Olivier Award winner Sara Kestelman stars in a new play about the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Bitter Fruit of Palestine opens tonight, 1 November 2002 (following previews from 29 October), at the fringe Baron's Court Theatre in west London, continuing to 24 November.

The play, written by Richard Morris, examines some of the roots of the present-day conflict in the Middle East. In the first act, Victor and Sara endure the daily humiliations of the Nazi regime in Dresden. They oppose the philosophy of the Zionist Dr Katchen and remain convinced, until a final act of brutality, that Germany will return to sanity.

The action of the second act takes place in Palestine at the time of the creation of the State of Israel. Golda and David, two soldier politicians, plan a Palestine without Arabs. They are opposed by Golda's daughter, Rebecca, her Palestinian husband, Sakini, and Ben Yehuda, a rabbi and survivor of the Holocaust.

Kestelman, who plays the dual roles of Sara and Golda, won the 1994 Best Supporting Performance in a Musical Olivier for her role in Sam Mendes' Cabaret at the Donmar Warehouse. Her other recent theatre credits have included Three Tall Women with Maggie Smith, Nine, Hamlet and the multi award-winning premiere of Michael Blakemore's Copenhagen at the National and in the West End.

She's joined in the Bitter Fruit of Palestine cast by Michael Poole, Russell Bentley, Matthew Brenher, Orit Haddad, Gregory Cox and Alistair Danson. The production is directed by David Newman and designed by Kelvin Douglas and Ulrika Alyher, with lighting by Mat Veitch and sound by Steve Rafter.

Morris' play originally had a reading in April 2002 at the Pleasance Theatre as part of the John Caird Company's "Playing Soldiers" season for new writing.

- by Terri Paddock