As previously tipped (See The Goss, 13 Jul 2007), the UK premiere of David Hare’s The Vertical Hour will play the Royal Court next year. The production opens on 22 January 2008 (previews from 17 January) and will run until 1 March, starring Indira Varma and directed by Jeremy Herrin. Full casting is to be announced.

Exploring how western life has changed after 9/11, The Vertical Hour centres on American war correspondent-turned-academic Nadia Blye, whose beliefs and relationships are shaken up when she meets an Englishman on holiday in Wales.

Hollywood’s Julianne Moore and Bill Nighy starred in the world premiere, which was directed by former Donmar Warehouse artistic director Sam Mendes and opened in November 2006 for a four-month run at Broadway’s Music Box Theatre. Although Nighy received strong notices, the play itself garnered mixed reviews and was completely overlooked in this year’s Tony Awards.

While in this country Hare’s work is perhaps most closely associated with the National Theatre, where no fewer than 13 of his plays have premiered, he’s no stranger at the Court. His last play there, 2000’s My Zinc Bed, subsequently transferred to the West End. Hare’s other Court offerings have included What Happened to Blake? (1970), Teeth ‘n’ Smiles (1975) and his one-man play which he also performed, Via Dolorosa (1998).

Indira Varma, who will be playing Nadia Blye in this production of The Vertical Hour, is perhaps best known for her TV roles. Most recently, she appeared as Alisha Cole in ITV’s The Whistleblowers and Niobe in the hit BBC series, Rome. She last appeared at the Royal Court in 2000 in the world premiere of Martin Crimp’s The Country. Her other stage appearances include roles in The Vortex (Donmar Warehouse), The Skin of Their Teeth (Young Vic) and Five Gold Rings (Almeida).

The Vertical Hour at the Royal Court will be designed by Mike Britton, with lighting by Howard Harrison and sound by Nick Powell. Booking is now open.

- by Tom Atkins