Branagh, who throughout his career has evenly divided his time between film and the stage, plays the title character in the drama, which is one of Mamet's more freqently-produced works. Edmond is a middle-aged, burnt-out businessman. He begins the play by candidly telling his wife that their life together is dead and he intends to leave immediately and begin a more engaged existence. From there, Mamet sends him out into a nightmarish world of underground New York City, a landscape filled with hookers, pimps and like characters. The plot's tortured protagonist and fragmented plot bear a resemblance to Büchner's classic of anti-social descent, Woyzeck. Also in the cast are Jude Akuwudike, Nonso Anozie, Andrew Dolan, Elli Garnett, Stephen Greif, Tony Haygarth, Robert Horwell, Rebecca Johnson, David Kennedy, Adam Levy, Tom Marshall, Carol Macready, Iain Mitchell, Joseph Mydell, Tracy-Ann Oberman, Nicola Stephenson, Harry Towb, Nicola Walker, Andrew Westfield.
Branagh's many credits include Another Country, Romeo and Juliet, King Lear, Hamlet, Much Ado About Nothing and Look Back in Anger. He founded the Renaissance Theatre Company. He has brought many Shakespeare plays to the screen, including "Henry V" and "Hamlet."
Branagh recently directed the West End and Broadway mountings of The Play What I Wrote.
Edmond is the latest offering of Nicholas Hytner's first season as the new artistic director of the National. So far, Hytner has struck gold with Jerry Springer—the Opera, which is tranferring to the West End, and revivals of Tom Stoppard's Jumpers and the The Front Page-derived comedy His Girl Friday.