Thandie Newton makes her West End debut in Death and the Maiden at the Comedy Theatre

Thandie Newton (Run, Fatboy, Run & Mission Impossible 2) makes her West End debut in Death and the Maiden at the Comedy Theatre from 13th October.

Death and the Maiden is a 1990 play by Chilean playwright Ariel Dorfman. The world premiere was staged at the Royal Court Theatre in London on 9 July 1991, directed by Lindsay Posner. It had one reading and one workshop production prior to its world premiere.

Paulina Salas is a former political prisoner in an unnamed Latin American country who had been raped by her captors, led by a sadistic doctor whose face she never saw. The rapist doctor played Schubert’s composition Death and the Maiden during the act of rape; hence the play’s title.

Years later, after the (also unnamed) repressive regime has fallen, Paulina lives in an isolated country house with her husband, Gerardo Escobar. When Gerardo comes back from a visit to the president, he gets a flat tire. A stranger named Dr. Miranda stops to assist him. Dr. Miranda drives Gerardo home and later in the night he returns. Paulina recognizes Miranda’s voice and mannerism as that of her rapist, and takes him captive in order to put him on trial and extract a confession from him.

Unconvinced of his guilt, Gerardo acts as Roberto Miranda’s lawyer and attempts to save his life. After hearing the full story of her captivity from Paulina, Gerardo formulates a confession with Roberto to appease Paulina’s madness and set her free from her past.

Paulina records the entire confession and has Roberto write it out and sign it. She sends Gerardo out to get Roberto’s car so he can go home. While they are alone for the last time, Paulina accuses Roberto of being unrepentant and guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Sonia Friedman Productions: Betrayal at Comedy Theatre

Ian Rickson’s new production of Harold Pinter’s Betrayal starring Kristin Scott Thomas, Douglas Henshall and Ben Miles and produced by Sonia Friedman Productions.

‘I’ve always rather liked Jerry. To be honest, I’ve always liked him rather more than I’ve liked you. Maybe I should have had an affair with him myself.’

Betrayal is a play written by Harold Pinter in 1978. Critically regarded as one of the English playwright’s major dramatic works, it features his characteristically economical dialogue, characters’ hidden emotions and veiled motivations, and their self-absorbed competitive one-upmanship, face-saving, dishonesty, and (self) deceptions.

The plot of Betrayal exposes different permutations of betrayal and kinds of betrayals occurring over a period of nine years, relating to a seven-year affair involving a married couple, Emma and Robert, and Robert’s “close friend” Jerry, who is also married, to a woman named Judith.

Born in 1930 in East London, playwright, screen writer, director, political activist and actor Harold Pinter wrote thirty-two plays, twenty-two screenplays and directed thirty-six theatre productions. He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005, and was awarded the Companion of Honour in 2002. His many awards include the Laurence Olivier Award and the Moliere D’Honneur for Lifetime Achievement, the European Theatre Award and the Legion d’Honneur.

Book tickets for Betrayal at Comedy Theatre!

Children’s Hour at Comedy Theatre extended until 30 April 2011

West End production of Children’s Hour is Lillian Hellman’s visionary masterpiece about the power of a lie has extended its booking period at the Comedy Theatre until 30 Apr 2011.

Ellen Burstyn and Carol Kane as well as Bryony Hannah and Tobias Menzies are to join the previously announced Keira Knightley and Elisabeth Moss in Ian Rickson’s production of Lillian Hellman’s The Children’s Hour. The Children’s Hour, produced by Sonia Friedman Productions & Scott Landis, will have its first preview at the Comedy Theatre on 22 January 2011 with press night on 9 February and is booking until 2 April 2011.

The cast includes Ellen Burstyn (Amelia Tilford), Nancy Crane (Agatha), Amy Dawson (Rosalie Wells), Isabel Ellison (Catherine), Bryony Hannah (Mary Tilford), Carol Kane (Lily Mortar), Keira Knightley (Karen Wright), Tobias Menzies (Doctor Joseph Cardin) and Elizabeth Moss (Martha Dobie). Final casting will be announced shortly.

When a schoolgirl’s whisper spreads, it triggers a chain of events with extraordinary consequences. Karen Wright (Keira Knightley) and Martha Dobie (Elisabeth Moss) run a girls’ boarding school in 1930s New England, where they become entangled in a devastating story of deceit, shame and courage. Banned in London and several cities across America, The Children’s Hour received its world premiere on Broadway in 1934. Generations on, its potent exploration of a culture of fear remains startlingly relevant.

Academy, Tony and BAFTA award-winning Ellen Burstyn will make her London stage debut in The Children’s Hour. Nominated six times for an Oscar for her roles in The Last Picture Show, The Exorcist, Same Time Next Year, Resurrection and Requiem for a Dream, her many film credits include Martin Scorsese’s Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore for which she won the Best Actress BAFTA as well as the Academy Award. Her more recent film credits include Olivier Stone’s W. in which she played Barbara Bush, Darren Aronofsky’s The Fountain and Neil LaBute’s remake of The Wicker Man. She can be seen on screen in the forthcoming The Mighty Macs and Main Street. Her many US theatre credits include Same Time Next Year for which she won the Tony Award, 84 Charing Cross Road, Shirley Valentine and Long Day’s Journey Into Night, as well as Philip Seymour Hoffman’s production of The Little Flower of East Orange for the Public Theater and LAByrinth Theater Company. Burstyn’s television credits include the title role in The People vs. Jean Harris and Pack of Lies, for both which she was Emmy nominated, That’s Life, The Five People You Meet in Heaven and The Book of Daniel.

Book Tickets for Children’s Hour at Comedy Theatre!

Keira Knightley stars in The Children’s Hour in London

The Children’s Hour is Lillian Hellman’s visionary masterpiece about the power of a lie.

