Donmar's Upcoming West End Seasons to Feature Judi Dench and Penelope Wilton

News   Donmar's Upcoming West End Seasons to Feature Judi Dench and Penelope Wilton Dame Judi Dench will play the Marquis-de-Sade's mother-in-law in the Donmar Warehouse's 2009 West End season. Dench will play one of six women in Madame de Sade, which was penned by the late Japanese writer Yukio Mishima.
Dame Judi Dench
Dame Judi Dench Photo by Aubrey Reuben

The play looks at the (unseen) Marquis from the women's perspective. As previously reported, the production will be directed by Donmar artistic director Michael Grandage and staged in March 2009 at the Wyndam's Theatre, which will host the Donmar's ground-breaking West End residency.

In the meantime Grandage will also revive Peter Gill's Small Change and the late Enid Bagnold's The Chalk Garden at the Donmar's Covent Garden home for the venue's 2008 season.

Gill's play, which premiered at the Royal Court in 1976, will be directed by the author and follows Sean Holmes' production of Arthur Miller's The Man Who Had All the Luck.

Small Change will open on April 15, 2008, following previews from April 10. As production notes state, Gill's play is set on the east side of Cardiff in the 1950s and recalls the friendship between two boys and the relationship with their mothers, and the tragedy of the things that go unsaid and are forever unresolved.

The Donmar's season of revivals continues with Bagnold's The Chalk Garden, which was first staged at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in 1956 in a production directed by John Gielgud and starring Edith Evans and Peggy Ashcroft. This production will star Penelope Wilton, whose Donmar credits include John Gabriel Borkman, The Little Foxes and A Kind of Alaska. Bagnold (1889–1981) is probably best known for her novel "National Velvet," which was adapted into the film starring Elizabeth Taylor.

The play's title is a symbol of the sterile life in store for 16-year-old Laurel, a bright child wallowing in self-dramatization because her widowed mother has remarried. But things begin to change with the sudden appointment of Mrs. Madrigal (Wilton), a governess who brings a mysterious new presence to an already dysfunctional household.

For more on the Donmar's 2008 season, call (0)0870 060 6624 or visit www.donmarwarehouse.com.