The play opened at the Vaudeville Theatre on July 16 following previews that began July 10.
Eileen Atkins stars as Margot Mason, a feminist literary giant who is suffering from an extreme case of writer's block as deadline after deadline comes – and goes – on her next book. According to publicity materials, the play follows what happens after a young fan unexpectedly arrives at her country home: "Margot's world slowly and comically begins to unravel as family and friends show up and debate the virtues of her best-sellers, her inconsistent world view, and her decidedly un-motherly touch."
The play was once scheduled to star Annette Bening at Los Angeles' Geffen Playhouse and subsequently on Broadway, but that production was canceled. Now, Roger Michell – who previously directed Atkins in Murray-Smith's Honour at the National's Cottesloe – is reunited with both the playwright and star.
Joining Atkins onstage are Paul Chahidi, Anna Maxwell Martin (also seen in Honour, and the original Sally Bowles in the most recent London revival of Cabaret), Con O'Neill (London and Broadway's Blood Brothers), Sophie Thompson and Sam Kelly. The production features designs by Mark Thompson, lighting by James Whiteside and sound by Matt McKenzie.
The Female of the Species is produced in the West End by David Richenthal and Mary Beth O'Connor, Nica Burns and Max Weitzenhoffer for Nimax Theatres. On Broadway Eileen Atkins has appeared in Doubt, The Killing of Sister George, The Promise, Vivat!, Regina and Indiscretions. Her Off-Broadway credits include A Room of One's Own, for which she received a Drama Desk Award, and Vita and Virginia, which she wrote. She also starred in the London and New York mountings of Yasmina Reza's The Unexpected Man.
Playwright Murray-Smith is also the author of Honour, which played the National Theatre starring Atkins and Corin Redgrave in 2003, and before that had been seen on Broadway in 1998 starring Jane Alexander and Robert Foxworth; Scenes from a Marriage; Bombshells; Ninety; Rapture; Nightfall; Love Child; and Flame and Redemption.
Show times are Tuesday-Saturday at 7:30 PM, with matinees Wednesday and Saturday at 2:30 PM.
The Vaudeville Theatre is located at 404 The Strand in London. For tickets, priced £22.00-£47.50, call 0844 412 4663, or visit www.nimaxtheatres.com. For more information, visit www.thefemaleofthespecies.co.uk.