After opening to a star-studded audience and mixed reviews last month (See Review Round-up, 19 Sep 2008), the European premiere production of Andrew Upton’s Australian play Riflemind, directed by Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, has posted early West End closing notices. It opened on 19 September 2008 (previews from 15 September) and had been booking for a limited season until 3 January 2009. It will now finish next week, on Saturday 25 October 2008, after just one month.

The production was meant to be the first in an ongoing collaboration between Trafalgar Studios owner the Ambassador Theatre Group, the Sydney Theatre Company (run by author Andrew Upton and his wife, Hollywood actress Cate Blanchett) and Philip Seymour Hoffman’s New York-based LAByrinth Theater Company (See News, 15 Sep 2008). The couple first became friends with Hoffman when Blanchett and Hoffman were on location together in Italy working on the 1999 film The Talented Mr Ripley.

Riflemind had its world premiere in Sydney in October 2007, directed by Hoffman. It tells the story of John, once the frontman for one of the world’s biggest bands, Riflemind. Now John and his wife Lynn are safe from the world in their walled country house. Money and anonymity, however, won’t protect them from themselves or their past. As a comeback tour nears, the band, associated spouses, lovers and hangers-on reunite for a rock’n’roll circus of a weekend.

The London production stars John Hannah as John alongside fellow Brits Paul Hilton and Ruth Gemmell as well as original Australian cast members Susan Prior (as John’s wife Lynn), Steve Rodgers and Jeremy Sims. The production is designed by Richard Roberts with lighting by Damien Cooper and original music by Max Lyandvert.

No further productions have yet been announced for Trafalgar Studios 1.

- by Terri Paddock