Dates have now been set for the National Theatre’s first new productions of 2007 - Happy Days, The Man of Mode and The Reporter (See News, 12 Sep 2006) – in which already confirmed stars Fiona Shaw and Ben Chaplin will be joined in the line-up by others including Hayley Atwell, Tom Hardy, Nancy Carroll, Paul Ritter and Angela Thorne.

The NT also announced that its hugely successful Travelex £10 Season in the Olivier will be extended to Lyttelton, where Katie Mitchell will direct the tenth anniversary revival of Martin Crimp’s Attempts on Her Life and, 35 years on from their first performance, John Kani and Winston Ntshona will recreate their roles in Athol Fugard’s modern South African classic Sizwe Banzi Is Dead.


In the NT Olivier

NT artistic director Nicholas Hytner directs George Etheredge’s 1676 Restoration comedy The Man of Mode, which joins the NT Olivier rep on 6 February 2007 (previews from 29 January). Dorimant (Tom Hardy), who can generally charm any woman in town back to his apartment, can’t persuade Belinda (Hayley Atwell) into his bed until he’s promised to dump Loveit (Nancy Carroll), his current mistress. Mission accomplished, he turns his on richer game.

According to press materials, The Man of Mode is set in a “London obsesses with having it all, and takes a steely look at young people driven by the need to have the latest clothes, the latest gossip and each other’s bodies”.

Atwell’s screen credits include The Line of Beauty and, coming up, Mansfield Park and the still-untitled Woody Allen film; on stage, she’s appeared in Women Beware Women for the RSC. Carroll was seen this year at the National in The Voysey Inheritance and has just finished See How They Run in the West End. Hardy won the Evening Standard Most Promising Newcomer Award for Festen and In Arabia, We’d All Be Kings; his screen work includes Marie Antoinette, The Virgin Queen and Black Hawk Down.

Rory Kinnear’s (who plays Sir Fopling Flutter) many stage credits include Mary Stuart, Festen, Hamlet, The Taming of the Shrew, The Tamer Tamed and, earlier this year at the NT, Southwark Fair. Also in The Man of Mode case are Amber Agah, Shelley King and Amit Shah. The production is designed by Vicki Mortimer, with lighting by Neil Austin, music by Grant Olding and sound by Paul Groothuis.


In the NT Lyttelton

The new Lyttelton schedule kicks off with Deborah Warner’s new production of Happy Days, which runs in rep for 31 performances only from 24 January to 1 March 2007 (previews from 18 January). In Samuel Beckett's 1960 stage classic, which opened the Lyttelton in 1976, Fiona Shaw plays sand-buried optimist Winnie, previously famously played by the likes of Billie Whitelaw, Peggy Ashcroft, Madeleine Renaud, Irene Worth and, in the West End in 2003, Felicity Kendal. Shaw and Warner have previously collaborate on Medea, Electra, Hedda Gabler, The Waste Land, Richard II, The Good Person of Sichuan and The Powerbook.

Attempts on Her Life: 17 Scenarios for the Theatre joins the Lyttelton’s new £10 repertoire on 14 March 2007 (previews from 8 March). A rollercoaster of late 20th-century obsessions, Crimp’s scenarios cover everything from pornography to ethnic violence, terrorism and unprotected sex care of a strange array of nameless characters.

Mitchell directed Crimp’s version of Chekhov’s The Seagull in the Lyttelton this year. Crimp’s other plays include Fewer Emergencies, The Country, The Treatment and Cruel and Tender. The cast for Attempts on Her Life features Kate Duchene, Michael Gould and Jacqueline Kington. It’s designed by Vicki Mortimer, with lighting by Paule Constable, music by Paul Clark and sound by Gareth Fry.

Sizwe Banzi Is Dead has a strictly limited £10 season run from 21 March to 4 April 2007 (previews from 19 March). In the early 1970s, at a time when collaboration between black and white theatre practitioners was the exception in South Africa, Kani and Ntshona worked with playwright Athol Fugard to create this comic examination of friendship, hope and the nature of identity, as one many struggles to survive under apartheid. Kani and Ntshona were last seen at the National in 2002 in The Island (which they also co-wrote with Fugard). This production, directed by Aubrey Sekhabi, comes to the NT from South Africa’s Baxter Theatre Centre.


In the NT Cottesloe

Nicholas Wright’s The Reporter, receives its world premiere on 21 February 2007 (previews from 14 February). Based on the life of BBC correspondent James Mossman during his last years (1963-1971), the play searches for the truth behind his suicide. It’s directed by former NT artistic director Richard Eyre, who also directed Wright’s multi award-winning Vincent in Brixton at the National, in the West End and on Broadway.

Ben Chaplin makes his NT debut as Mossman. Chaplin’s other credits include This Is How It Goes, The Glass Menagerie and The Retreat from Moscow on stage, The Remains of the Day, The Thin Red Line, Washington Square, The Truth About Cats and Dogs, Stage Beauty and Game On on screen.

Chaplin is joined in the cast by Paul Ritter (Coram Boy, The Birthday Party, Accidental Death of an Anarchist) and Angela Thorne (The Old Ladies, Communicating Doors, TV’s To the Manor Born, Three Up Two Down, Cold Comfort Farm). The Reporter is designed by Rob Howell, with lighting by Peter Mumford, sound by Rich Walsh and video by Jon Driscoll.

Also in the Cottesloe, the NT Education Mobile production of Bertolt Brecht’s The Caucasian Chalk Circle, in a new version by Frank McGuinness, will have a limited run from 7 March 2007, following a two-month regional tour. Directed by Sean Holmes in collaboration with theatre collective Filter, the cast includes Nicolas Tennant, Cath Whitefield, Oliver Dimsdale and Mo Sesay.

- by Terri Paddock