Six London friends, whose lives and work are overshadowed by a demanding film producer, flee the country for a weekend to escape his clutches. Safely esconced in a hotel in Amsterdam, the uneasy equilibrium that has existed between them is exposed as the alcohol starts to flow.
Both Williams (who plays Annie) and Hollander (as Laurie) were last seen on the London stage in Shakespeare productions - Williams in Trevor Nunn's swansong National Theatre production of Love's Labour's Lost this year, and Hollander in Jonathan Kent's swansong Almeida production of King Lear in 2001/2002.
Williams' many film credits include The Postman, Rushmore, The Sixth Sense, Born Romantic, Lucky Break, The Heart of Me, To Kill a King and the forthcoming Peter Pan. Previously a regular at the RSC, her earlier stage credits include Peer Gynt, The Broken Heart, A Brand from the Burning, The Wives' Excuse and Wallenstein.
Prior to King Lear, Hollander appeared in now Donmar artistic director Michael Grandage's production of Don Juan at Sheffield Crucible while his many other stage credits have included Tartuffe, The Judas Kiss, The Government Inspector (all for the Almeida), Mojo (Royal Court), The School for Scandal (National) and As You Like It (Cheek by Jowl). His films include Gosford Park, Possession, Enigma, Bedrooms and Hallways, Some Mother's Son, Maybe Baby and Martha Meet Frank, Daniel and Laurence.
Joining Williams and Hollander in the cast of A Hotel in Amsterdam will be Anthony Calf (Cressida, Betrayal, The Madness of George III, Selina Griffiths (Noises Off, Peggy for You, The Way of the World) and Adrian Bower (In Celebration, Brassed Off and TV's Teachers).
Director Robin Lefevre's last production at the Donmar was Richard Greenber's award-winning Three Days of Rain. His other West End productions have included Osborne's The Entertainer as well as Peggy for You, Someone Who'll Watch Over Me, Are You Lonesome Tonight?, The Homecoming and last year's Afterplay, with John Hurt and Penelope Wilton.
This September, Lefevre will also bring Dublin's Gate Theatre production of See You Next Tuesday - starring Ardal O'Hanlon and Nigel Havers - to the West End's Albery Theatre (See News, 23 Jul 2003). Like with that production, A Hotel in Amsterdam will be designed by Liz Ascroft with lighting by Mick Hughes.
Further ahead, the stage premiere of Patrick Marber's After Miss Julie, directed by Grandage, will complete the artistic director's inaugural Donmar season, running from 20 November 2003 to 7 February 2004. Based on August Strindberg's 1888 clash of the classes stage classic Miss Julie, about a footman who seduces a count's daughter on the night of a midsummer festival, Marber's piece relocates the action from a Swedish estate to an English country house in July 1945 on the night of the British Labour Party's election victory.
Though full casting has yet to be confirmed, Kelly Reilly and Richard Coyle are due to star as class-conflicted couple. Reilly is currently appearing on stage with Minnie Driver, Matthew Perry and Hank Azaria in Sexual Perversity in Chicago at the Comedy Theatre and has also been seen in the West End in The Graduate and Three Sisters as well as A Prayer for Owen Meany, The London Cuckolds (National) and Blasted (Royal Court).
Coyle won this year's Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers' Choice Award for his 2002 performances in Peter Gill's The York Realist and, at the Donmar, in Proof opposite Gwyneth Paltrow. He's a familiar face on British television for series such as Coupling and Strange.
For more information about Michael Grandage's vision for the Donmar Warehouse, read our "Changing of the Guard" interview with him (See Features, 21 Jul 2003).
- by Terri Paddock