The newspaper reports that Leigh will rehearse the still-untitled play for 18 weeks before the September 2005 opening. As is his habit, Leigh will allow the story and characters to emerge organically from the rehearsal process. When Playbill On-Line quizzed NT boss Nicholas Hyter for details of the play at a press conference last year, Hytner admitted that he didn’t have a clue. “That’s the deal with Mike Leigh,” he confessed – in other words, you give him the space and let him get on with it in his secretive way.
The last appearance of the 61-year-old's work on a London stage was the well-reviewed 2002 revival of Abigail’s Party, which played at the West End’s Whitehall Theatre and toured the U.K. His films include “Life Is Sweet,” “Secrets and Lies,”“Topsy-Turvy” and 2004’s “Vera Drake” (for which he won the Golden Lion Award at the Venice Film Festival).
Spiro is well-known to London audiences from turns in Merrily We Roll Along at the Donmar Warehouse (which bagged her an Olivier Award), Bedroom Farce at the Aldwych and Cleo, Camping, Emmanuelle and Dick at the National. Godley’s London appearances include The Importance of Being Earnest (opposite Patricia Routledge) and The Pillowman at the National. Corduner, meanwhile, has plenty of experience of Leigh’s working methods, having appeared for him in “Vera Drake” and as Arthur Sullivan in Topsy-Turvy. His onstage credits include the musicalTitanic on Broadway.