Leading British directors Anthony Page, Richard Eyre and Thea Sharrock will be plying their trade at Kevin Spacey’s Old Vic in a 2010/11 season that includes revivals of Coward, Feydeau and Rattigan.
Page opens the season with Noël Coward’s unconventional romantic comedy Design For Living (3 Sep to 27 Nov). The tale of three egotistical, self-absorbed characters will star Tom Burke (last seen in Creditors at the Donmar Warehouse), Andrew Scott (recently seen playing Paul McCartney in TV drama Lennon Naked) and Cranford’s Lisa Dillon.
Dillon also stars in Feydeau’s A Flea In Her Ear (4 Dec to 5 Mar), which Eyre directs, in a version by John Mortimer. She is joined in the comedy of misunderstandings, jealousy and confrontation by Tom Hollander, who plays the husband that Dillon’s Raymonde suspects of infidelity. A trap designed to prove her suspicions correct results in mistaken identities, bruised egos and comic disaster.
A Flea In Her Ear marks the first time that Eyre, previously Director of the National Theatre, has returned to the Old Vic since he directed Comedians at the Waterloo venue in 1974.
The 2010/11 season is completed by Terence Rattigan’s Cause Célèbre (17 Mar to 11 Jun), staged to celebrate the centenary of the British writer’s birth. His final play is based on the true story of Alma Rattenbury, who was tried with her 18-year-old lover for the murder of her husband. Facing public condemnation more for her relationship with a young boy than for any part she may have played in her husband’s death, Rattenbury’s fate lies in the hands of a socially and sexually repressed forewoman of the jury.
Cause Célèbre is directed by Sharrock, whose recent London credits include Equus, The Misanthrope, A Voyage Round My Father and Rattigan’s After the Dance, which is currently playing at the National Theatre. Sharrock commented: “I am thrilled now to be part of [Rattigan’s] centenary celebrations next year with his last play, Cause Célèbre. And I can't think of a better stage for it than the historic Old Vic, a first for me as well as for him.”
The new season at the Old Vic also includes the theatre’s annual 24 Hour Plays Gala (21 Nov) and Scorched (3 Sep to 2 Oct), a new piece for the Old Vic Tunnels, the theatre’s performance space under Waterloo Station.
Speaking about the new season, Spacey commented: “It’s hard to believe that we are now preparing to open our seventh season at the Old Vic. These are three great plays that all rather brilliantly explore the attitudes of their time and offer wonderful roles to actors. I am delighted to welcome Lisa Dillon, such a compelling and exciting young actress, to our stage in two productions, alongside Tom Burke, whose work I’ve admired since we acted together in the movie Telstar, and Tom Hollander, one of the finest and funniest leading actors of his generation. It is of course a huge thrill to welcome Anthony Page and Richard Eyre, both supremely talented directors, to the Old Vic. We are also delighted to be part of the centenary celebrations for Terence Rattigan and I can’t wait to see Thea Sharrock translate his work to the stage. I would like to thank Bank of America Merrill Lynch for their support and partnership. These are tough times for corporate sponsorship and I applaud them for stepping up and showing their commitment to the arts and culture.”
The Old Vic is currently hosting the Sam Mendes-directed Bridge Project productions of Shakespeare’s As You Like It and The Tempest, which play until 21 August.