Rather than receiving its European premiere at next month's Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the absurd American comedy Fuddy Meers, starring Ally McBeal's Jane Krakowski in her British stage debut, will come straight into the West End this autumn. It opens for a limited season at the Arts Theatre on 29 October 2002, following previews.

Due to a financial problem with one of the US-based producers, the play's Edinburgh stint, planned for 31 July to 26 August at the Pleasance Theatre, was abandoned just weeks after it was first announced last month (see News, 14 Jun 02). The London season is now being spearheaded by UK producer Edward Snape.

In Fuddy Meers, Krakowski plays an amnesiac who, attempting to regain her memory, embarks on a crazy, roller coaster journey of self-discovery, meeting a series of bizarre characters along the way.

The cast for the Edinburgh premiere was due to include Paola Dionisotti (who won both the Evening Standard and The Stage Best Actress Awards for her performance in Zinnie Harris' Further Than the Furthest Thing), Chris Pickles (winner of The Stage Best Actor Award for Love! Valor! Compassion! at the Edinburgh Festival in 1998), comedian Scott Capurro and Kate Copstick, but they will not be appearing in the London production.

Krakowski, however, is confirmed for the West End season. Best known for her TV role as man-hungry secretary Elaine Vassal to Calista Flockhart's luckless lawyer in the American series Ally McBeal (now in its final UK episodes), Krakowski also has a long list of US stage credits including, on Broadway, the original casts of Once Upon a Mattress, Starlight Express and Grand Hotel, for which she was nominated for a Tony Award and a Drama Desk Award. Other theatre work includes Tartuffe, Company and Henceforward, for which she received the LA Drama Critics Award for Best Actress and a Dramalogue award.

Fuddy Meers, written by David Lindsay-Abair, was first seen in 1999 at New York's Manhattan Theatre Club and has since played extensively throughout the US. In the UK, it will be directed by Stephen Henry, whose controversial production of Terrence McNally's Corpus Christi played in Edinburgh and London three years ago. Confirmation of further London casting is expected shortly.

The Arts Theatre's current resident is Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues, which has recently returned from its season at the New Ambassadors Theatre. It's currently booking at the Arts up to 12 October 2002.

- by Terri Paddock