London's Hampstead Theatre to Transfer Simon Gray Quartet from Downstairs Studio to Mainstage

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27 Mar 2014

Hampstead Theatre, which is currently presenting a quartet of plays by Simon Gray under the umbrella title In the Vale of Health at its downstairs studio through May 17, is to move them to the mainstage, beginning performances May 28 prior to an official opening May 31, for a three-week run in repertory through June 14.



The cycle comprises four plays based on the same characters, in the same situation, but all telling a different story with opposite conclusions. Three of the four plays are world premieres, and five years after Gray’s death are performed alongside a revival of Japes, the play that started it all off.

Peter Hall directed that play's premiere at the West End's Theatre Royal, Haymarket in 2001. In it, the accidental death of their parents when Michael and Jason (Japes) were in their teens made them as close as brothers can be: the family home they inherited remains unchanged, part playground, part shrine. But their lives change forever when Michael falls in love with Anita and so does Japes, and a passionate triangle develops.

According to press materials, watching rehearsals, the playwright realized the characters might have made different choices and arrived at a different outcome, so he set to work on Japes Too. Concerned that he had still only told one side of the story he then set down Michael. But the characters continued to haunt him so he kept writing, and Missing Dates was a further attempt to put them to rest.

The plays are directed by Tamara Harvey, with lighting by Joshua Carr and sound by Matt McKenzie.

The cast comprises Gethin Anthony, Jamie Ballard, Imogen Doel, Tom Mothersdale and Laura Rees. During the nine weeks the plays are performed Downstairs, and as each play is added to form the full quartet, the cast is rehearsing by day and performing by night; the characters developing and changing organically as each new play meets the audience.

To book tickets, contact the box office on 020 7722 9301 or visit www.hampsteadtheatre.com.