Casting updates continue apace on the South Bank. Following last week's announcement, that Patricia Hodge, Niamh Cusack and former James Bond Timothy Dalton had joined the His Dark Materials company (See News, 5 Sep 2003), comes confirmation of two additions to NT associate director Howard Davies' revival of Mourning Becomes Electra.

Paul McGann and Clarke Peters (pictured) will join Helen Mirren Eve Best and Paul Hilton for the Eugene O'Neill epic, which opens at the NT Lyttelton on 27 November 2003, previews from 17 November (See News, 13 Jun 2003).

Paul McGann, brother of fellow actors Mark, Joe and Stephen, is well known for his screen credits such as Our Mutual Friend, Hornblower and, perhaps most famously early in his career, Withnail and I. His stage credits include Sabina, A Lie of the Mind and, with Susannah Harker at Riverside Studios earlier this year, The Little Black Book.

American Clarke Peters is a London stage veteran who previously appeared, with Kevin Spacey, in Davies' multi award-winning 1998 Almeida revival of another Eugene O'Neill epic, The Iceman Cometh, which transferred to the West End and later on to Broadway. Peters is well known for his musical credits including Five Guys Named Moe, which he conceived, as well as The Witches of Eastwick, Chicago, Unforgettable: The Nat King Cole Story and, at the National, Guys and Dolls.

Written in 1939, Mourning Becomes Electra is a trilogy loosely based on Aescylus' The Oresteia. In New England just after the Civil War, Ezra Mannon's return from the field of battle sweeps an entire family into a violent spiral of revenge. Jealousy and desire are unleashed when Lavinia discovers that her mother, the intoxicating Christine Mannon, has dared to take a young lover.

Confirmed for the cast to date are Helen Mirren (as Christine Mannon), Eve Best (Lavinia Mannon), Paul Hilton (Orin Mannon), Sean McGinley (Ezra Mannon) and Dominic Rowan (Peter Niles), with McGann playing Captain Adam Brant and Peters as Seth Beckwith/Chantyman. Mourning Becomes Electra is designed by Bob Crowley, with lighting by Mark Henderson and sound by Christopher Shutt.

- by Terri Paddock