Richmond's Orange Tree Theatre launches its autumn season next week with a major revival of John Galsworthy's forgotten classic, The Mob, which will be followed in the schedule by further rediscoveries of Marivaux, Oliver Cromwell and Alan Ayckbourn.

Best known as the author of The Forsyte Saga, John Galsworthy was also a dramatist, a contemporary of George Bernard Shaw and Granville Barker who helped to shape the new theatrical movements of the early 20th century. In his 1913 play, The Mob, the country is on the brink of war when one young politician puts his career on the line by opposing invasion. The Orange Tree revival stars Kevin Doyle and is directed by artistic director Sam Walters and designed by Lorna Marshall. It runs from 5 September to 4 October 2003 (previews from 3 September).

It's followed from 10 October to 8 November 2003 (previews from 8 October) by Simplicity, in which a young bride-to-be awaiting the arrival of her groom in an arranged marriage switches places with her maid to gain a more truthful impression of her future spouse. Simplicity is a version of Pierre Marivaux's 1730 French classic Le jeu de l'amour et du hazard (The Game of Love and Chance). Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689-1762) was the first to translate the play, although her version wasn't produced in this country until 1988. This new production is directed by Auriol Smith and designed by Sam Dowson.

The season's third production will be a new play set in 1657 when Parliament offered religious fundamentalist Oliver Cromwell the crown. King Cromwell (pictured), which runs from 14 November to 13 December 2003 (previews 12 November), is written by the Olivier award-winning actor Oliver Ford Davies, who's currently starring opposite Joan Plowright in Franco Zeffirelli's West End production of Absolutely! {perhaps}. The Orange Tree production is directed by Sam Walters and designed by Sam Dowson.

The year concludes with a revival of the musical Me, Myself and I, with book and lyrics by Alan Ayckbourn and music by Paul Todd. In it, mother of four Mary Yately fantasises that the local paper has named her Mother of the Year. The piece was first written as three lunchtime plays for Ayckbourn's Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough and received its full-length premiere at the Orange Tree in 1983. This new version has been streamlined into two acts and is directed by Kim Grant. It runs from 19 December 2003 to 7 February 2004 (previews from 17 December).

- by Terri Paddock