The play, which enticed Oscar-winner Irons back to the West End after an 18-year absence, was originally scheduled to finish its run May 27. Adapted from Sandor Marai’s novel by Christopher Hampton (The Philanthropist, The Talking Cure), Embers is set during the war in a Hungarian castle where retired general Henrik (Irons) awaits the arrival of his closest friend Konrad (Patrick Malahide). Henrik has not seen his friend since Konrad mysteriously disappeared 41 years previously. The three-hander also features Jean Boht as Henrik’s faithful housekeeper.
Jeremy Irons won a Tony Award for his performance in the original Broadway production of The Real Thing. The English actor also won Academy and Golden Globe awards for his work in the 1990 film "Reversal of Fortune." Irons last appeared on the London stage in The Rover for the Royal Shakespeare Company.
In 1988 Christopher Hampton won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for the screen version of his play Les Liaisons Dangereuses. The Philanthropist was recently revived at London’s Donmar with Simon Russell Beale in the title role.
Embers is directed by Michael Blakemore (Kiss Me, Kate; Three Sisters; Democracy) and is the first West End production to be fully produced by film and television producer Eric Abraham.
Abraham is the show’s third Academy Award winner. In 1996 his movie “Kolya” won an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. The West End’s newest producer told Playbill.com that he intends to produce two London productions a year.
On the opening night of Embers Irons interrupted his curtain call to pay tribute to Abraham, who was instrumental in persuading Irons to return to the London stage.