Lyric Hammersmith Season Includes Desire Under the Elms and Return of Vesturport's Metamorphosis

News   Lyric Hammersmith Season Includes Desire Under the Elms and Return of Vesturport's Metamorphosis
London's Lyric Hammersmith has announced its fall and winter season, which will include the London premiere of a play by Simon Stephens for young performers, a rare revival of Eugene O'Neill's Desire Under the Elms and the annual Christmas pantomime, plus the return of Metamorphosis, co-produced with Iceland's Vesturport Theatre, that was first seen at Hammersmith in 2006 and again in 2008.

Simon Stephens's Birthday will begin performances Sept. 4 prior to an official opening Sept. 6, for a run through Sept. 22. The Lyric Hammersmith production, directed by artistic director Sean Holmes and featuring a cast drawn from the Lyric Young Company of west Londoners aged 11 to 25, will be seen at the Traverse Theatre first in August as part of the Edinburgh Fringe. According to press materials, Stephens' coming-of-age story depicts that particular moment when children enter adulthood, as Stephanie and her friends stumble towards an uncertain future. The performers and the creative team are working with young musician and DJ Michael Czepiel to create an original soundtrack for the show.

Holmes will next direct O'Neill's Desire Under the Elms, beginning performances Oct. 3 prior to an official opening Oct. 8, for a run through Nov. 10. The production is designed by Ian MacNeil (An Inspector Calls, Billy Elliot), with sound design by Christopher Shutt (War Horse). A tale of lust and redemption inspired by the Ancient Greek myth of Phaedra, it revolves around a dysfunctional family in 1850s America. Having seen his two half-brothers off in search of California gold, Eben Cabot can finally claim rightful ownership of his mother's farm. But when his elderly father returns to take charge with a pretty new wife in tow, Eben struggles to repress the battles between lust, pride and conscience that rage within him.

Cinderella, again directed by Holmes, will begin performances Nov. 24 prior to an official opening Dec. 1, for a run through Jan. 5. Written by Joel Horwood and Morgan Lloyd Malcolm, the cast will include Steven Webb as Buttons (previously seen at the Lyric in the two previous pantomime offerings of Dick Whittington and His Cat and Aladdin) and Julie Atherton as Cinderella (the original West End cast of Avenue Q, amongst others).

The Lyric will simultaneously host the Pins and Needles production of Father Christmas, by Raymond Briggs, beginning performances Nov. 30 prior to an official opening Dec. 7, for a run through Jan. 5. Intended for younger audiences under the age of 6, it revolves around Father Christmas who awakes from a dream of summer sun only to realize that it's Christmas Eve and the start of his longest night of the year.

Metamorphosis, adapted and directed by David Farr from the story by Franz Kafka, begins performances Jan. 17 prior to an official opening Jan. 21, for a run through Feb. 9. Co-produced with Icelandic company Vesturport Theatre, it features an original score by Nick Cave and long time collaborator Warren Ellis, and a split-level set by designer Börkur Jónsson. In the show, Gregor Samsa awakes one morning to discover he has been transformed into a monstrous insect. As initial reactions of revulsion turn to sympathy and then resentment, Gregor's metamorphosis turns the unremarkable life of the Samsa family upside down. To book tickets, contact the box office on 020 8741 6850 or visit for more details.

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