The play, which was first seen in 2007, is adapted by Norris’ wife Tanya Ronder from DBC Pierre’s Booker Prize-winning novel, and returns as part of the Young Vic’s 40th anniversary season.
In the original production, Colin Morgan (who has since gone on to star in the TV series Merlin) took the title role as a young man who is held in the sheriff’s office after his best friend has committed a school massacre.
This time around, newcomer Joseph Drake makes his professional debut as the hapless Vernon. The cast also includes: Luke Brady, Clare Burt, Daniel Cerqueira, Peter De Jersey, Johnnie Fiori, Lily James, Penny Layden, Nathan Osgood and Duncan Wisbey.
Norris has described the revival as a chance to have “another go” at “exploring the promise” of the piece. At the launch of the anniversary season, Young Vic artistic director David Lan described the play's return as “a very special treat”.
Members of the original creative team including designer Ian MacNeil, costume designer Nicky Gillibrand, lighting designer by Paule Constable and musical director Phil Bateman are reuniting for the new production.
Directed by Sarah Esdaile, the production runs from 18 February to 12 March 2011 and launches a year of 21st birthday events for the Playhouse, as well as marking Terence Rattigan’s centenary.
Peake returns to the Playhouse following her performance as Ophelia in Hamlet (opposite Christopher Eccleston) in 2002. Her other stage credits include Miss Julie (Theatre Royal Haymarket), The Cherry Orchard (National Theatre), Mother Teresa is Dead (Royal Court), Leaves of Glass (Soho Theatre) and (Manchester Royal Exchange). Her television work includes The Children’s HourDinner Ladies, Shameless, See No Evil, Criminal Justice and Red Riding, and she was Bafta nominated for her performance as Joan Le Mesurier in Hancock and Son.
She said of accepting the role of Hester: “It is a fantastic piece of playwriting and a fabulous part. Playing Hester is a role I didn’t want to turn down. I am very much looking forward to working at West Yorkshire Playhouse again and am excited about returning to the stage after a break of three years.”