The life of Orson Welles is explored in the award-winning Rosebud, which premiered at the Edinburgh Festival in 2004 and transfers this week to London, marking the 20th anniversary of the death and 90th anniversary of the birth of the legendary actor and filmmaker. It opens tomorrow night (Thursday 22 December 2005, previews from 20 December) at Islington’s King’s Head Theatre, where its limited season continues until 21 January 2006.

Welles’ achievements include Voodoo Macbeth, the live newscast radio adaptation of War of the Worlds and Citizen Kane which assured his iconic status in America.

Rosebud explores how Welles’ early success in his career, helped by his marriage to Rita Hayworth, were followed by decades of struggle. Exiled from Hollywood, he found his ambitions were continually thwarted and spent the rest of his life battling to find (and fund) outlets for his creative genius.

Christian McKay reprises his performance as Welles in the one-man play, written by actor-playwright Mark Jenkins and directed by Josh Richards. Premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2004, Rosebud won a Fringe First Award and an inaugural Carol Tambor Award, which funded a transfer to New York (See News, 31 Aug 2004).

In London, the production is presented by Andy Jordan Productions, Steven Berkoff and Rosebud Productions in association with Mogo.

- by Caroline Ansdell