In a press statement, Edward Hall, artistic director of Hampstead Theatre, commented, "We are delighted to welcome Terry Johnson back to Hampstead this autumn. His longstanding relationship with Hampstead has continued over the last twelve months with his productions of Old Money and Race, and now he will direct his brilliant Hysteria, starring Antony Sher. With new plays at the heart of our programme, we continue our mission to seek out the newest talent and are really excited about Simon Paisley Day's debut play Raving. This intelligent comedy sees the return of Tamzin Outhwaite to our stage and I am very much looking forward to directing it."
Hysteria, which premiered at the Royal Court in 1993, is presented in association with the Theatre Royal, Bath, where Johnson previously directed Sher in the play last year. It will begin performances Sept. 5, prior to an official opening Sept. 12, for a run through Oct. 12. Sher plays Sigmund Freud, who in 1938 fled Nazi-occupied Austria and settled in leafy Swiss Cottage, where Hampstead Theatre itself is situated. At 82 years old, he aims to spend his final days in peace. Then Salvador Dali turns up and discovers a less than fully dressed woman in the closet, and peace becomes somewhat elusive. According to press materials, Hysteria imagines the fall-out when two of the twentieth century’s most brilliant and original minds collide.
Sher was most recently seen on the London stage in The Captain of Kopenick and Travelling Light, both at the National Theatre. He has previously appeared at Hampstead Theatre in Primo (first also seen at the National), and his own play The Giant was premiered there in 2007. Johnson's other work as a director includes The Graduate and La Cage aux Folles, both of which also transferred to Broadway. Full casting is still to be announced.
Raving, which begins performances Oct. 17 prior to an official opening Oct. 24 for a run through Nov. 23, is described as a study of modern parenting and matrimonial tribulations. In the play, Briony and Keith are not finding parenthood easy so their friends, the delightful Ross and Rosy, engineer a relaxing weekend away in Wales: intelligent adult company, good food and drink, complete rest – and absolutely no children. But they make up the numbers by inviting the unpredictable Charles and Serena. Add an uninvited anarchic adolescent and fanatical farmer and Briony and Keith's idyllic weekend erupts into total chaos.
Outhwaite was last seen at Hampstead Theatre in Di and Viv and Rose, and other recent West End credits include Sweet Charity (transferred from the Menier Chocolate Factory) and Boeing Boeing. Full casting is still to be announced. To book tickets, contact the box office on 020 7722 9301, or visit www.hampsteadtheatre.com for more details.