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Henshall joins Gatiss in full 55 Days cast, Laura Carmichael in Uncle Vanya & more

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A whole host of high-profile shows, in the West End and beyond, have made new casting announcements, including the Hampstead Theatre's 55 Days, the Vaudeville's Uncle Vanya, two plays at the RSC, and Hindle Wakes at the Finborough Theatre.

Firstly, full casting has been announced for 55 Days at the Hampstead Theatre, which sees Douglas Henshall join the previously-announced Mark Gatiss in Howard Brenton's play about the events leading up to Charles I's execution.

Henshall will play Oliver Cromwell opposite Gatiss' Charles in the Howard Davies-directed play, which runs at the Hampstead from 18 October to 24 November 2012. His credits include Betrayal (Comedy Theatre),  The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (Almeida Theatre) and The Cryptogram  (Donmar Warehouse).

The cast is completed by Abigail Cruttenden, Daniel Flynn, Matthew Flynn, Richard Henders, Simon Kunz, Gerald Kyd, John Mackay, Jordan Mifsud, Gerard Monaco, Laura Rogers, Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, Jem Wall and James Wallace.

55 Days charts the political upheaval of the mid-17th century. In these dangerous and dramatic times, in a country exhausted by Civil War, the great men of the day were trying to think the unthinkable – to create a country without a king. With Charles I refusing to compromise, Oliver Cromwell struggled to invent a political future for his country as he presided over the death of medieval England and the birth of the modern state.

As previously tipped, Laura Carmichael of Downton Abbey fame has been confirmed to play Sonya in a forthcoming production of Uncle Vanya at the Vaudeville Theatre.

The actress will star in the Chekhov classic alongside Ken Stott as Vanya, Anna Friel as Yelena and Samuel West, marking her West End deubt.

The show begins rehearsing in mid-September, ahead of its opening at the Vaudeville Theatre on 2 November (previews from 25 October).

Meanwhile, in Stratford-Upon-Avon, casting has been announced for the new adaptation of Alexander Pushkin classic Boris Godunov, to be directed by RSC artistic director Michael Boyd at the Swan Theatre, opening 28 November 2012 (previews from 15 November).

The cast is lead by Lloyd Hutchinson (RSC's Troilus and Cressida, Derek Jacobi's Twelfth Night, The Observer and Collaborators) as the eponymous Boris, and Gethin Anthony (Reny Baratheon in HBO's Game of Thrones, In Praise of Love at the Northmapton Royal and Derngate Theatres and Ditch).

The cast also includes Matthew Aubrey (Rozhnov), Adam Burton (Semyon), Lucy Briggs-Owen (Maryna), Joe Dixon (General Basmanov), Jake Fairbrother (Gavrila Pushkin), Nia Gwynne (Nurse), Paul Hamilton (Karela/Shchelkarlov), Susan Momoko Hingley (Rozia) and Siu Hun Li (Krushchev).

The same cast will also appear in a new adaptaion of The Orphan of Zhao, the "Chinese Hamlet", directed by Gregory Doran, which also runs at the Swan from 8 November 2012 (previews from 30 October).

Lastly, casting has been announced for the centenary revival of Stanley Houghton's Hindle Wakes at the Finborough Theatre, opening on 13 September 2102 (previews from 11 September).

The cast features Anna Carteret, best known from her title in the BBC's Juliet Bravo as Mrs Hawthorn, Richard Durden (Spooks, Hotel Babylon) as Nathaniel Jeffcote, and Ellie Turner (NT's The Cherry Orchard and Hamlet) as Fanny Hawthorn. They are joined by Peter Ellis (The Bill) and Susan Penhaligon (A Bouquet of Barbed Wire and Emmerdale).


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