Joining Joseph Fiennes will be Francesca Annis and Anne Reid. The cast will also include Geoffrey Hutchings, Zoe Tapper, Dorothy Atkinson, Stephen Greif, Hugh Simon and Alex Dunbar. By coincidence, Annis — who recently starred in London stagings of Pirandello’s Henry IV and Rebecca Lenkiewicz’s Shoreditch Madonna and will soon be seen in Guy Ritchie’s film “Revolver” — is the long-standing partner of Fiennes’ brother Ralph.
The show, to be directed by Peter Gill, is scheduled to open at the Comedy Theatre Sept. 27, with previews beginning Sept. 20. It tells of Kate Elliot’s unhappy suburban South London family, and the aspiring actor and penniless writer whom they take in. The newcomer, George Dillon, becomes a surrogate son for Kate, whose own son was killed in the war.
Fiennes, who plays the title role, was most recently seen as Berowne in Trevor Nunn’s National Theatre production of Love’s Labours Lost. A frequent stage performer, his roles have included Marlowe’s Edward II at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre, and Shakespeare’s Troilus for the RSC. He’s best known, however, for his role as Shakespeare himself in the movie “Shakespeare in Love.” Other film credits include “The Merchant of Venice,” “Elizabeth” and “Enemy at the Gate.”
This was one of two plays on which Osborne and Creighton (who died in March 2005) collaborated, the other being Personal Enemy. George Dillon was written before Osborne’s career-making Look Back in Anger but opened a year after, in Oxford in 1957. It then moved to London’s Royal Court with Robert Stephens starring before transferring, coincidentally, to the Comedy Theatre. A New York run soon afterwards bagged three Tony nominations.
Peter Gill has carved a successful dual career as writer and director. The founder of both the Riverside Studios in Hammersmith and the National Theatre Studio, Gill has in recent years directed Romeo and Juliet for the RSC, Scenes from the Big Picture for the NT and Speed the Plough in the West End. His own plays include The York Realist, Certain Young Men and Friendly Fire. Epitaph for George Dillon will be produced by Act Productions, Roger Chapman, Matthew Mitchell and Kim Poster.
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