Caroline Quentin (pictured) will return to the London stage for the first time in nearly a decade to play Christine Hamilton in Robin Soans’ new verbatim drama Life After Scandal, which premieres on 25 September 2007 (previews from 20 September) at north London’s Hampstead Theatre, where it continues until 20 October (See News, 10 Jul 2007).

Following success with Talking to Terrorists and The Arab-Israeli Cookbook, actor-writer Robin Soans turns his brand of verbatim theatre - mixing investigative journalism with drama - towards the national obsession with scandal. He interviews those affected, and uses their words to explore our media-saturated culture. Scorned politicians, powerful PRs, disgraced aristocrats and photographers who, perhaps unwittingly, sow the seeds of scandal, all talk openly.

Quentin was last seen on stage in the National Theatre’s 1998 revival of The London Cuckolds. Her other theatre credits include The Seagull, Roots, Our Country’s Good, Sugar and Spice, Les Miserables, The Live Bed Show and An Evening with Gary Lineker. She’s now best known for her TV credits including Men Behaving Badly, Jonathan Creek, Blue Murder and Life Begins.

In Life After Scandal, Michael Mears (You Never Can Tell) plays her husband, disgraced politician Neil Hamilton. The cast also features: Geraldine Fitzgerald (Mamma Mia!, The Lady in the Van) as Edwina Currie, Philip Bretherton as Jonathan Aitken, Simon Coates as Major Charles Ingram], Tim Preece as Lord Montagu and Bruce Alexander as Simon Coates. All the actors also play additional roles.

Life After Scandal is directed by Hampstead artistic director Anthony Clark and designed by Patrick Connellan. It’s co-produced by the Drum Theatre, Plymouth where, following London, it will run from 24 October to 10 November 2007.

In other casting news, Amanda Drew and Michael Gould will star in German playwright Marius von Mayenburg’s play The Ugly One, which opens this year’s International Playwrights season at the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Upstairs, where it runs from 13 September to 13 October (See News, 2 Jul 2007).

Lette (Gould) thought he was normal. When the extent of his ugliness is revealed, he turns to a plastic surgeon for help. But after the bandages come off, Lette soon learns that there is such a thing as too beautiful. Drew plays Lette’s wife in a cast that also features Frank McCusker as Karlmann. The play is translated by Maja Zade and directed by Jeremy Herbert.

Drew’s stage credits include Otherwise Engaged, Blithe Spirit and the RSC Jacobean season in the West End and Enemies at the Almeida. Gould has recently been seen in Attempts on Her Life, Waves, The Seagull and Pillars of the Community at the National, and In Extremis at the Globe.

Following The Ugly One, the International Playwrights Season continues with four more new plays by writers from Romania, India, Sweden and Ukraine: Gianina Carbunariu’s Kebab (19 October to 3 November), Anupama Chandresekhar’s Free Outgoing (8 to 24 November) and a doube bill of Joakim Pirinen’s The Good Family and Natalia Vorozhbit’s The Kohmenko Family Chronicle (30 November to 21 December).

- by Terri Paddock