Rupert Graves, Douglas Hodge and Anna Maxwell Martin will star in the latest play from Blue/Orange’s multi award-winning author Joe Penhall. Dumb Show receives its world premiere at the Royal Court’s Jerwood Theatre Downstairs, where it opens the autumn season, running from 7 September to 9 October 2004 (previews from 2 September).

In the three-hander - directed by playwright-director Terry Johnson (Hitchcock Blonde, The Graduate, Dead Funny) and designed by Es Devlin - a successful TV entertainer (Hodge) is flattered into a celebrity endorsement scam that goes wrong. Why would he risk it? And why are his audience so obsessed with what he does?

Graves (pictured) was seen earlier this year in the West End revival of A Woman of No Importance. His other recent stage credits include The Caretaker and Hurlyburly in the West End and Closer and The Elephant Man on Broadway. His screen credits include, just-screened on British television, The Forsyste Saga as well as Mrs Dalloway, Different for Girls, Intimate Relations, The Madness of King George and A Room with a View.

Hodge’s recent stage credits include Michael Blakemore’s production of Three Sisters, The Winter’s Tale, Betrayal, No Man’s Land and, with Graves, The Caretaker. Maxwell Martin has most recently been seen playing Lyra in His Dark Materials at the National, where her other productions have included Honour and Three Sisters, directed by Katie Mitchell.

At the Royal Court, Katie Mitchell (who’s currently represented at the National with Iphigenia at Aulis) continues the autumn season at the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs, directing Forty Winks by Kevin Elyot (Mouth to Mouth, The Day I Stood I Still and the multi award-winning My Night With Reg).

In Elyot’s new play, a man visits a family he knew in his childhood and feels compelled to re-examine his memories about them and how he affected their lives. Casting has not yet been announced. The premiere production will be designed by Hildegard Bechtler, with lighting by Paule Constable.

Meanwhile, in the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs, a Young Writers Season, running from 9 September to 18 December 2004, comprises the premieres of five new plays from up and coming playwrights aged under 30: John Donnelly’s Bone (9 to 25 September), Clare Pollard’s The Weather (1 to 30 October), Robin French’s Bear Hug (late nights, 26 to 30 October), Fresh Kills by American Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder (5 to 20 November) and Robert Evans’ A Girl in a Car with a Man (2 to 18 December).

- by Terri Paddock