The production of the bard's bittersweet comedy, directed by RSC associate director Gregory Doran, opens initially at Stratford's Swan Theatre, running from 11 December 2003 to 7 February 2004 (previews 3 December) and marking Dench's return to the RSC's home ground in after an absence of nearly a quarter of a century (See News, 11 Jul 2003).
An Honorary Associate Artist at the RSC, Dench has not performed in Stratford since playing Imogen in the 1979 production of Cymbeline, while her last RSC performance in London (Barbican and West End) was in Peter Shaffer's The Gift of the Gorgon more than a decade ago. In her most recent West End outing, Dench starred opposite Dame Maggie Smith in David Hare's Whatsonstage.com Award-winning play The Breath of Life. In addition to her myriad award-winning stage credits, her recent films include Die Another Day, Iris, The Shipping News, Chocolat, Shakespeare in Love and Mrs Brown.
Dench is joined in the All's Well That Ends Well cast by Claudie Blakley (The Lady from the Sea as Helena, Jamie Glover (Edward III, The Island Princess) as Bertram and Guy Henry (The Coast of Utopia, King John) as Parolles.
Doran's All's Well will be the RSC's first production of the bard's bittersweet comedy since Peter Hall's mounting in 1992. It will be presented in the West End by Bill Kenwright and Thelma Holt who last year engineered the transfer of the RSC's Olivier Award-winning Jacobean season of five plays, which Doran curated.
Currently at the Gielgud, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Don Black's revamped one-woman musical Tell Me on a Sunday, starring Denise Van Outen, is due to finish, at the end of its current booking period, on 10 January 2004, after which it's expected to embark on a regional tour with a new leading lady.
- by Terri Paddock