London's Donmar Warehouse Presents World Premiere of Haddon's Polar Bears

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06 Apr 2010

Jodhi May and Richard Coyle star in the Donmar Warehouse's world-premiere production of Mark Haddon's debut play, Polar Bears, which officially opens April 6 (following previews from April 1), for a run through May 22 under the direction of Jamie Lloyd.

According to press materials, the play portrays "one man's struggle to love, support and live with someone suffering from a psychological condition." John (Coyle) has never met anyone like Kay (May). When the moon is in the right phase, she is magnetic and amazingly alive. But when the darkness closes in, she is lost to another world, a world in which John does not belong.

May was last seen on the London stage in the transfer of the premiere production of David Harrower's Blackbird from Edinburgh to the West End's Albery Theatre (now the Noel Coward) in 2006. Other stage credits include starring opposite Ralph Fiennes in Christopher Hampton's The Talking Cure, seen at the National Theatre in 2003. The London-born actress is best known for her film work, which includes "A World Apart" which won her, at the age of 12, a Best Actress Award at the 1988 Cannes Film Festival. She has also been seen in "The Last of the Mohicans," "Sister My Sister," "The Other Boleyn Girl" and "Tipping the Velvet."

Coyle was last seen on the London stage in the double bill of Pinter's The Lover and The Collection that played at the Comedy Theatre, also directed by Lloyd. He has also previously appeared at the Donmar Warehouse in the U.K. premiere of Proof (opposite Gwyneth Paltrow) and Patrick Marber's reworking of Strindberg, After Miss Julie. Other London stage credits include The York Realist (Royal Court, then West End's Strand Theatre, now the Novello) and Don Carlos. On film and TV, his credits include "Coupling," "The Libertine," "Human Traffic," "A Good Year" and "The Whistleblowers."

The cast also includes Paul Hilton, Celia Imrie, David Leon, Skye Bennett and Alice Sykes.



Hilton, who plays Sandy, has previously appeared at the Donmar in Michael Grandage's production of The Wild Duck.

Imrie, who plays Margaret, was last seen on the London stage in The Rivals at Southwark Playhouse.

Leon, who plays Jesus, has appeared onstage in Richard II (Old Vic), Pride and Prejudice (Orange Tree Theatre) and The Dream (Royal Opera House).

Jamie Lloyd directs, with designs by Soutra Gilmour, lighting design by Jon Clark, and sound design by composers Ben and Max Ringham. Lloyd is associate director of the Donmar, where he has directed Piaf and readings as part of the T.S. Eliot Festival and the Tennessee Williams season. He has also re-directed Michael Grandage's Donmar production of Guys and Dolls for Australia and was associate director for the run at the West End's Piccadilly Theatre. Other West End credits include Richard Greenberg's Three Days of Rain at the Apollo Theatre, Pinter's The Lover and The Collection presented in a double-bill at the Comedy Theatre, and the British premiere of Douglas Carter Beane's The Little Dog Laughed at the Garrick Theatre.

Writer Mark Haddon's work as an author includes "A Spot of Bother," "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time" (winner of the Whitbread prize, Guardian children's fiction prize, The British Book Awards – Children's Book of the Year & Literary Fiction Award and Book Trust Teenage Fiction Award), "The Real Porky Philips," "Agent Z" and "Titch Johnson – Almost World Champion." For television, his work includes "Coming Down the Mountain," "Fungus the Bogeyman" (adapted from Raymond Briggs' book, INDIE Award for Best Children's Programme), "1000 Ships," "Hot Cakes" and "Microsoap"(BAFTA, RTS and Broadcast Award for Best Children's Programme, New York TV Festival – Gold Award, and Munich's Prix Jeunesse Award).

To book tickets, contact the box office at 0844 871 7624, or visit www.donmarwarehouse.com.