The Almeida Theatre will open its new year schedule with Nobel Prize winner Harold Pinter’s modern classic The Homecoming. The new production, directed by artistic director Michael Attenborough, opens on 7 February 2008 (previews from 21 January) for a run to 22 March.

Set in an all-male household in north London, Pinter’s play explores the reaction of the family to the homecoming of the eldest son and his wife. The Homecoming received its world premiere at the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1965, directed by Peter Hall. In 1969 Hall directed a film version and in March of this year Thea Sharrock directed a production for Radio 3 with Pinter himself as family patriarch Max.

The play was last seen in the West End in a 2001 production, starring Ian Holm and Lia Williams, at the Comedy Theatre. This Almeida production will coincide with a major revival of the play on Broadway, which opens at the Cort Theatre in December, starring Britons Ian McShane, Eve Best and James Frain.

At the Almeida, Kenneth Cranham will pay Max, with Jenny Jules as Ruth (the first black actress to play the role), the wife of Max’s third son who manages to seduce them all. They’re joined in the cast by Neil Dudgeon (as Teddy), Danny Dyer (Joey), Nigel Lindsay (Lenny) and Anthony O'Donnell (Sam).

Cranham was seen on stage earlier this year in Gaslight at the Old Vic. His other extensive theatre credits at the National, RSC and elsewhere, include Endgame, The UN Inspector, Flight, School for Scandal, Cardiff East, The Novice and An Inspector Calls, which he performed at the National, in the West End and on Broadway. His screen credits include Layer Cake, The Boxer, Chocolat and Hot Fuzz on film and Rome, Hustle, Warriors and Harvey Moon on TV.

Jenny Jules (pictured) made her Almeida debut earlier this year in Attenborough’s production of Big White Fog. Her other credits include Fabulation, Gem of the Ocean, Walk Hard, The Promise and The Colour of Justice at the Tricycle.

Nigel Lindsay is currently in Attenborough’s revival of Awake and Sing! at the Almeida, where he’s also been seen in Romance, The Earthly Paradise and The Tower. His many other credits include The Pillowman and Dealer’s Choice at the National, and Guys and Dolls, Bedroom Farce and The Real Thing in the West End.

Danny Dyer and Anthony O'Donnell are also Almeida veterans, having appeared there in productions of Pinter’s Celebration and King Lear respectively. Neil Dudgeon’s stage credits include Fewer Emergencies, Mountain Language, Ashes to Ashes and Blasted at the Royal Court.

The Homecoming will be designed by Jonathan Fensom, with lighting by Neil Austin and sound by John Leonard. Awake and Sing! finishes its run at the Almeida tomorrow (20 October) and is followed by Thea Sharrock’s revival of Caryl Churchill’s Cloud Nine (25 October to 8 December 2007) and Moira Buffini’s adaptation of Catherine Storr’s classic children’s book Marianne Dreams (13 December 2007 to 19 January 2008), the theatre’s first-ever family show (See News, 25 May 2007).

- by Terri Paddock