Michael Williams is set to star in a new West End production of the one-man play Brief Lives, which begins previews March 18 and opens March 23.
The play, produced by The Theatre of Comedy, is written and directed by Patrick Garland and based on the writings of the 17th-century gossip John Aubrey.
Aubrey, a gentleman and a scholar, was not always genteel -- he spent decades jotting down scandalous stories about popular figures of the day including Sir Walter Raleigh ("[who] had a most remarkable aspect, long-faced, high forehead, sour-lidded, a kind of piggy-eye . . . one time getting one of the Maids of Honor up against a tree in a wood"). Aubrey's stories later were collected in two books, Miscellanies and the posthumously published Brief Lives.
Williams was a leading member of the Royal Shakespeare Company for 14 years. He is rewnowned in the UK for the TV series "A Fine Romance," co-starring his wife, Judi Dench -- who, coincidentally, will find out if she is the winner of a Best Actress Academy Award the same night that Brief Lives opens (although it's still uncertain whether or not producer Robert Fox is canceling the Mar. 23 performance of Dench's West End show, Amy's View, so that she can attend the Oscars ceremony in Hollywood).
For tickets to Brief Lives, call the Duchess Theatre Box Office, 011-44-1-71-494-5075. -- By Rebecca Paller