Rupert Goold is unquestionably the director of the moment and his autumn/winter assault on the West End got under way last night (15 September 2008, previews from 10 September) with the transfer of his own new version of Six Characters in Search of an Author to the Gielgud Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue (See News, 4 Aug 2008).

The co-production from Headlong Theatre, of which Goold is artistic director, was first seen at Chichester’s Minerva Theatre – where Goold’s award-laden Patrick Stewart-led Macbeth began last summer ahead of its transfer to the Gielgud and on to Broadway – in July.

Next up, Goold’s revival of Harold Pinter’s 1975 play No Man's Land, starring Michael Gambon and Little Britain’s David Walliams, opens on 7 October (previews from 27 September) at the Duke of York’s, following its initial dates in Dublin (See News, 2 Jul 2008). And slightly further ahead, he makes his musical debut helming Cameron Mackintosh’s TV-cast revival of Oliver!, which opens on 14 January 2009 (previews from 12 December 2008) at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane (See News, 2 Jun 2008).

Mackintosh, who also owns the Gielgud, where Six Characters continues for a limited season until 8 November, was on hand to keep tabs on Goold’s progress.

The director and his co-adapter Ben Power have updated the 1921 classic by Italian Luigi Pirandello for the “media-obsessed age” of the 21st century. In the exploration of reality and the blurred border between fiction and life, between the stage and the world outside, six characters arrive unannounced during the editing of a documentary film. Unfinished characters desperately in search of an author, the documentary producer agrees to let them film their story.

TO SCROLL THROUGH ALL OF SIX CHARACTERS' 1st NIGHT PHOTOS,
JUST CLICK ON THE "NEXT >" LINKS BELOW THE FOLLOWING FRAME.
PHOTOS BY DAN WOOLLER FOR WHATSONSTAGE.COM.

Former Almeida joint artistic director Ian McDiarmid, whose previous Pirandello credits include Henry IV at the Donmar Warehouse, plays Father in a cast that also features Jamie Bower, Eleanor David, Noma Dumezweni, Dyfan Dwyfor, Christine Entwisle, Denise Gough, Jake Harders, Jeremy Joyce, John Mackay and Robin Pearce.

Six Characters in Search of an Author is designed by Mariam Beuther, with lighting by Malcolm Rippeth, video by Lorna Heavey and sound by Adam Cork. It’s presented in the West End by Carole Winter and Michael Edwards.

For 1st Night Photos, our Whatsonstage.com photographer Dan Wooller was on hand for the curtain call at the Gielgud Theatre and the post-show party at Century along with the company and other first night guests including Rupert Goold and his actress wife Kate Fleetwood, who was Tony and Whatsonstage.com Award-nominated for her performance as Lady Macbeth.

- by Terri Paddock