The Olivier Theatre’s Travelex £10 season concludes with Edgar’s new play, Playing With Fire. The show examines the ideological and practical splits between the Labour Party’s new and old guards, as a northern town is in dire need of recovery. Michael Attenborough, artistic director of the Almeida, directs with Mark Henderson on board as lighting designer. Previews begin on Sept. 12, with opening night on Sept. 21. Edgar’s previous plays include Albert Speer, The Shape of the Table and Entertaining Strangers all at the National; Pentecost, Continental Divide and, most famously, the Royal Shakespeare Company’s two-play The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby.
In the Lyttleton, Tom Cairns will direct and design Friel’s Aristocrats, in which a family reunited in a crumbling old house reinvent wild stories of the home’s prime. The cast includes Dervla Kirwan, Peter McDonald, Gina McKee and Andrew Scott. Cairns is known as much as a director of opera as of plays — and in 2004 directed the much-admired world premiere production of Thomas Ades’ The Tempest at Covent Garden. Charles Quiggan will be associate designer, with Bruno Poet supplying the lighting. Previews start July 2, with opening night on July 12.
Steven Knight, best known for his screenplay to the 2002 film “Dirty Pretty Things,” supplies his first play, which will open in the Cottesloe on June 28 (previews begin June 17). Set in a Cuban cigar factory, an outburst of democracy leads to Flamenco dancing, arguments, sex and voodoo. Howard Davies directs, with designs by Bunny Christie, lighting by Mark Henderson and music by Paddy Cunneen. The cast includes Georgina Ackerman, Jim Carter, Nona Dumezweni, Paul Hilton, Fraser James, Inika Leigh Wright, Petra Letang, Stephen Moore, Lucian Msamati, Anthony O’Donnell and Tracey Saunders.
More casting details have been released for some previously announced shows. The UN Inspector by David Farr (opening June 16 in the Olivier) will star Michael Sheen and Kenneth Cranham. The cast will also include Mark Arends, Geoffrey Beevers, Elizabeth Bell, Kate Best, Sam Cox, Michelle Dockery, Nick Fletcher, Michael Gould, Daisy Haggard, Geraldine James, Mark Leadbetter, Penelope McGhie, Jonathan McGuinness, David Ryall, Justin Salinger, Nicolas Tennant and Tony Turner.
The full cast for Theatre of Blood (opening in the Lyttleton May 19) includes Gerard Bell, Paul Bentall, Bette Bourne, Jim Broadbent, Hayley Carmichael, Sally Dexter, Stephen Harper, Nick Haverson, Mark Lockyer, Tim McMullan, Rachael Spence, Steve Steen, Rachael Stirling, Victoria Willing and Edward Woodall. And, Simon Stephens’ new play On the Shore of the Wide World, starting in Manchester and due to reach the Cottseloe on May 26, will feature Siobhan Finneran, Nicholas Gleaves, David Hargreaves, Susannah Harker, Carla Henry, Roger Morlidge, Thomas Morrison, Eileen O’Brien, Matt Smith and Steven Webb. NT Platforms usually begin at 6 PM and run for 45 minutes. Upcoming Platform speakers include David Farr (July 7), Michael Gambon (July 14), Sheila Hancock (July 20), Gwynne Edwards (July 27), Steven Knight (Aug. 11), Prunella Scales and Timothy West (Sept. 26), David Edgar, as part of a panel discussion on the themes of Playing with Fire (Sept. 29), Alan Bennett (Oct. 3), David Hare (Oct. 4) and Stephen Unwin (Oct. 21).