The Royal National Theatre's production of Tom Stoppard's The Invention of Love has been confirmed for a West End transfer. The production, currently playing to sell-out audiences in the RNT's Lyttelton Theatre to 25 April, will open at the Theatre Royal Haymarket on 4 November 1998.
The play, directed by former RNT artistic director Sir Richard Eyre, focuses on the private life of A.E. Houseman, poet, classics professor and author of A Shropshire Lad. Stoppard explores the parallels in the lives and loves of Housman, a very private man, and Oscar Wilde, his more flamboyant contemporary.
John Wood, who played the older Housman to Paul Rhys' younger version of the poet, was nominated for a 1998 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor for his performance. Eyre won the Critics' Circle Award for Best Director for his work on this and the RNT production of King Lear, starring Ian Holm (who beat out Wood for the Olivier). It remains to be seen whether the original cast will follow the production to Haymarket.
Invention of Love first opened at the RNT's smaller Cottesloe venue in October 1997 before transferring to the larger Lyttelton. It is the third RNT production to transfer to the West End this year. David Hare's Amy's View, starring Dame Judi Dench, continues to pack the house at the Aldwych where it opened in January. Patrick Marber's generously-awarded Closer opens later this month, 31 March (with previews from 19 March), at the Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue.
The arrival of Invention will mark the second Stoppard play in the West End this season. His 1968 one-act comedy The Real Inspector Hound is set for a revival, along with Peter Shaffer's Black Comedy. The double-bill is scheduled for a three-month run starting 22 April (with previews from 16 April) at the Comedy Theatre. --By Terri Paddock
What's On Stage, London