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Cast: Blasted, Builder, Female Othello & Red Bud

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Casting has been announced for the Lyric Hammersmith’s forthcoming revival of Sarah Kane’s Blasted.

The production, which runs from 28 October to 20 November 2010 (previews from 22 October), marks the controversial play's first major London revival in nearly ten years.

The cast will feature Aidan Kelly (who worked with Holmes at the Donmar on The Man who had all the Luck) as Soldier, Danny Webb (Donmar’s The Philanthropist) as Ian, and Lydia Wilson (National’s Pains of Youth) as Cate.

When it premiered in 1995 at the Royal Court Upstairs, directed by James MacDonald, Kane’s debut play made outraged front-page headlines thanks to its depiction of rape, cannibalism and torture. The “most notorious playwright in Britain” followed it with just four more plays - Phaedra’s Love, Cleansed, Crave and 4.48 Psychosis - before committing suicide in 1999 at the age of 28.

Set in a hotel room in Leeds, a middle-aged journalist brings a younger woman back for the night, their abusive relationship heightened by a brutal civil war that forces its way in.

Director Sean Holmes, who worked with Kane, said: “In 1995 I saw an early preview of the original production of Blasted. It remains seared on my memory. It is the only new play I have ever seen that can be genuinely described as important. It changed the landscape in which we work. It’s an honour to be able to direct this unique play.”

Full casting has been announced for Travis Preston’s Almeida Theatre production of Ibsen’s The Master Builder, which opens on 18 November 2010 (previews from 12 November).

Joining the previously announced Stephen Dillane (Halvard Solness) and Gemma Arterton (Hilde Wangel) are: Anastasia Hille (Aline Solness), Jack Shepherd (Doctor Herdal), John Light (Ragnar Brovik), Patrick Godfrey (Knut Brovik) and Emma Hamilton (Kaja Fosli).

One of Henrik Ibsen's later works, the 1892 classic tells the story of Halvard Solness, a renowned but aging builder, whose obsession with building tall spires for his new house is matched by his fear of younger rivals. When a vivacious young woman arrives to collect on a decade-old promise, she inspires him to build castles in the air, with tragic consequences.

Translated by Kenneth McLeish, The Master Builder runs until 8 January 2011.

Painted Stage theatre company are producing an all-female version of Shakespeare's Othello at The Space in east London next month (5-16 October 2010).

The production puts three women – Desdemona, Iago's wife Emilia and the courtesan Bianca – at the centre of the drama. Using song, mask and physicality to retell the original play from their points of view, they ask us: what is it to be possessed by jealousy, by hatred, by love?

Leading the cast will be Vanessa Sampson (Bianca/Othello), Christina Carty (Desdemona/Cassio) and Bethan Clark (Emilia/Iago). Stewart Melton directs.

Casting has also been announced for the Royal Court production of Red Bud by Chicago playwright Brett Neveu, which opens at the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs on 25 October 2010 (previews from 21 October).

The cast will feature Lisa Palfrey, (who returns to the Royal Court after Ingredient X earlier this year) as Jen; Trevor White (Macbeth at the Open Air, Regent's Park, Enron at the Royal Court and West End) as Bill and Peter McDonald (Dancing at Lughnasa at the Old Vic) as Greg.

A new American drama about the creeping spread of middle age and fading friendships, the production is directed by Jo McInnes. The rest of the cast have been announced as Roger Evans (Shane), Hywel Simons (Jason) and Isabel Ellison (Jana). The production runs at the Royal Court until 13 November 2010.


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