Anna Friel, familiar to Broadway audiences from Closer, will repeat her West End performance in the Almeida Theatre revival of Frank Wedekind's Lulu at Washington, DC's Kennedy Center. The actress and drama will play a month-long engagement at the Center, June 16-July 17. The run marks the Almeida's first trip to the U.S. capital.
Lulu, based on Wedekind's two Lulu Plays in a new version by Nicholas Wright, traces the decline and fall of a young woman possessing a fatal combination of overpowering sexuality and innocence. As she passes through Berlin and Parisian high society to the back-streets of Jack the Ripper's London, she roundly destroys and is ultimately destroyed by her lovers.
Friel, who stars in the title role, famously made her stage debut in 1999 on Broadway, playing the seductive and mysterious waif Alice in Patrick Marber's Closer, for which she won a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress. Her television work includes "Brookside," "GBH," "The Tribe" and "Our Mutual Friend."
The play was the Almeida's first in its new London performance space —a disused coach depot at King's Cross—where it resided while its home venue in Islington, North London, was being refurbished. Lulu opened on the West End on March 8 and continued until May 12.
Alan Howard, who will play Schoning in D.C., is a stage veteran whose work includes The Play About the Baby (Almeida); The Heiress, Flight and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (National); Coriolanus, Richard II and Good (RSC); and King Lear and Waiting for Godot (for Peter Hall at the Old Vic). Friel and Howard are joined in the cast by Samia Akudo, James Faulkner, Tom Georgeson, James Hillier, Leon Lissek, Anna Maguire, Oliver Milburn, Sid Mitchell, Francesca Murray-Fuentes, Marella Oppenheim, Jason Pitt, Imogen Slaughter, Johanna ter Steege, Peter Sullivan, Roger Swaine and Andrew Ufondu.
Lulu is directed by the Almeida's joint artistic director, Jonathan Kent, and designed by Rob Howell, with lighting by Mark Henderson, music by Jonathan Dove and sound by John A Leonard.
—By Robert Simonson
and Terri Paddock