The Illustrious Corpse - the new Dario Fo-inspired political satire by prominent writer, historian and broadcaster Tariq Ali - will receive its London premiere next month at Soho Theatre, where it runs from 10 to 27 September 2003 (previews from 8 September).

The play, which premiered in June 2003, was the last production to be seen at Leicester Haymarket, which last month closed indefinitely in the face of a financial shortfall (See News, 20 May 2003 & The Goss, 6 Aug 2003).

The Illustrious Corpse (pictured) is described as a "biting political satire that takes on New Labour in a gritty tale of death, passion and political motivation". The Home Secretary lies dead on his sofa and his wife admits to murdering him. Scotland Yard wants to cover things up and avoid another government scandal, but Desdemona wants everyone to know the reasons behind her crime.

Ali has written more than a dozen books on world history and politics as well as five novels and numerous screenplays. His previous stage plays include Collateral Damage (Tricycle) and Snogging Ken (Almeida). His latest book, Bush in Babylon, is released in September.

The cast for The Illustrious Corpse are Russell Dixon, Beverley Longhurst, Kristin Milward and Trevor Thomas. The production is directed by Iqbal Khan and designed by Kate Unwin, with lighting by Miriam Spencer and sound by Ben Harrison.


Also at Soho next month will be The Red Room's production of Kay Adshead's Animal, in which the raging Pongo has signed up for an anger management drug trial. Directed by Lisa Goldman, the production runs at Soho from 10 to 27 September 2003 (previews 4 September) ahead of a national tour that continues, until 15 November, to nine further venues.

Soho's autumn season then continues, from 2 to 25 October 2003, with the premiere of Wrong Place, written by Mark Norfolk, one of five playwrights on last year's Soho Writers' Attachment Programme, and directed by Soho artistic director Abigail Morris. Trevor's in trouble with the law again, but this time it's serious - he's facing 12 years behind bars. And just when things couldn't get any worse, his Uncle Monty arrives.

Wrong Place is followed by: Gilt, a 7:84 Theatre Company production written by three of Scotland's leading playwrights (Stephen Greenhorn, Rona Munro and Isabel Wright) and directed by fellow dramatist Zinnie Harris (Further Than the Furthest Thing, which runs from 3 to 8 November 2003; and Lear's Daughters, a new production from East Asian theatre company Yellow Earth, running from 17 to 27 November 2003.

- by Terri Paddock