’s Gielgud Theatre with original cast members Penelope Wilton and John Hurt. According to show spokesperson, Lunghi saw it there several times which is why she wanted to appear in this new production.
In Afterplay, two of Chekhov’s most famous characters, Sonya from Uncle Vanya and Andrey from Three Sisters, meet in a run-down cafe in Moscow in the 1920s, years after the settings of the original plays – they’re older and nursing more disappointments of dashed dreams and unrequited love.
Lunghi is best known for her screen credits including Excalibur, The Manageress, Strictly Come Dancing and the Kenco coffee adverts. She has numerous stage credits earlier in her career, at the RSC, the National and elsewhere. She was most recently seen in the Donmar Warehouse’s 2001 production of Passion Play and Picasso’s Women with Jerry Hall on tour in 2002.