Keith “Vindaloo” Allen will make a rare stage appearance next month to star in Zoe Lewis’ new play Flanders Mare at the recently launched Sound Theatre in Leicester Square. Allen plays King Henry VIII in the period drama, directed by Alan Cox, which has a limited season from 14 October to 5 November 2005 (previews from 11 October).

It is 1538 and Holbein, commanded to paint two people who he loves, faces a dangerous task. Henry VIII needs to be seen as a kingly superstar, for now and all time. Alone and derided, the plain, if not downright ugly Anne of Cleves, Henry’s betrothed, wants to be seen as the queen she could be. The portraits, betrothal and resulting marriage lead to disaster, accusations and conspiracy. Caught up in the power politics of a dissolute court, must art fuel the vanity of celebrity or can it tell the truth?

Allen directed Lewis’ Glastonbury, which toured the UK in a big-top tent in 2002. His other acting credits include, on screen, Fat Les, Shallow Grave, 24 Hour Party People, Trainspotting, Martin Chuzzlewit and Art.

In Flanders Mare, Allen is joined in the cast by Pandora Colin, Denise Gough (As You Like It, By the Bog of Cats in the West End), Nigel Hastings, Liam McKenna, Karl Stimpson, Natalie Walter (The Constant Wife, Noises Off) and Duncan Wisbey.

Just launched in June (See News, 25 May 2005), the 200-seat Sound Theatre, a studio space converted from a former nightclub, is dedicated to presenting commercial new writing and giving a voice to new acting, directing and writing talent, offering affordable tickets at only £15 (£10 concessions) for every theatre production.

The three acclaimed Sound productions presented to date have been The Laramie Project, Frankie and Johnnie in the Clair de Lune and, currently showing, Prometheus Bound, starring David Oyelowo of BBC TV drama Spooks fame in the title role.

- by Terri Paddock