There was much beating of British theatrical breasts last year when David Hare announced that, for the first time, he would premiere his new play in New York rather than London (See News, 23 Mar 2006). However, according to today’s Daily Mail, The Vertical Hour will belatedly have its UK premiere, opening at the Royal Court in 2008. While in this country, Hare’s work is perhaps most closely associated with the National Theatre, where no fewer than 13 of his plays have premiered, he’s no stranger at the Court. His last play there, 2000’s My Zinc Bed, subsequently transferred to the West End. Hare’s other Court offerings have included What Happened to Blake? (1970), Teeth ‘n’ Smiles (1975) and his one-man play which he also performed, Via Dolorosa (1998).
Exploring how western life has changed after 9/11, The Vertical Hour centres on American war correspondent-turned-academic Nadia Blye, whose beliefs and relationships are shaken up when she meets an Englishman on holiday in Wales. Hollywood’s Julianne Moore and Bill Nighy starred in the world premiere, which was directed by former Donmar Warehouse artistic director Sam Mendes and opened in November 2006 for a four-month run at Broadway’s Music Box Theatre. Although Nighy received strong notices, the play itself garnered mixed reviews and was completely overlooked in this year’s Tony Awards.