Richmond’s Orange Tree Theatre is launching its autumn 2005 season with the British premiere of an award-winning play about a terrorist attack. Deborah Brevoort’s The Women of Lockerbie will be followed by two more premieres – one world and another UK – and restoration comedy tribute.

The Women of Lockerbie, which received its Off-Broadway premiere in 2003, is set on 21 December 1995, the seventh anniversary of the day Pan Am flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie. Madeline Livingston, whose 20-year-old son was killed in the crash, is still inconsolable at the loss, and she joins with similarly bereaved women in the search for an answer. The cast includes Todd Boyce, Emma D’Inverno, Lisa Eichhorn, John Hudson, Nan Kerr, Isobil Nisbit, and Colette O’Neil. Directed by Auriol Smith, The Women of Lockerbie runs from 2 September to 1 October 2005 (previews from 31 August).

The harrowing drama is followed by light comedy, bordering on farce – David Lewis’ Monkey's Uncle, about the mayhem caused when our animal instincts come into contact with our civilised veneers. Troubled marriages, casual affairs, professional jealousy and an organ grinder’s monkey provide some of the ingredients in the madcap play, which receives its world premiere at the Orange Tree, running from 7 October to 5 November 2005 (previews from 5 October).

American military policies come under scrutiny in Canadian writer Jason Sherman’s Three in the Back, Two in the Head, first produced in Toronto in 1994. When a scientist and weapons designer who wanted to use his inventions for peace is found dead in suspicious circumstances, conspiracy theories abound and personal and individual loyalties are questioned. Directed by Adam Barnard, the play receives its UK premiere at the Orange Tree, running from 11 November to 10 December 2005 (previews from 9 November).

John Vanbrugh’s restoration comedy A Journey to London, about the scandal that befalls a country bumpkin and his family when they travel to the big city, was started in 1704 but Vanbrugh died before he managed to finish the saucy tale. The adaptation is by James Saunders, who was commissioned to write the piece - or rather add to and modify it - in 1975 by Orange Tree artistic director Sam Walters. The piece was first seen at the theatre in 1986 and is revived from 16 December 2005 to 11 February 2006 (previews from 14 December).

A Journey to London is part of the Orange Tree’s tribute to the late James Saunders, who died in 2004 and was resident playwright for many years. His other work includes the short plays Games, After Liverpool, Bye Bye Blues and Double Double, which will be presented as double bills during the run of the Vanbrugh comedy.

- by Caroline Ansdell