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Spacey Directs Complicit & Corr Dances at Old Vic

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The Old Vic has announced two new productions for early 2009: the world premiere of a new American play directed by Hollywood actor turned artistic director Kevin Spacey and a revival of Brian Friel’s Olivier Award-winning Dancing at Lughnasa, starring Niamh Cusack and, making her London stage debut, Andrea Corr (pictured), best known as one of the Irish family pop group The Corrs.

Both plays will be staged in-the-round, retaining the transformation effected on the Old Vic’s auditorium for its current resident (See News, 20 May 2008), Matthew Warchus’ revival of Alan Ayckbbourn’s trilogy The Norman Conquests, which continues until 20 December 2008.

After a short Christmas break, Spacey’s production of Joe Sutton’s Complicit opens the new year, running from 22 January to 21 February 2009 (previews from 7 January). An exploration of the current political climate, the play centres on Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ben Kritzer, who finds himself hauled in front of a Supreme Court Special Prosecutor.

Sutton’s previous plays include As It Is in Heaven, The Benefits of Doubt, Black Market and the Pulitzer-nominated Voir Dire. Complicit will mark Spacey’s first directing credit at the Old Vic since he launched his reign there with Cloaca, which opened to poor reviews in September 2004. No casting has yet been announced for the new play, which is designed by The Norman ConquestsRob Howell.

The Old Vic schedule continues, from 5 March to 9 May 2009 (previews from 26 February) with Dancing at Lughnasa. After first being seen at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, the play had its UK premiere at the National in 1990 before transferring on to the West End and Broadway, winning Best Play prizes at the Evening Standard, Laurence Olivier and Tony Awards. This is its first major London production since.

Set in 1930s rural Ireland, Dancing at Lughnasa paints a touching portrait of the loves and losses of the five Mundy sisters. Anna Mackmin directs a cast including Niamh Cusack and Andrea Corr as well as Michelle Fairley and Susan Lynch. The production is designed by Lez Brotherston and produced by the Old Vic, Sonia Friedman Productions and Tulchin/Bartner.

Dancing at Lughnasa is followed by, as previously announced (See News, 30 May 2008), director Sam Mendes’ Bridge Project productions of The Winter’s Tale and Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard, performed by an Anglo-American company led by Simon Russell Beale, Sinead Cusack (sister of Dancing at Lughnasa’s Niamh), Rebecca Hall and Hollywood actor Ethan Hawke.

Full Bridge Project dates have now been confirmed. Both plays will now open to the press on 9 June 2008 (previews from 23 May) and will continue in rep until 15 August. Their London dates follow the opening season at New York’s Brooklyn Academy of Music in January and an international tour. Other actors now confirmed for the Bridge company are: Michael Braun, Selina Cadell, Morven Christie, Richard Easton, Josh Hamilton, Paul Jesson, Aaron Krohn, Dakin Matthews, Mark Nelson, Charlotte Parry, Jessica Pollert Smith, Gary Powell, Tobias Segal and Hannah Stokely.

- by Terri Paddock


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