Gina McKee (pictured) will replace Tara Fitzgerald in the upcoming double bill of Harold Pinter’s The Lover and The Collection, which opens on 29 January 2008 (previews from 15 January) at the West End’s Comedy Theatre (See News, 30 Nov 2007). Fitzgerald has had to withdraw from the productions, currently in rehearsals, due to a “serious bronchial infection”.

The rest of the cast in Jamie Lloyd’s production are, as previously reported, Richard Coyle, Charlie Cox and Timothy West.

In 1962’s The Collection, adapted by Pinter from a television play, Harry (West) and dress designer Bill (Cox), who share a house in Belgravia, are disturbed by an anonymous phone call from James (Coyle), whose model wife Stella (McKee) has confessed to a one-night stand with Bill. In 1963’s The Lover, husband and wife Richard and Sarah (Coyle and McKee) use the fantasy of infidelity to spice up their romance, but the charade spills over into real life.

Gina McKee was last seen in the West End in the 2004 Donmar Warehouse revival of Pinter’s 1971 three-hander Old Times. Her other stage credits include Aristocrats at the National. She’s best known for her screen roles including the films Atonement, And When Did You Last See Your Father?, Wonderland, Joan of Arc, Naked and Notting Hill and, on television The Forsyte Saga and Our Friends in the North, for which she won a Best Actress BAFTA.

Currently at the Comedy Theatre, Matthew Warchus’ hit revival of Sixties sex farce Boeing-Boeing finishes on 5 January 2008 after an extended 11-month run and ahead of planned Broadway and Australian dates and a UK regional tour (See News, 29 Nov 2007).

In casting news outside of London, Iain Glen and Imogen Stubbs will star at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry in the premiere of Joanna Murray-Smith’s new adaptation of Scenes from a Marriage, the 1973 Swedish film classic by Ingmar Bergman who died earlier this year (See News, 30 Jul 2007). The production is directed by Stubbs’ husband Trevor Nunn, who is returning for the first time to the Belgrade where he launched his career (See News, 17 Jul 2007). It runs from 12 January to 2 February 2008 as part of the theatre’s reopening season following a £14 million, 18-month redevelopment.

Originally a TV series, Scenes from a Marriage follows the highs, lows and infidelities of Marianne and Johan’s marital breakdown. Bergman himself first adapted the story for the stage. Australian playwright Joanna Murray-Smith is best known in this country for Honour, which has had runs at the National Theatre and in the West End.

Nunn’s production will run in the Belgrade’s new 300-seat B2 auditorium, which is part of the seven-storey extension added during the theatre complex’s redevelopment. The Grade II-listed building, including the original 800-seat main house, has also been restored to its original, 1950s ‘retro’ glory.

- by Terri Paddock