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Sharrock Revives Wright’s Mrs Klein at Almeida

Thea Sharrocks’ new production of Nicholas Wright’s Mrs Klein, the play’s first major London revival since its premiere at the National in 1988, will replace the postponed world premiere of Samuel Adamson’s A Quiet Island in the Almeida’s autumn programme (See News, 14 May 2009). The production will run from 29 October to 5 December 2009 (previews from 22 October).

Set in London in 1934, Wright’s play revolves around Melanie Klein, who is one of the most admired, yet controversial, psychoanalysts of her time. Though a supposed expert on childhood, Melanie’s relationship with her own daughter, also a psychoanalyst, is badly damaged. An unexpected message from abroad brings it to bitter confrontation. The news also poses a mystery that even Mrs. Klein, despite her genius for analysis, cannot solve. It’s left to her new assistant, a refugee from Hitler’s Berlin, to find a possible answer.

In1988, Peter Gill directed the premiere production of Mrs Klein at the National with a cast including Francesca Annis, Zoe Wanamaker and, in the title role, Gillian Barge. The 1995 Broadway premiere starred Uta Hagen as Mrs Klein. Casting has not yet been announced for the Almeida revival but is expected shortly.

Nicholas Wright’s other plays, also premiered at the National, include the multi award-winning Vincent in Brixton and, most recently, The Reporter. His adaptations at the NT include Three Sisters, John Gabriel Borkman and the two-part stage version of Philip Pullman’s children’s book trilogy His Dark Materials. For the Almeida, he’s premiered Cressida and adapted Wedekind’s Lulu and Pirandello’s Naked.

Former artistic director of London’s Southwark Playhouse and Gate Theatres, Thea Sharrocks’ other directing credits include Cloud Nine (Almeida), A Voyage Round My Father, Blithe Spirit, Emperor Jones, Heroes and the Whatsonstage.com Award-winning revival of Equus, starring Daniel Radcliffe and Richard Griffiths in the West End and on Broadway. Ahead of Mrs Klein, she’ll helm a new production of As You Like It at Shakespeare’s Globe.

Mrs Klein will be designed by Tim Hatley, with lighting by Neil Austin and sound by Ian Dickinson. Currently at the Almeida, the European premiere of Adamson’s Australian compatriot Andrew Bovell’s climate change epic When the Rain Stops Falling opens this Thursday (21 May 2009, previews from 14 May) and is running until 4 July 2009. Almeida artistic director Michael Attenborough directs.

- by Terri Paddock


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