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Warner Helms Barbican School for Scandal in May

By • West End
While, as reported yesterday, The Rivals aims for a West End transfer in early 2011, another one of Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s 18th-century comedies will be revived at the Barbican Theatre next spring. Sheridan’s 1777 classic The School for Scandal will run at the Barbican from 11 May to 18 June 2011.

It’s the first major London revival of the play since the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production which ran at the Barbican in 1998, directed by Declan Donnellan with a cast including Kenneth Cranham, Celia Imrie, Emma Fielding , Matthew Macfadyen and Stephen Mangan.

No names have yet been announced for the “tight ensemble cast” for the new production, produced in-house by the Barbican, but it will be directed by Deborah Warner. It will mark Warner’s first foray at the Barbican since being appointed the venue’s artistic associate following her epic 2005 production of Julius Caesar, which saw Ralph Fiennes take the title role, leading a 100-strong community ensemble.

The School for Scandal is set in a world heaving with wicked whispers and ruthless backstabbing, where appearance is everything, fraudsters are conspiring to guarantee success and trickery is in vogue. The middle-aged and wealthy bachelor Sir Peter Teazle has married the young daughter of a country squire. But the new Lady Teazle, however chaste, can't escape the malicious gossip of fashionable society, led by Lady Sneerwell, who, meanwhile, is in cahoots to break up the romance between Sir Peter's ward Maria and Charles Surface, the man she wants for herself. Matters become more complicated still with the arrival from Australia of Sir Oliver Surface, who adopts a disguise to discover what's really going on with his prospective heirs.

Warner’s many other credits elsewhere include Medea, Happy Days, Titus Andronicus, King John, Electra, Hedda Gabler, The Powerbook, and most recently, Mother Courage and Her Children (National), The Waste Land (Wilton’s Music Hall) and Messiah (ENO).


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