Old Times opens at the Covent Garden venue on July 7, directed by Roger Michell.
Major productions of Old Times tend to attract big names: The last major London production (at the Wyndhams Theatre in 1995) featured Julie Christie as the enigmatic Kate and Harriet Walter and Leigh Lawson as her two mutually antagonistic admirers. The Broadway premiere featured Rosemary Harris, Robert Shaw and Mary Ure, and other stagings have starred Michael Gambon and Anthony Hopkins. Michell’s staging features Jeremy Northam.
Now more widely known as a movie star, Northam first came to prominence on the London stage in 1989. It was that year’s performance as Edward Voysey in the National Theatre production of The Voysey Inheritance that won him the Olivier Award for outstanding newcomer. But it was far from the only drama to involve him at the National that year. He was playing Osric in Hamlet when the show’s star, Daniel Day-Lewis, pulled out and Northam was called upon to replace him. The 42-year-old’s career has since focused on the cinema, with attention-grabbing turns in 2001’s “Enigma” and “Gosford Park”; 2004 will see the release of his latest screener, the golf flick “Bobby Jones, Stroke of Genius” in which he plays opposite Jim Caviezel.
The Donmar’s Old Times began previews July 1. Alongside Northam’s Deeley, Gina McKee and Helen McCrory co-star. William Dudley has designed the sets, with lighting by Rick Fisher.
The play will be followed in September 2004 by Euripides’s Hecuba, starring Clare Higgins. A new version of the play will be supplied by Frank McGuinness, and Jonathan Kent will direct. Rarely performed, there will be two British productions of Hecuba in quick succession, as the Royal Shakespeare Company has also scheduled a staging with Vanessa Redgrave. For more information on the Donmar shows, call (0)870 060 6624, or visit www.donmarwarehouse.com.