The National Theatre production of Sophocles’ Oedipus, directed by former Almeida artistic director Jonathan Kent and starring Ralph Fiennes (pictured) in the title role, opened last night at the NT Olivier (16 October 2008, previews from 8 October), where it runs in rep until 4 January 2009.

In Sophocles’ ancient Greek tragedy, in a new version by Frank McGuinness, the people of Thebes look to Oedipus to lift a terrible curse from them and their city. He consults the oracle and learns that he must root out the late king’s murderer. But his relentless interrogation of one man after another leads inexorably, and in the space of a single day, to his own savage conclusion.

Fiennes is joined by Clare Higgins as Oedipus’ mother Jocasta and Alan Howard as the blind prophet Teiresias (See News, 27 Mar 2008). The cast also features Patrick Brennan, Steven Page, Christopher Saul, David Shaw-Parker and Malcolm Storry.

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

For 1st Night Photos, our Whatsonstage.com photographer Dan Wooller was on hand for the curtain call at the NT Olivier. Oedipus is designed by Paul Brown, director Jonathan Kent’s long-term collaborator at the Almeida and, more recently, the Theatre Royal Haymarket season, with lighting by Neil Austin, sound by Paul Groothuis and music by Jonathan Dove.

Oedipus was last produced at the National 13 years ago, when current cast member Alan Howard played the title role in Peter Hall's production. For Fiennes, it marks his second London stage appearance this year, having starred this summer in Yasmina Reza’s new comedy God of Carnage at the West End’s Gielgud Theatre (See News, 2 May 2008).

- by Theo Bosanquet