The Royal Court company has been taking preparations for The Arsonists and Rhinoceros rather seriously. For the latter, the cast and creative team recently spent a day at Colchester Zoo studying real rhinoceroses in action. Meanwhile, it was a case of life imitating art for The Arsonists when smoke in the Court’s café bar led to the theatre being evacuated. Three fire engines quickly arrived to put out a small fire in the adjacent kitchen. The play’s director Ramin Gray used the opportunity to observe firefighters at first hand.

The cross-cast productions of Ionesco’s Rhinoceros and Max Frisch’s The Arsonists are led by Benedict Cumberbatch (See News, 2 Jul 2007). They run in rep in the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs from 21 September to 15 December 2007, with the first opening to the press on 27 September and the second on 6 November.