When a schoolgirl’s whisper spreads, it triggers a chain of events with extraordinary consequences. Karen Wright (Keira Knightley) and Martha Dobie (Elisabeth Moss) run a girls’ boarding school in 1930’s New England, where they become entangled in a devastating story of deceit, shame and courage. Banned in London and several cities across America, The Children’s Hour received its world premiere on Broadway in 1934. Generations on, its potent exploration of a culture of fear remains startlingly relevant.

The Children’s Hour at Comedy Theatre from 22 January to 2 April 2011.

Buy Tickets for The Children’s Hour!

Birdsong by Trevor Nunn at Comedy Theatre from 18 September 2010

Based on Sebastian Faulks’s international best-selling novel, the play tells the story of one man’s journey through an all consuming love affair and into the horror of the First World War.

While staying as the guest of a factory owner in pre-First World War France, Stephen Wraysford embarks on a passionate affair with Isabelle, the wife of his host. The affair changes them both for ever. A few years later Stephen finds himself back in the same part of France, but this time as a soldier at the Battle of the Somme, the bloodiest encounter in British military history. As his men die around him, Stephen turns to his enduring love for Isabelle for the strength to continue and to save something for future generations.

For the first time, this beautiful and terrible story about love, courage and the endurance of the human spirit is brought to the stage in a version by Rachel Wagstaff. The world premiere of this production is directed by Trevor Nunn.

Buy Tickets for Birdsong at Comedy Theatre!

La Bete by David Hirson at Comedy Theatre

Hotly anticipated as this year’s must-see production, La Bête is a dazzling, critically-acclaimed comedy by American playwright David Hirson, playing at the Comedy Theatre from 28 June.

Starring the extraordinary and multi-award-winning actor Mark Rylance, “the most exciting stage actor of his generation” (Times), the wonderful Tony and Emmy-Award-winning David Hyde Pierce (best known as Niles in the smash-hit sitcom Frasier), and one of the country’s most loved and popular actresses, the magnificent Joanna Lumley, this new staging is directed by the internationally acclaimed, multi-award-winning Matthew Warchus (God of Carnage, Boeing-Boeing, Art, The Norman Conquests), hailed as the “finest director of comedy we’ve got” (Sunday Telegraph), and plays in the West End until 28 August before transferring directly to Broadway.

La Bête is a comic tour de force about Elomire (Hyde Pierce), a high-minded classical dramatist who loves only the theatre, and Valere (Rylance), a low-brow street clown who loves only himself. When the fickle princess (Lumley) decides she’s grown weary of Elomire’s royal theatre troupe, he and Valere are left fighting for survival as art squares off with ego in a literary showdown for the ages.

Written in 1991 by David Hirson, La Bête was a huge critical success in London in 1992 and won the Olivier Award for Best Comedy. With a stellar cast of exceptional talent and one of the most celebrated directors of our time, this new staging promises to be the unmissable theatrical event of 2010.

Playing for a limited season only, catch this superb, sparkling masterpiece of comedy while you can.

Book Tickets for La Bete at Comedy Theatre!

What is Mrs Warren’s profession?

What is Mrs Warren’s profession? Her daughter Vivie has never really known much about her mother.

A prim young woman, she has enjoyed a comfortable upbringing, a Cambridge education and a generous monthly allowance.

Now she has ambitions to go into Law. Is it conceivable that all this privilege and respectability has been financed from the proceeds of the oldest profession? How will Vivie react when she finds out the awful truth about her mother’s ill-gotten gains?

Shaw’s ulitimate test of a mother-daughter relationship is one of his most witty and provocative plays. Written in 1894 but banned from performance until the racy 1920s, Mrs Warren’s Profession lays bare the rampant hypocrisy of Victorian society and its constrained morals.

Book Tickets for Mrs Warren’s Profession at Comedy Theatre!

Matt Lucas Stars in Prick Up Your Ears

One of the Little Britain stars MATT LUCAS will play Kenneth Halliwell in a new play about the life of playright Joe Orton, which  opens at the Comedy Theatre for a limited run from the 17th September until the  6th December 2009.

1962. Kenneth Halliwell and Joe Orton – RADA graduates, aspiring playwrights, and sometimes lovers – plot their rightful place at the centre of London’s literary scene whilst engaged in a secret crusade to ‘improve’ the local library books, all in the worst possible taste of course, and acting on their own versions of popular radio dramas…with an extra dash of innuendo. But after a short interlude at Her Majesty’s pleasure, Joe is about to become the greatest, and most notorious comic playwright since Oscar Wilde, whilst Ken stays indoors re-decorating, reduced to sharing Joe’s success with their neighbour, Mrs Corden, over tea and a slice of battenburg.

PRICK UP YOUR EARS – a darkly funny and moving play imagines what really happens when, after years of creative collaboration, the door slammed shut and Kenneth was home alone. It tells the sensational story behind the domestic life of Joe Orton and Kenneth Halliwell, holed up in a tiny flat in Islington, trading well-trodden insults and hilarious put-downs like any old married couple.

Book Tickets for Prick Up Your Ears

Too Close To The Sun – Now on Sale!

Too Close To The Sun is a dramatic new musical, making its world premiere this summer.

Author and Nobel Prize-winner Ernest Hemingway, battling the rigours old age, takes solace in the company of his young secretary. His wife, tolerating this liaison so as not to lose him, is unaware that the secretary has a secret agenda – to become wife number five and inherit his estate. The arrival of Rex, an old school friend, adds a further complication, as he tries to secure the film rights to the life of the notorious writer. With bribery, lies and manipulation, Rex plays a dangerous game to achieve his goal, but in this suggested account of events leading to Hemingway’s death, can there be any winners?

Book Tickets for Too Close To The Sun at Comedy Theatre