At the West End’s Comedy Theatre, where Francesca Annis and Joseph Fiennes headline Peter Gill’s revival of John Osborne and Anthony Creighton’s 1957 play Epitaph for George Dillon later this month (See News, 10 Aug 2005), they’ll be joined by Anne Reid.
In a lower middle class household in south London, the Elliots lead an unhappy suburban life. But this is disrupted when Kate (Reid) brings home a surrogate for her son killed in the war. This aspiring actor-penniless writer is the charismatic bohemian George Dillon, played by Fiennes.
Reid has worked extensively in television, film and theatre. Her acclaimed performance in Roger Michell’s film The Mother won her the 2004 London Critics’ Circle Award for Best Actress and nominations for a BAFTA, European Film Award, Evening Standard Film Award and Cinnesonne European Film Festival Award. Her various TV credits include Coronation Street (1961-1971) Life Begins The Booze Cruise. Her London theatre credits include Wild Oats at the National in 1995, and The York Realist at the Royal Court and Strand Theatres in 2002.
The cast of Epitaph for George Dillon will also include Geoffrey Hutchings, Zoe Tapper, Dorothy Atkinson, Stephen Greif, Hugh Simon and Alex Dunbar. The production opens on 27 September 2005 (previews from 20 September) and is initially booking until 14 January 2006.
At the New Ambassadors, the cast for the return of RC Sherriff's Journey's End will be: Ben Righton (Stanhope), Michael Siberry (Osborne), Stephen Bent (Trotter), Jacob Harders (Hibbert), Tom Payne (Raleigh), Robert East (Colonel), Alex Giannini (Hardy and Sergeant Major), Rod Smith (Mason), Robert Orme (Corporal Broughton) and Richard Pepper (German soldier and Bert).
After a gap, this will be the fourth West End home for David Grindley’s 75th anniversary production of this drama about life in the World War I trenches. It opened at the Comedy Theatre on 21 January 2004, then transferred to both the Playhouse (from 3 May 2004) and Duke of York's theatres (from 5 October 2004 to 19 Feb 2005). Journey's End opens on 22 September 2005 (previews from 14 September) at the New Ambassadors, where it’s booking to 7 January 2006 (See News, 18 Apr 2005).
Further ahead this autumn, at the Royal Court, Jane Asher (pictured) and Michael Feast have been cast in Gregory Motton’s The World's Biggest Diamond, which receives its world premiere on 2 November 2005, (previews from 28 October) in the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs, where its limited season continues to 26 November 2005 (See News, 1 Aug 2005).
Asher was most recently seen on stage in last year’s adaptation of Festen at the Almeida and in the West End. Her other recent credits include The Things We Do for Love, House and Garden and, at the Royal Court The Shallow End. Feast’s recent stage credits include Oliver Twist at the Lyric Hammersmith, The Master and Margarita, The Seagull and Nathan the Wise at Chichester.
In a cottage by the sea, two old lovers reunite for a weekend after 30 years. He has an appointment with death, and she has left her husband upstairs. Both think the other has betrayed their love. The World's Biggest Diamond is directed by Simon Usher.
- by Caroline Ansdell