Follow Us on Twitter

Kathleen Turner and Ian McDiarmid to star in Bakersfield Mist

Preview by Jack Foley

KATHLEEN Turner and Ian McDiarmid will star in new play, Bakersfield Mist, which will open at the Duchess Theatre on May 27, with previews from May 10, 2014.

Inspired by true events, this new play by Stephen Sachs asks vital questions about what makes art and people truly authentic.

The production marks the return to the London stage of multi award-winner and former Hollywood screen siren Turner for the first time since her tour-de-force performance in Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

She will play opposite Olivier and Tony award-winner Ian McDiarmid (Life of Galileo, Faith Healer).

Evening Standard award-winner Polly Teale will direct.

Maude, a 50-something unemployed bartender, has bought a painting for a few bucks from the thrift store. Despite almost trashing it, she now thinks it’s a Jackson Pollock worth millions. In fact, she’s certain it is.

But when world-class art expert, Lionel Percy, flies over from New York and arrives at her trailer park home in Bakersfield to authenticate the painting, he really has no idea what he is about to discover.

Commenting on the appeal of the concept, Turner said: “The shock and humour of diametrically opposed cultures with the transformative power of art – pure joy.”

While McDiarmid added: “I liked the idea and comic potential of two passionately opinionated cultural opposites engaged in a life-changing battle for the soul of a great painter.”

Producer Nica Burns commented: “When we were lucky enough to hear Kathleen Turner and Ian McDiarmid read the play for us, the chemistry between these two great stage actors was thrilling.

“It has been eight years since Kathleen stunned London audiences with her extraordinary award winning performance in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. This is a fantastic role for her return to the London stage.”

Kathleen Turner has garnered much critical acclaim for her starring performances on the big screen in a wide variety of films such as Body Heat (for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe), Romancing The Stone and Prizzi’s Honor (winning a Golden Globe Award for each), Peggy Sue Got Married (which brought Turner both an Academy Award nomination and a Golden Globe nomination), and War of the Roses (which also received another Golden Globe nomination). In 2014 she will star in the eagerly anticipated sequel Dumb and Dumber To, alongside Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels.

Turner’s extensive stage work includes starring roles on Broadway in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (for which she received a Tony nomination) and Indiscretions, as well as The Graduate and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? which both ran on Broadway and the West End (the latter earning her a second Tony nomination).

In 2012 Turner also directed and starred in The Killing of Sister George at the Long Wharf Theater in Connecticut. She has also recently starred as Molly Ivins in Red Hot Patriot: The Kick Ass Wit of Molly Ivins (Philadelphia Theater Center, the Geffen in LA and Arena Stage in DC), as a nun in High (Broadway and US tour) and is currently appearing in the title role in Mother Courage at Arena Stage in DC, which runs until March 9, 2014.

Ian McDiarmid’s previous roles include Faith Healer (Almeida, Dublin’s The Gate and Broadway winning a Tony and UK Critics’ Circle Award and nominations for Broadway’s Critics’ Circle, Drama League and Outer Critics Circle awards for Best Actor), Life of Galileo (RSC), Timon of Athens (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre), Emperor and Galilean (National Theatre) and Henry IV (Donmar).

On film, he is internationally known for playing the role of Darth Sidious/Emperor Palpatine in the Star Wars film series. Other film work includes Sleepy Hollow, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Restoration. In 2014 he will play former Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey in the BBC drama 37 Days, which covers the weeks preceding the First World War, also starring Sinead Cusack and Tim Piggott-Smith.

Polly Teale has created a unique body of work as a writer and director that has won critical and audience acclaim with productions transferring to the West End and touring internationally. An award-winning theatre practitioner, she has been artistic director of Shared Experience since 1995.

She has also authored a number of original plays and stage adaptations, including the trilogy Jane Eyre, Brontë and After Mrs Rochester for which she won the Evening Standard Award for Best Director and the Time Out Award for Best West End Production. Other directing credits include Bracken Moor, Mary Shelley, Speechless (co-writer/director), The Glass Menagerie, Mine (writer/director), Ten Tiny Toes, Kindertransport, Madame Bovary, The Clearing, A Doll’s House, The House of Bernarda Alba, Desire Under the Elms, Babies And Uganda and, as co-director, War and Peace (co-production with National Theatre) and Mill on the Floss. Brontë has been adapted for a major feature film for Film Squared/Pathé.

Stephen Sachs is an award-winning playwright and director, and the co-artistic director of the Fountain Theater in Los Angeles. As playwright, his plays include Heart Song (Los Angeles 2013, Florida Rep 2014), Cyrano (LA Drama Critics Circle Award for Best New Play, Ovation Award nomination), Bakersfield Mist (Critic’s Choice LA Times, 2012 Elliot Norton Award for Best New Play, published by Smith & Kraus in “Best Plays of 2012”), Miss Julie: Freedom Summer (LADCC and LA Weekly Award nominations), Gilgamesh (Theater@Boston Court), Open Window (Pasadena Playhouse, Media Access Award), Central Avenue (PEN USA Literary Award Finalist), Sweet Nothing in my Ear (PEN USA Literary Award Finalist, Media Access Award), Mother’s Day, The Golden Gate (Best Play Award, Dramalogue), and The Baron in the Trees.


Bakersfield Mist
From May 10 to August 30, 2014
Duchess Theatre
3-5 Catherine Street

Booking number: 0844 412 4659

Ticket prices: Opening weeks: £10 Off all prices £15 – £42.50
Main Run: £25.00- £52.50.
14 front row £10 day seats released for sale at the Box Office on day of performance in person at 10am