Samuel Barnett (pictured) has been cast as Carl in the Menier Chocolate Factory’s production of Dealers Choice by Patrick Marber, which begins performances on 28 September (Opens 3 October) at the Southwark venue, directed by former Sheffield Theatres artistic director Samuel West (See News, 1 Jun 2007).

Barnett is best known for his portrayal of the character Posner in The History Boys at the National Theatre, on tour and on Broadway where he won a Drama Desk Award for Best Supporting Actor. He also reprised the role in the film version of the play. Other credits include His Dark Materials again at the National, When You Cure Me at the Bush and the film Mrs Henderson Presents.

Dealers Choice is set after-hours in a restaurant where six men meet to play poker. Tonight the stakes are high – but winning has its price. In a night of psychological violence and bluff, the players stay up late and bust each other out.

The play premiered at the National’s Cottesloe Theatre in 1995, later transferring to the West End’s Vaudeville Theatre and winning the Evening Standard Award for Best Comedy. Best known at that point as a stand-up comedian and TV sketch writer, Marber partly based his playwriting debut on his own experiences with gambling addiction. Two years later, he followed it up with Closer. Marber’s other writing credits include Howard Katz, After Miss Julie and Don Juan in Soho on stage, and Notes on a Scandal on screen.

Joining Barnett in this major London revival will be Ross Boatman as Sweeney, Roger Lloyd Pack as Ash, Jay Simpson as Frankie, Malcolm Sinclair as Stephen and Stephen Wight as Mugsy. The production, produced by David Babani for the Chocolate Factory, is designed by Tom Piper with lighting by Neil Austin. The production runs to 17 November.


In other news, the full casting has been announced for the London transfer of Chichester Festival's production of Macbeth starring Patrick Stewart and Kate Fleetwood, which opens at the Gielgud Theatre on 26 September (Previews from 24 September).

The “Scottish play” opened on 1 June 2007 (previews from 25 May) at Chichester’s Minerva Theatre, where it is currently playing a sold-out run until 1 September. In another double-header of Shakespeare, Stewart and the rest of the cast are also performing Twelfth Night in the Festival Theatre, where it plays to 31 August as part of Chichester’s annual summer Festival season. Stewart plays Malvolio in Twelfth Night, which is directed by Philip Franks.

In addition to the previously announced principals (See News, 20 Jul 2007), the cast features Paul Shelley (Duncan), Scott Handy (Malcolm), Ben Carpenter (Donalbain), Mark Rawlings (Lennox), Tim Treloar (Ross), Bill Nash (Angus), Christopher Knott (Old Seyward), Christopher Nolan (Seyton), Hywel John (Bloody Captain), Suzanne Burden (Lady Macduff) and Polly Frame, Niamh McGrady, Sophie Hunter as the Witches.

The production is directed by Rupert Goold, who directed Stewart in the RSC production of The Tempest, designed by Anthony Ward, with movement by Georgina Lamb, lighting by Howard Harrison, and music and sound by Adam Cork. It is presented in London by Triumph Entertainment Ltd.

- by Tom Atkins