Barry is the author of such gritty and lyrical tales of Irish life such as Boss Grady's Boys, Our Lady of Sligo and, most famously, The Steward of Christendom, which played at the Royal Court in 1995, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 1997. Whistling Psyche takes place from sunset to daybreak in an old waiting room, where two "supposed strangers eager to reach their destinations" sit. Conversation reveals them to be two well known 19th century figures in British medicine. The first is Florence Nightingale, the famous pioneer in the field of nursing and a reformer of hospital sanitation methods. The second, more notorious than famous, is Dr. James Barry, who, after 40 years of service in the British military as a surgeon and medical inspector, was discovered upon death to have been a woman.
Bloom will play Nightingale to Hunter's Barry. Famous since appearing with Charlie Chaplin in "Limelight," Bloom has performed often on the London and New York stages. She is perhaps most renowned for her work in Ibsen, having starred in productions of The Lady From the Sea, Hedda Gabler and A Doll's House. She has also appeared in many Shakespeares, playing Juliet on Broadway. More recently, she starred on Broadway in Electra.
Hunter's work at the Almeida has included Mr. Puntilla and his Man Matti and Dona Rosita.