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Chalk Garden Blooms Again in West End???

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Wyndham’s Theatre may not be the only place to catch Donmar Warehouse productions in the West End over the coming months. Negotiations are under way to transfer artistic director Michael Grandage’s recent revival of Enid Bagnold’s 1956 comedy The Chalk Garden, which had a critically acclaimed, sell-out season from 11 June (previews from 5 June) to 2 August 2008 at the Donmar’s 250-seat Covent Garden home (See Review Round-up, 12 Jun 2008).

As always, the viability of a West End run will be largely dependent on cast availability. Penelope Wilton starred as Miss Madrigal over the summer, but she’s already signed up to return to the Donmar this winter to co-star with Samuel West in Jeremy Herrin’s revival of TS Eliot’s rarely seen 1939 verse drama The Family Reunion from 25 November 2008 (previews from 20 November) to 10 January 2009. So, presumably, The Chalk Garden would have to squeeze in a limited season before that or wait until the new year for a future life.

In Bagnold’s play, 16-year-old Laurel runs wild in a manor house by the sea where the flowers struggle to grow. As her eccentric grandmother tends to the garden, Laurel’s need for love forces her into a fantasy world. Things begin to change with the appointment of the mysterious new governess, Miss Madrigal. At the Donmar, Wilton was joined by Felicity Jones as Laurel and Margaret Tyzack as Mrs St Maugham.


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