Julia McKenzie is to appear in The Royal Family, one of the autumn's most eagerly awaited West End openings, joining a cast which includes Dame Judi Dench, Peter Bowles, Harriet Walter and Toby Stephens.
McKenzie's most recent appearances in the West End were in Kafka's Dick at the Piccadilly in 1999, Communicating Doors at the Gielgud in 1996 and Into the Woods at the Phoenix in 1990.
The Royal Family, by George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber, is based on the American theatre dynasty the Barrymores, and has as its central figure a matriarch, played in this production by Dame Judi Dench. Dame Judi's most recent West End appearance was in the title role of Filumena, directed by Sir Peter Hall at the Piccadilly Theatre in 1999, the same year that she was awarded a Tony for her performance on Broadway in David Hare's Amy's View.
Sir Peter Hall, who will direct the play, directed the ten-hour epic Tantalus, which played to packed houses at The Barbican as part of the BITE 01 festival, having successfully premiered in Denver, USA. He also directed Simon Gray's Japes, at The Haymarket earlier this year.
Bowles made his last performance at the same theatre playing Beau Brummel in Ron Hutchinson's The Beau in June. Toby Stephens will also be returning to the same stage as his last West End appearance, which was in Simon Gray's Japes, which closed in April. Harriet Walter was seen most recently in an Olivier-nominated performance in the National Theatre production of Yasmina Reza's Life x 3 at the Old Vic. Performances of The Royal Family commence Oct. 24 at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket and booking is now open.
— by Paul Webb Theatrenow