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Annis, O’Dowd & Dillon Join Tate Under Blue Sky

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As previously reported (See News, 10 Apr 2008), actress-comedienne Catherine Tate will return to the West End this summer to star in David Eldridge’s 2000 play Under the Blue Sky, for which full dates and casting has now been confirmed. Tate will be joined by Francesca Annis, Lisa Dillon, Chris O'Dowd (pictured) and Dominic Rowan in the production which will have a limited season at the Duke of York’s theatre from 25 July to 20 September 2008 (previews from 14 July).

In the darkly comic play, a group of teachers get together for a long evening of drinking tequila and revealing secrets about friendship and love, both shared and unrequited.

Under the Blue Sky was first seen at the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Upstairs in September 2000 in a production directed by Rufus Norris with a cast including Sheila Hancock. This new West End premiere production will be directed by Anna Mackmin, who directed Orlando Bloom in a revival of another Royal Court play, David Storey’s In Celebration, at the Duke of York’s last summer.

Francesca Annis was last seen in the West End in the 2005 revival of Epitaph for George Dillon. Her other myriad stage credits include Blood, Shoreditch Madonna, Henry IV, The Vortex, Ghosts and the Hackney Hamlet with Ralph Fiennes. She’s recently been seen on screen in Cranford, along with her Under the Blue Sky co-star Lisa Dillon, whose stage credits include The Master Builder, Othello, Period of Adjustment, Hedda Gabler and, most recently, Present Laughter and The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other at the National.

Dominic Rowan has just finished an NT stint in Happy Now?. His other stage credits include Voyage Round My Father, Forty Winks, Mourning Becomes Electra, Three Sisters, The Talking Cure and Lobby Hero. Chris O'Dowd, who makes his West End debut in Under the Blue Sky, is best known from TV’s The IT Crowd. His film credits include Festival and the forthcoming Hippie Hippie Shake with Sienna Miller. On stage, he’s appeared in Etta Jenks, Disco Pigs and Playboy of the Western World.

Author David Eldridge’s other plays include Market Boy, Incomplete and Random Acts of Kindness, M.A.D., Serving It Up, Summer Begins, A Week with Tony, the multi award-winning stage adaptation of Festen, and new versions of Ibsen’s The Wild Duck and John Gabriel Borkman.

Currently at the Duke of York’s, the Royal Court transfer of 21-year-old Polly Stenham’s multi award-winning debut play That Face (See News, 18 Feb 2008), which stars Lindsay Duncan, Matt Smith and Skins Hannah Murray and runs for ten weeks from 8 May to 5 July 2008 (previews from 1 May). That Face and Under the Blue Sky are both produced in the West End by Sonia Friedman Productions.

- by Terri Paddock

** DON’T MISS our Whatsonstage.com Outing to THAT FACE on 27 May 2008 – including our EXCLUSIVE post-show Q&A with Polly Stenham & the cast! – click here to book now! **


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