Further casting details have been released for two high-profile London plays, both opening in the coming weeks, both starring American television imports and both revolving around courtroom proceedings.

At the West End’s Theatre Royal Haymarket (See News, 25 Apr 2005), where The West Wing’s Rob Lowe (pictured) makes his West End debut in A Few Good Men on 6 September 2005 (previews from 18 August), he’ll be joined by Suranne Jones, Jack Ellis and John Barrowman (See The Goss, 17 Jun 2005).

Jones and Ellis are best known for their TV roles in, respectively, Coronation Street and Bad Girls. Most of Barrowman’s previous stage credits have been starring roles in musicals such as Chicago and Anything Goes, for which he won last year’s Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers’ Choice Award for Best Actor in a Musical. His film credits include Delovely and the upcoming screen version of The Producers; on television, he’s recently been seen in Doctor Who.

A Few Good Men centres on a military court case in which Marines, stationed in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, are accused of murdering their peer but claim in defence that they were only acting under orders. A hit on Broadway in 1989, the play, written by Aaron Sorkin, who went on to create TV’s The West Wing, was made into a 1992 Hollywood film.

In the new stage production, Lowe plays rookie defence lawyer Lt Daniel Kaffee, with Jones as his colleague Lt Cdr Joanne Galloway, Barrowman as prosecutor Capt Jack Ross and Ellis as Col Nathan Jessep, the battle-hardened officer in command at Guantanamo Bay. In the film, their parts were played by Tom Cruise, Demi Moore, Kevin Bacon and Jack Nicholson.

The cast also includes Michael Beckley, Nick Court, Dan Fredenburgh, Jonathan Guy Lewis, Will Huggins, Andrew Maud, Robert D Phillips, Charles Roe, Michael Wildman, Peter Brooke, Jason Durran, Les Kenny-Green, Stephanie Langton and Patrick Poletti. A Few Good Men is directed by David Esbjornson, designed by Michael Pavelka and produced by Bill Kenwright Ltd. It’s booking at the Haymarket for a limited season until 17 December 2005.

At north London’s Almeida Theatre, John Mahoney, the British-born star of American sitcom Frasier, will be joined in the European premiere of David Mamet’s Romance by Geff Francis (bailiff), Nigel Lindsay (defendant), Paul Ready (Bernard), Nick Sampson (doctor), Colin Stinton (defence attorney) and Nick Woodeson (prosecutor). Mahoney plays the judge in the satirical courtroom farce which lampoons the American judicial system.

Romance had its world premiere this past February at Off-Broadway’s Atlantic Theater Company, which David Mamet co-founded 20 years ago along with actor William H Macy. The new UK production is directed by Lindsay Posner, whose recent West End productions have included starry revivals of Mamet’s Sexual Perversity in Chicago (with Matthew Perry and Minnie Driver), Oleanna (Aaron Eckhart and Julia Stiles) and, earlier this year, A Life in the Theatre (Patrick Stewart and Joshua Jackson).

- by Terri Paddock