Friel's Afterplay—with John Hurt—Begins London Perfs. Sept. 19

News   Friel's Afterplay—with John Hurt—Begins London Perfs. Sept. 19

Any appearance on stage by John Hurt is a major West End event, and the pairing of Hurt with Penelope Wilton, an actress who excels at emotionally battered upper-middle class women (as Hester in Rattigan's Deep Blue Sea, for example), in a Brian Friel play (Afterplay) based on two of Chekhov's characters, set 20 years after we last saw them, makes this a must-see production.

It also rounds off a wonderful week for Chekhov fans, with Ivanov opening at the National Sept. 16, Uncle Vanya at the Donmar Sept. 17, and now Afterplay on Sept. 19.

In a rare interview (with Time Out), Penelope Wilton stressed that though she and John Hurt are playing characters that came to life in Chekhov's plays, their later selves are creations of Friel, and the rhythm and the style of the language is entirely his, rather than Chekhov's.

—By Paul Webb http://www.theatrenow.com/">Theatrenow