The next production at the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Downstairs will be a new play by My Night with Reg author Kevin Elyot, starring Lindsay Duncan and directed by Court artistic director Ian Rickson. Mouth to Mouth opens 6 February 2001 (following previews from 1 February) and continues to 10 March.

The play - set in a garden in Balham, south London, in summertime – concerns a homecoming. Against a backdrop of birds, lawnmowers and children at play, old friends Frank and Laura make bitter small talk, never daring to bring out in the open the tragedy that occurred the previous summer.

Duncan, a respected stage actress, leads the cast. She has recently appeared in the National s 1997 production of Harold Pinter s The Homecoming and, last year, featured in the Almeida s production of Celebration. On television, she has appeared in Stephen Poliakoff s Shooting the Past and Dirty Tricks with Martin Clunes.

Duncan is joined in the cast by Barnaby Kay, Michael Maloney, Andrew McKay, Lucy Whybrow and Peter Wright.

Mouth to Mouth is Elyot s second play for the Royal Court. His first, My Night with Reg, premiered at the Theatre Upstairs in 1994 before transferring to the Criterion and Playhouse Theatres in the West End. In 1994/95, it won Best Comedy honours at both the Laurence Olivier Awards and the Evening Standard Theatre Awards, and the Critics Circle Award for Most Promising Playwright. Elyot s other plays include Coming Clean (Bush Theatre) and, most recently, The Day I Stood Still (National).

The last was also directed by Rickson. Mouth to Mouth is designed by Mark Thompson, with lighting by Hugh Vanstone, sound by Paul Arditti, music by Stephen Warbeck and movement by Quinny Sacks.

Stephen Jeffreys I Just Stopped by to See the Man, currently playing at the Theatre Downstairs, completes its run on 6 January 2001.