First staged at the National Theatre in 1996, Helen Edmundson’s dramatisation of the 1868 novel is performed by 15 actors covering 72 roles between them. Tolstoy’s epic gives a detailed account of the impact of the Napoleonic wars on Russian society over 15 years, centring on the characters of Natasha, Pierre and Maria.
The cast of the revival – co-produced by Shared Experience, Nottingham Playhouse and Hampstead Theatre - comprises Richard Attlee, Marion Bailey, Geoffrey Beevers, Louise Ford, Theo Herdman, Barnaby Kay, Jeffery Kissoon, Des McAleer, Hywel Morgan, Sophie Roberts, Vinette Robinson, David Sturzaker, Simon Thorp, Kate Wimpenny and Jonathan Woolf.
War and Peace is designed by Angela Simpson, with costumes by Yvonne Milnes, based on the original set and costume designs of Bunny Christie. Lighting is by Chris Davey, sound by Peter Salem and movement by Liz Ranken.
Shared Experience is renowned for its innovative theatre work, in particular its style of embracing new writing (often using devised scripts) and new literary adaptations, then combining these with physical theatre. In addition to War and Peace, the company’s lauded adaptations have included Jane Eyre, A Passage to India, The Magic Toyshop, Anna Karenina and Mill on the Floss, several of which have also transferred to the West End. Its award-winning premiere of After Mrs Rochester, director Polly Teale’s own play based on the life of Wide Sargasso Sea author Jean Rhys, had an extended West End run in 2003.
Following Nottingham, War and Peace visits Liverpool, Darlington, Bath, Coventry, Oxford, Truro, London’s Hampstead Theatre and Cheltentham, where the tour concludes on 18 May 2008.
- by Terri Paddock