In Irish playwright Dion Boucicault's 1874 comic melodrama, the dastardly Corey Kinchela, the forces of the crown and a liberal dose of 19th-century Fenian politics contrive to keep various lovers apart. But love eventually triumphs with more than a little help from Conn the Shaughraun (which translates from the Gaelic as “vagabond”) and his faithful dog Tatters.
Don Wycherley stars as the Shaughraun in a cast that also feature Stephen Brennan, Anita Reeves and Frank Grimes. The production, designed by Francis O'Connor, was first seen last summer at the Abbey and returned for a second sell-out Christmas season from 24 November 2004 to 26 November 2005 as part of the theatre’s centenary celebrations.
The next production so far confirmed for the Albery is the Right Size’s new comedy, Ducktastic!, which is due to open on 17 October 2005, following previews from 11 October and initial dates at Theatre Royal Newcastle (See News, 24 May 2005). No interim productions have yet been announced. The Albery is due to be refurbished and renamed, as the Noel Coward Theatre, in late 2006 (See News, 23 May 2005).
Meanwhile, at the West End’s Playhouse Theatre, the Val Kilmer-led stage adaptation of The Postman Always Rings Twice, which opened on 7 June 2005, a day before The Shaughraun, has extended its limited season (See News, 12 Apr 2005). It had initially been booking until 30 July, with a fortnight added taking it to 13 August. While another four weeks have now been, taking booking up to 10 September, all matinees have been dropped (See The Goss, 12 Jul 2005).
Andrew Rattenbury’s stage vesion of John M Cain’s American thriller had its world premiere in Leeds last October when Patrick O'Kane played the part of drifter Frank, which is now fulfilled by Kilmer. Charlotte Emmerson reprises her performance as Cora, the bored wife of a 1930s roadside diner owner, whose drab existence is shaken up by Frank’s arrival.
Kilmer’s 40-plus Hollywood films have included Batman Forever, The Saint, Top Gun, The Doors and Wonderland while Emmerson is familiar to theatregoers for her recent credits in the likes of The Cherry Orchard and The Coast of Utopia at the National. The Postman Always Rings Twice is directed by Lucy Bailey and designed by Bunny Christie.
- by Terri Paddock