Briers Will Be Hamm in McBurney's London Endgame

News   Briers Will Be Hamm in McBurney's London Endgame Veteran stage, television and film actor Richard Briers is to reunite with director Simon McBurney to star in a new Complicité production of Samuel Beckett's Endgame, beginning performances at the West End's Duchess Theatre Sept. 18, prior to an official opening Sept. 24.

They previously worked together in 1997 on the Complicité production of Ionesco's The Chairs, seen as part of the Royal Court season at the Duke of York's before transferring to Broadway’s John Golden Theatre in March 1998, where it won that year’s Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play.

In Endgame, Briers will play Hamm, and will be joined by Adrian Scarborough as Clov (from Sept. 18 to Oct. 23, before McBurney takes over for the remainder of the run), and Miriam Margolyes as Nell.

Designs are by Tim Hatley, with costumes by Christina Cunningham, and sound by Christopher Shutt. Complicité's production will be produced in the West End by Nica Burns and Max Weitzenhoffer.

In Beckett's one-act play, the aged and blind Hamm and his servant Clov co-exist in a mutually dependent and fractious relationship, with only Hamm's parents, Nell and Nagg, legless from a biking accident, for company. They are condemned to a daily routine sealed off from the void outside. The play, originally written in French and later translated by the playwright himself into English, was first performed in a French-language production under the title Fin de partie at London's Royal Court Theatre in 1957. It was last seen in the West End in 2004, when Michael Gambon and Lee Evans starred as Hamm and Clov respectively in Matthew Warchus' production at the Albery Theatre (now the Noel Coward).

In a press statement, Briers commented, "I saw Endgame 50 years ago with George Devine in the role of Hamm, and said to my wife that this was a role I wanted to play — she pointed out that I was perhaps a little young for it at the time! I now feel the time has come to have a crack at it, in what will be my last role on the stage, and I couldn’t be in better company." McBurney added, "To travel into Beckett's language is a tempting prospect, for which you need the best traveling companions. I can think of no better than Briers." Briers was last seen on the London stage in the 2002 production of Alan Ayckbourn's Bedroom Farce at the Aldwych Theatre. Other theatre work includes The Tempest (national tour), A Christmas Carol (Lyric Hammersmith) and extensive work for Kenneth Branagh’s Renaissance Theatre Company including productions of Coriolanus, Uncle Vanya, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Twelfth Night. He is best known for his television work, including the classic comedy series "The Good Life" and "Ever Decreasing Circles," as well as roles in "Torchwood," "Kingdom," "Monarch of the Glen," "Dad" and "Victoria and Albert."

Scarborough's many theatre credits at the National include the recent production of Time and the Conways, as well as Once in a Lifetime, Henry IV Part I & II, The Mandate and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.

Margolyes was last seen on the London stage originating the role of Madame Morrible in the London production of Wicked, before reprising the role on Broadway. Other theatre work includes The Importance of Being Earnest (Bath Theatre Royal & U.S. tour), The Killing of Sister George and Dickens' Women (both West End), Blithe Spirit (Melbourne Theatre Company) and Cloud Nine (Joint Stock/Royal Court).

McBurney — actor, writer, director and co-founder of Complicité — has written, directed and acted in over 30 productions for the company, most recently Shun-kin, A Disappearing Number, Measure for Measure, A Minute Too Late, The Elephant Vanishes, Pet Shop Boys meet Eisenstein (Trafalgar Square) and Strange Poetry (with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra in the Walt Disney Concert Hall). In New York, in addition to the Broadway transfer of The Chairs, he has directed the 2008 Broadway production of All My Sons (with John Lithgow, Diane Wiest, Patrick Wilson and Katie Holmes) and the 2002 off-Broadway production of The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (with Al Pacino in the title role). As an actor he performs extensively in feature films.

Samuel Beckett (1906–1989) was an Irish writer, dramatist and poet. He wrote in both English and French, and his other principal works include Krapp's Last Tape, Happy Days and Waiting for Godot. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1969.

The production is currently booking to Dec. 5. To book tickets, contact the box office on 0844 412 4659, or visit www.nimaxtheatres.com