The play spans the recent history of Czechoslovakia between the Prague Spring and the Velvet Revolution - but from the double perspective of Prague, where a rock 'n' roll band came to symbolise resistance to the regime, and the British left, represented by a Communist philosopher (Calder) at Cambridge.
In addition to extensive work for the RSC and the National, Calder’s more recent theatre work includes Five Gold Rings, Conversations After a Burial (both at the Almeida) and The Little Foxes (Donmar Warehouse) . The rest of the cast – including Rufus Sewell, Sinead Cusack and Alice Eve – remain with the production.
Rock 'n' Roll opened at the Duke of York’s on 22 July 2006 following its initial dates at the Royal Court as part of the theatre’s 50th anniversary celebrations. It’s presented in the West End by Sonia Friedman Productions. Talks are now under way for a Broadway transfer.
Meanwhile, at north London’s Hampstead Theatre, Gemma Jones (pictured) and David Ryall will star in the world premiere of Everything Is Illuminated, adapted from Jonathan Safran Foer’s novel by Simon Block and directed by Rachel O'Riordan (See News, 19 Jul 2006). It opens on 19 September 2006 (previews from 14 September) for a run to 14 October 2006.
A young Jewish New Yorker has arrived in the Ukraine to find and thank the woman who saved his grandfather during the Second World War. With only a faded photo and the name of a village that doesn’t exist on the map, he embarks on his quest assisted by an enthusiastic young translator with a unique grasp of English, an old driver who is selectively blind and deaf and a somewhat deranged dog.
Jones was seen in the West End last year in Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. She’s been seen on screen in Wilde, Sense and Sensibility, The Winslow Boy, with recurring roles in the Bridget Jones and Harry Potter films. On stage, her other credits include Cabaret, The Winter’s Tale, The Master Builder, Dance of Death, Tejas Verdes and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, for which she won a Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers’ Choice Award for Best Supporting Actress.
David Ryall’s many stage credits include most recently, at the National, The UN Inspector and Democracy (also in the West End) and King Lear (Almeida). Also in the Hampstead cast are Denise Gough (O Go My Man, As You Like It), Patrick Kennedy and Craig Parkinson.
- by Terri Paddock