Former child film star Macaulay Culkin will make his West End debut next month alongside French actress Irene Jacob. The two will star in Richard Nelson's play, Madame Melville, which opens at the Vaudeville Theatre on 18 October 2000, following previews from 7 October.

Culkin, reportedly, auditioned for the role of the young man who is seduced by his thirty-something French teacher in a bid to resuscitate his stalled acting career. Now 19, he became a phenomenon in the early 1990s with starring roles in films including Home Alone, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, My Girl, The Good Son and Richie Rich.

But, as with many child stars, Culkin had trouble securing parts as he got older. Personal and professional problems, particularly with his separated parents who waged a fierce custody battle for control over him and his finances, didn't help. Culkin's last film role was in 1994's Getting Even with Dad.

Irene Jacob is one of France's leading actresses. In addition to her roles in numerous French films, including Krzysztof Kieslowski's Three Colours Red and The Double Life of Veronique, she has appeared in many English-language films including My Life So Far, The Big Brass Ring, US Marshalls, Incognito, Othello and All Men Are Mortal.

The drag musical Pageant, which transferred from the fringe at the beginning of August, is currently playing at the Vaudeville. It had been booking to 25 November but will now close at the end of this month. Madame Melville is currently taking bookings to March 2001.

Madame Melville is produced in the West End by Gregory Mosher, Adam Kenwright and Andrew Fell.