This is the first time the award-winning actors have appeared together. Hytner’s modern-dress production of Jonson’s Jacobean comedy started previews Sept. 8. The play is set in a merchant’s house where the trio of Face (Beale), Subtle (Jennings) and Doll Common (Lesley Manville) cheat the lovelorn and the greedy with promises of love and limitless gold.
Beale is making a huge contribution to the National’s current season. As The Alchemist opens at the Olivier theatre, Beale continues in the title role of Howard Davies’ production of Brecht’s The Life of Galileo, which runs in repertoire on the same stage.
Just as he did on Broadway, next year Beale will take over from Tim Curry as King Arthur in the London production of Spamalot.
Jennings’ long list of National credits include such diverse roles as George Bush in David Hare’s Stuff Happens and Professor Higgins in My Fair Lady, for which he won an Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical.
Lesley Manville was last seen at the National in Pillars of the Community and His Dark Materials.
Design is by Mark Thompson.
For more on The Alchemist, which is booking until Nov. 21, call (0)20 7452 3000.