We hear that The Real Thing, Stoppard’s 1982 comedy about love, marriage and adultery, is being lined up for the Old Vic this spring. The play within a play centres on Annie, an actress, and her husband Henry, a playwright. Annie stars in her husband’s creations, but when his work about love and betrayal start reflecting real life, things become difficult; setting the scene for lessons to be learnt about love and pain.
The Real Thing was famously revived at the Donmar Warehouse in 1999, in a production that was also directed by David Leveaux and starred Stephen Dillane and Jennifer Ehle as Henry and Annie. The following year, that production transferred first to the West End and then on to Broadway, where it won three Tony Awards, for Best Revival of a Play and Best Actor and Actress for Dillane and Ehle (See News, 5 Jun 2000).
At the Old Vic, The Real Thing’s new outing could fill the gap between David Grindley’s upcoming revival of John Guare’s Six Degrees of Separation, which runs from 7 January to 3 April 2010, and the arrival next June of Sam Mendes’ Bridge Project productions of As You Like It and The Tempest, which, coincidentally, star Stephen Dillane (See News, 16 Oct 2009).
As Dillane will be tied up with pre-London international dates for the Bridge Project, there’s no chance, of course, that he could reprise his award-winning Real Thing performance. But, given his Stoppard track record, might Leveaux be lured back to direct?