Hytner's Dark Materials Stumbles at National, Delays Start

News   Hytner's Dark Materials Stumbles at National, Delays Start Nick Hytner's big two-part epic, His Dark Materials, has hit technical difficulties. Based on the best-selling book trilogy by Philip Pullman, the story spans many universes and calls for flying balloons, witches, demons, magic and even armored bears (don't ask).
Nicholas Hytner
Nicholas Hytner

Only a company as big as Hytner's National Theatre (with an auditorium as spectacular as the Olivier) could dare to put it on. And it has nearly defeated them, it seems. Hytner canceled two previews of Part One last week, and has now moved the first preview of Part Two from Dec.13 to the next night. The Dec. 20 press night has been spirited to Jan. 3.

In a press statement, Hytner said, "When I took this on, I thought it was unstageable. Now I know that we can do it - but we need more time to get this hugely ambitious production right. With hindsight I should have scheduled more time. We have had to cancel the first previews of both parts. I apologize unreservedly to the people we’ve had to turn away. We’re scheduling extra performances to accommodate those people."

The adaptation is by Nichols Wright, with a 30-plus cast including Samuel Barnett, John Carlisle, Niamh Cusack, Timothy Dalton, Patrick Godfrey, Stephen Greif, Patricia Hodge, Tim McMullan and Danny Sapani. Giles Cadle designs the sets, Jon Morrell the costumes, Paule Constable the lighting and Paul Groothuis the sound. Jonathan Dove supplies the music.

For further information call (0)20 7452 3000.

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