Full casting details have been released for several plays opening in London over the coming weeks.

As already announced (See News, 4 Feb 2005), Janet McTeer plays the title role opposite Harriet Walter’s Elizabeth I (pictured together) in Mary Stuart, running at the Donmar Warehouse from 20 July to 3 September 2005 (previews from 14 July). They are joined by David Burke, Tam Dean Burn, James Fleet, Stephen Fletcher, Guy Henry, David Horovitch, Barbara Jefford, Rory Kinnear and Rufus Wright. Phyllida Lloyd directs Peter Oswald’s new version of German playwright Friedrich Schiller’s 1800 romantic tragedy.

At north London’s Hampstead Theatre, Belinda Lang and Malcolm Sinclair star in David Grindley’s revival of What the Butler Saw (See News, 1 Jun 2005). The cast also features Geoff Breton, Jonathan Coy, Huw Higginson and Joanna Page. The production runs from 19 July to 20 August 2005 (previews from 14 July).

Joe Orton's last play was first produced in 1969, two years after the author's untimely death. In the farce, sex-obsessed psychiatrist Dr Prentice is frustrated in his attempts to seduce a secretary by the arrival of his nymphomaniac wife, an over-enthusiastic inspector and a dim-witted policeman. Orton’s other completed plays include Entertaining Mr Sloane and Loot. In 1967, aged 34, he was murdered by his lover, Kenneth Halliwell, who then committed suicide.

At the National, Emma Fielding and Olivier Ford Davies will lead the cast of Playing with Fire, the fourth and final production in this year’s Travelex £10 Season in the NT Olivier. Directed by Almeida artistic director Michael Attenborough, the new play by David Edgar centres on New Labour high-flyer Alex who’s sent north from London to formulate a robust recovery plan for a council that’s failed a government audit.

The Playing with Fire cast will also feature Paul Bhattacharjee, Susan Brown, Trevor Cooper, Rudi Dharmalingham, Aaron Neil, Bhasker Patel, Alistair Petrie, Helen Rutter, Rebekah Staton, Ewan Stewart, Caroline Strong, David Troughton and Deka Walmsley. The production joins the NT Olivier repertoire on 21 September 2005 (previews from 12 September).

Meanwhile, opening tonight (12 July 2005, previews from 2 July) in the NT Lyttelton (See News, 20 Apr 2005), Dervla Kirwan, Peter McDonald, Gina McKee and Andrew Scott are joined in Aristocrats by David Baron, Sam Beazley, Noella Brennan, Brian Doherty, Brendan Foster, Terence McGuinness, TP McKenna, Ita O’Brien, Ted Pleasance and Marcella Plunkett. Tom Cairns’ new version of Irish playwright Brian Friel’s 1979 play is directed by Sean Holmes.

- by Terri Paddock