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Cast: Pike Is Donmar’s Madame, Gemmell Rifles

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Rosamund Pike (pictured) has joined the roll call of stars for the Donmar Warehouse’s imminent year-long residency at the West End’s Wyndham’s Theatre (See News, 12 Feb 2008). She’ll star opposite Judi Dench in third production in the Donmar West End season, Yukio Mishima’s little-known Japanese play Madame de Sade, which runs from 18 March (previews from 13 March) to 23 May 2009.

The 1965 drama, translated by Donald Keene, centres on five women affected by the debauchery of the Marquis de Sade. In the six-strong cast, Pike takes the title role of the Marquis’ wife Renee, while Dench plays Madame de Montreuil, the Marquis’ mother-in-law. The London premiere production is directed by Donmar artistic director Michael Grandage.

Pike’s previous West End credits are Hitchcock Blonde, Summer and Smoke and, most recently, Gaslight at the Old Vic last summer. She’s best known for her films such as Pride and Prejudice, Die Another Day, The Libertine and Fracture.

The Donmar West End season opens on 17 September 2008 (previews from 12 September) with Ivanov, starring Kenneth Branagh and directed by Grandage and continues with Twelfth Night, directed by Grandage with Derek Jacobi as Malvolio and Madame de Sade before concluding with Hamlet, starring Jude Law and directed by Branagh (See News, 10 Sep 2007).

In other play casting news, Ruth Gemmell has joined the cast for the European premiere of Riflemind, the Australian play by Sydney Theatre Company’s Andrew Upton directed by Hollywood’s Philip Seymour Hoffman (See News, 8 Aug 2008). She’ll appear alongside fellow Brits John Hannah and Paul Hilton as well as members of the original Australian production for the limited season at the West End’s Trafalgar Studios 1 from 18 September 2008 (previews from 15 September) to 3 January 2009.

Riflemind had its world premiere in Sydney in October 2007, directed by Hoffman. It tells the story of John, once the frontman for one of the world’s biggest bands, Riflemind. Now John and his wife Lynn are safe from the world in their walled country house. Money and anonymity, however, won’t protect them from themselves or their past. As a comeback tour nears, the band, associated spouses, lovers and hangers-on reunite for a rock’n’roll circus of a weekend.

Ruth Gemmell’s stage credits include Helter Skelter/Land of the Dead, Coram Boy, Midwinter, Macbeth and The Weir. On screen, she’s been seen in TV’s Waking the Dead, Silent Witness, Gone Fishing, The Imaginary Girl and the film Fever Pitch amongst others.

- by Terri Paddock


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