The full cast has now been announced for the world premiere stage version of Sebastian Faulks’ best-selling 1993 novel Birdsong, which has a limited season from 28 September 2010 (previews from 18 September) at the West End’s Comedy Theatre. As previously reported, the production stars Ben Barnes as Stephen Wraysford and is directed by Trevor Nunn.

Barnes will be joined in the principal cast by Genevieve O'Reilly (best known as Sarah Caulfield in TV’s Spooks) as love interest Isabelle, Nicholas Farrell as Rene Azaire, Iain Mitchell as Berard, Lee Ross as Jack Firebrace and Zoe Waites as Jeanne. Also in the company are Owain Arthur, Billy Carter, Florence Hall, Paul Hawkyard, Gregg Lowe, Joe Coen, Jack Hawkins, James Staddon and Annabel Topham.

Part of Faulks’ trilogy which also comprises The Girl at the Lion d'Or and Charlotte Gray, Birdsong centres on Stephen Wraysford (Barnes) who, while staying as the guest of a factory owner in pre-war France, embarks on a passionate affair with Isabelle, the wife of his host. A few years later Stephen finds himself back in the area, but this time as a soldier at the Battle of the Somme, the bloodiest encounter in British military history. As his men die around him, Stephen turns to his enduring love for Isabelle for the strength to continue.

Birdsong has been adapted for the stage by Rachel Wagstaff. The play is presented in the West End by CMP Productions, Becky Barber and Act Productions.


In other play casting news, the company has been announced for the world premiere of Wanderlust, which runs from 15 September to 9 October 2010 (previews from 9 September) at the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Upstairs. The new play by Nick Payne, a graduate of the Court's Young Writers' programme now making his Court debut, investigates sex and intimacy - and whether the two have any relation to each other. Joy is a married woman, a GP, struggling to remain interested in sex with her husband Alan, who can think of little else.

Pippa Haywood and Stuart McQuarrie plays Joy and Alan, with James Musgrave as their ready-to-burst teenaged son Tim. Also in the cast are Sian Brooke, Charles Edwards, Isabella Laughland and Howard Ward. Bristol Old Vic associate Simon Godwin directs.