As previously tipped (See The Goss, 19 Jul 2004), the Almeida’s new stage version of the 1998 Danish film, Festen, will transfer to the West End next month. It opens on 23 September 2004 (previews from 15 September) at the Lyric Theatre, where it’s booking up to 15 January 2005.

Patriarch Helge Klingenfelt is celebrating his 60th birthday with his family at a magnificent old hotel in the Danish countryside. Gathered together are his loyal wife Else, his sons Christian and Michael and his daughter Helene. As the evening progresses, Christian feels compelled to break the silence surrounding a dark family secret.

Casting for the West End dates has yet to be confirmed, but changes are expected. The original 16-strong company at the Almeida featured Johnny Lee Miller (as Christian), Robert Pugh (Helge), Jane Asher (Else), Tom Hardy (Michael) and Claire Rushbrooke (Helene).

This new stage version of Festen is directed by Rufus Norris (Peribanez, Sleeping Beauty, Afore Night Come) and designed by Ian MacNeil, with costumes by Joan Wadge, lighting by Jean Kalman, sound by Paul Arditti and music by Orlando Gough. It had its world premiere on 25 March 2004 (previews from 18 March) at north London’s Almeida Theatre, where its limited run continued to 24 April. It’s produced in the West End by Marla Rubin and Bill Kenwright.

In 1997 Thomas Vinterberg, who initiated the Dogme95 movement alongside fellow director Lars von Trier, directed Festen. The multi-award winning feature film written by Vinterberg and Mogens Rukov was received with great critical acclaim internationally.

Currently at the Lyric Theatre, the new Jazz Age musical Beautiful and Damned, which stars Michael Praed and Helen Anker as F Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, will close on 14 August 2004 (See News, 23 Jun 2004).

- by Terri Paddock