Helen Baxendale, James Dreyfus, Aiden Gillett, Emma Cunliffe and Vicki Pepperdine will appear in Anthony Clark's production of the comedy, which is described in press materials as "a darkly comic satire." It is designed by Patrick Connellan, with lighting by Tim Mitchell and sound by Gregory Clarke.
In the play, journalist Lara (Baxendale) and her ex-MP and crime writer husband Richard (Gillett) are happy and successful. Having moved to a fashionable "gated community" they invite their old neighbors Caitlin (Cunniffe) and Joe (Dreyfus) to dinner. When the security system fails an uninvited guest (Pepperdine) descends and the dinner party takes quite a different turn.
Baxendale was last seen onstage in Swimming with Sharks at the West End's Vaudeville Theatre, opposite Christian Slater, in 2007. She has previously appeared at Hampstead Theatre in Morning and Evening and Bearing Fruit. She is best known for her TV roles in "Cold Feet," "Cardiac Arrest" and "Friends."
Dreyfus was last seen on the London stage in the Menier Chocolate Factory's production of The Common Pursuit in 2008. He has also appeared in the West End in the original London cast of The Producers (playing Carmen Ghia at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in 2004) and Cabaret (playing the Emcee in Rufus Norris' production at the Lyric Theatre in 2006) and at the National Theatre in Lady in the Dark (for which he won the 1998 Olivier Award for Best Supporting Peformance in a Musical). He is best known for his TV and film roles in "The Thin Blue Line," "Gimme Gimme Gimme" and "Notting Hill."
Gillett took over the role of Mr. Banks in the West End production of Mary Poppins; other theatre credits include productions of Much Ado About Nothing, Blithe Spirit and Betrayal at the Theatre Royal, Bath, and Noises Off at the National Theatre. He is well known for playing Jack Maddox in "The House of Eliott" (BBC), Robin Hood in "Ivanhoe" (BBC) and his role in the film "The Borrowers." Cunniffe was previously seen at Hampstad in The Glass Room and Losing Louis (which subsequently transferred to the West End's Trafalgar Studios). On TV she has been seen in "The Lakes," "Great Expectations," "All the King's Men," "Clocking Off" and "Flesh and Blood" with Christopher Eccleston (BBC).
Pepperdine has appeared in numerous British TV comedy series, including "Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps," "My Family," "I'm Alan Partridge," "Rhona Show" and "The Fast Show III." Her stage credits include The Day After Tomorrow (National Theatre), A Small Family Business (Chichester Festival Theatre) and The Winter's Tale (Theatre de Complicite).
Playwright April De Angelis's previous work includes Catch, Hush and Wild East for the Royal Court, A Warwickshire Testimony for RSC and A Laughing Matter for Out of Joint. The Positive Hour premiered at Hampstead Theatre in 1997.
Director Anthony Clark has been artistic director of Hampstead Theatre since 2003, where his directing credits have included My Best Friend, Tender, The Maths Tutor, Revelations, When the Night Begins, Osama the Hero, A Single Act, Nathan the Wise, The Schuman Plan, The Glass Room, Taking Care of Baby, Life After Scandal, Turandot and Lucky Seven).
Amongst Friends is presented as part of Hampstead Theatre's 50th anniversary season, which will continue with a new production of Frank McGuinness' Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme — which originally premiered at the venue in 1986 — beginning performances June 18 for a run to July 18.
To book tickets contact the box office at 020 7722 9301 or visit www.hampsteadtheatre.com.