Adrian Noble’s new production of Tennessee Williams’ rarely performed play Summer and Smoke, starring ex Bond girl Rosamund Pike (pictured), has confirmed details of its London transfer (See News, 3 Jul 2006). Following initial dates in Nottingham, it will open for a limited 16-week season at the West End’s Apollo Theatre on 18 October 2006 (previews from 11 October).

Williams’ play, about unrequited love in 1916 Mississippi, has never been performed in the West End before. In it, Alma Winemiller, the grown daughter of a minister, finds her youthful passions rekindled when the neighbour’s hard-living prodigal son John Buchanan returns home and soon resumes his sinful ways.

Summer and Smoke was first mounted on Broadway in 1947, a year after A Streetcar Named Desire, and made into a 1961 film starring Geraldine Page, who created the role of Miss Alma on stage. Williams penned a major rewrite, titled Eccentricities of a Nightingale, which was staged in 1964.

On screen, Rosamund Pike’s credits include Pride and Prejudice, The Libertine, Love in a Cold Climate and Die Another Day. On stage, she played the title role in Terry Johnson’s 2003 play Hitchcock Blonde, which transferred to the West End after its premiere at the Royal Court, and was seen earlier this summer starring opposite Henry Goodman in the London premiere of Brian Friel’s Performances at Wilton’s Music Hall (See News, 9 Jun 2006).

In Summer and Smoke, Pike stars opposite American screen star and model Chris Carmack as John Buchanan. Best known as Luke Ward from the US TV series The OC, Carmack’s other credits include Related and Smallville on screen and Entertaining Mr Sloane on stage in New York. He has modelled for brands such as Abercrombie and Fitch and Guess.

Pike and Carmack are joined in the cast by Sebastian Abineri, Michael Brown, David Killick, Tom Lawrence, Kate O’Toole, Chris Ravenscroft, Hanne Steen and Hannah Stokely. Noble’s production is designed by Peter McKintosh, with costumes by Deirdre Clancy, lighting by Peter Mumford and sound by John Leonard. It’s produced by Kim Poster for Stanhope Productions. Ahead of the West End, Summer and Smoke runs from 20 September to 7 October 2006 at Nottingham Playhouse.

Currently at the Apollo, Lindsay Posner’s revival of Sam Shepard’s Fool for Love, starring Hollywood’s Juliette Lewis and New Zealand screen star Martin Henderson, is due to finish its limited season on 9 September 2006.

- by Terri Paddock