More names have been thrown into the Cabaret casting hat: Welshman Rhys Ifans for the emcee as well as Amy Nuttall and Anna Maxwell Martin for Sally Bowles. Best known to film fans as Hugh Grant's dopey flatmate Spike in the 1999 film Notting Hill, Ifans’ other screen credits include Enduring Love, Not Only But Always, Love, Honour and Obey and Twin Town. He was last seen on the London stage playing the maniac in the 2003 Donmar Warehouse production of Accidental Death of an Anarchist. Former Emmerdale star Nuttall is currently playing Eliza Doolittle in the tour of My Fair Lady. Maxwell Martin is best known for her many heavy-hitting play credits including His Dark Materials, The Coast of Utopia, Three Sisters, Dumb Show and Honour as well as TV’s Bleak House. Other names mentioned in connection with Rufus Norris new staging of Kander and Ebb’s Nazi Germany-set musical have included Star Wars’ Natalie Portman, Dr Who’s Billie Piper, Denise Van Outen, Martine McCutcheon and, improbably, cross-dresser Eddie Izzard for Sally and Sheila Hancock for the part of her hard-bitten landlady Fraulein Schneider (See The Goss, 26 Jun 2006). The production opens on 10 October 2006 (previews from 22 September) at the West End’s Lyric Theatre.