The Donmar Warehouse has announced full casting for artistic director Michael Grandage’s much-anticipated production of Othello starring Chiwetel Ejiofor in the title role, Ewan McGregor as Iago and Kelly Reilly as Desdemona (See News, 11 May 2007), which runs at the Covent Garden venue from 4 December 2007 (previews from 29 November) to 23 February 2008.

The company will also feature Edward Bennett as Roderigo, Michelle Fairley as Emilia, Michael Hadley as the Duke of Venice and Ludovico, Tom Hiddleston as Cassio, Michael Jenn as Montano, Martina Laird as Bianca and James Laurenson as Brabantio/Gratiano. The production is designed by Christopher Oram, with lighting by Paule Constable and music and sound by Adam Cork.

The National Theatre has also confirmed further casting for its upcoming Shakespeare, artistic director Nicholas Hytner’s staging of Much Ado About Nothing (See News, 25 Jul 2007), which stars Zoe Wanamaker and Simon Russell Beale as Beatrice and Benedick and joins the NT Olivier rep 18 December (previews from 10 December). Also in the company will be: John Burgess as Antonio, Susannah Fielding as Hero, Oliver Ford Davies as Leonato, Daniel Hawksford as Claudio, Maggie McCarthy as Ursula and Julian Wadham as Don Pedro.

Ahead of that in the NT Lyttelton from 2 October 2007 (previews from 25 September), Alex Jennings, Lisa Dillon, Sara Stewart and Sarah Woodward are joined in the cast of Howard Davies’ revival Present Laughter by Jessie Burton, Pip Carter, Paul Chesteron, Mark Elstob, Amy Hall, Hilary Hamilton, Frances Jeater, Anne Kavanagh, Nick Malinowski, Tim McMullan, Anny Tobin, Tony Turner and Simon Wilson. The production marks the first time that the NT has ever presented Noel Coward’s 1942 comedy.

In the West End, the National’s multi award-winning production of Alan Bennett’s The History Boys will include Elizabeth Bell (as Mrs Lintott), Tim Delap (Irwin), Daniel Fine, Andrew Hawley, Ryan Hawley, Thomas Howes, Danny Kirran, Alton Letto, David Mallinson (Headmaster), Sam Phillips and Nathan Stewart-Jarrett. As previously announced (See News, 9 Aug 2007), Desmond Barrit reprises his role as unconventional English teacher. Bennett’s play is back for a second West End season at Wyndham’s Theatre from 20 December 2007 to 9 August 2008 following yet another regional tour, not to mention success on the big screen.

Elsewhere, the Royal Court has announced its complete casting for its revivals of Ionesco’s Rhinoceros (opening 27 September, previews from 21 September) and Max Frisch’s The Arsonists (opening 6 November, previews from 1 November), which are performed in repertory by the same cast in the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs. Joining Benedict Cumberbatch, who headlines the company (See News, 2 Jul 2007), are Zawe Ashton, Michael Begley, Jasper Britton, Paul Chahidi, Jacqueline Defferary, David Hinton, Lloyd Hutchinson, Claire Prempeh, Alwyne Taylor and Graham Turner. The productions, directed by artistic director Dominic Cooke and Ramin Gray respectively, conclude on 15 December.

Finally, in the West End, following several other cast changes in Matthew Warchus’ revival of Marc Camoletti’s Sixties sex farce Boeing-Boeing (See News, 17 Aug 2007), Jean Marsh joins the company at the Comedy Theatre to play long-suffering housekeeper Bertha from 1 October 2007. Marsh is a Broadway veteran having appeared in Stateside productions of Much Ado About Nothing, The Importance of Being Earnest, Uncle Vanya, Twelfth Night and Whose Life Is It Anyway?, though she’s best remembered by TV fans for her Emmy Award-winning portrayal of parlour maid Rose in the Upstairs Downstairs, a part she co-created with Eileen Atkins.

- by Tom Atkins & Terri Paddock