Variety reports that Dame Judi Dench will not repeat her role on Broadway, although her co-star, Dame Maggie Smith, will return to The Great White Way, her first appearance here since her Tony-winning turn in 1990's Lettice and Lovage. Robert Fox, who produced the West End engagement of the Hare play, told the industry paper, "Judi wants to be at home and not in New York." Fox also revealed that Eileen Atkins, who co starred with Smith in the West End mounting of A Delicate Balance, is among the actresses being considered for Dench's role.
In a recent interview for Playbill On-Line, playwright Hare — also represented on movie screens with the screenplay for the Academy Award-nominated "The Hours" — spoke about the West End engagement of Breath of Life: "From the first preview, the audience understood they were seeing two fantastic actresses and I don't think there has been an empty seat since."
Directed by Howard Davies, Breath of Life explores the relationship of two women whose lives are linked by a man. During a single, extraordinary night, Madeleine Palmer (Smith), a retired curator, and Angela Beale (Dench), a popular novelist, who have met only once before, spend an evening together in a way that echoes the hidden courses of their lives.
Breath of Life is currently playing London's Theatre Royal. Extended twice, the play will close March 1.