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Pennington Brings Harwood Double to Town???

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Apparently, Ronald Harwood plays are like buses: you wait for ages and then two come along at once. The two – so we hear – are a revival of 1995’s Taking Sides and Harwood’s new play Collaboration, which were first presented as companion pieces this past July/August at Chichester Festival’s Minerva Theatre and are now tipped to transfer to the West End next spring (See News, 12 Jun 2008).

Both are directed by Philip Franks and star Michael Pennington as, respectively, conductor Wilhelm Furtwangler and composer Richard Strauss, both wrangling with Nazism. In Chichester, Pennington was joined in a cross-cast company by Isla Blair, Pip Donaghy, Martin Hutson, David Horovitch, Melanie Jessop and Sophie Roberts.

Harwood’s best-known play, 1980’s The Dresser, was revived at the Duke of York’s Theatre in 2005, but his last new play in the West End was Mahler’s Conversion, which starred Antony Sher at the Vaudeville in 2001. Earlier this year, his play An English Tragedy, also set during the Second World War, premiered at Watford Palace (See News, 16 Jan 2008).


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