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The Sea - Theatre Royal Haymarket

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

THE SECOND production in the Theatre Royal Haymarket Company’s first season under the direction of Jonathan Kent, is Edward Bond’s black comedy The Sea, which runs from January 23 (previews from January 17) to April 19, 2008.

A wild storm shakes a small East Anglian seaside village and sets off a series of events that changes the lives of all its residents. Set in the high Edwardian world of 1907, The Sea is a fascinating blend of wild farce, high comedy, biting social satire and bleak poetic tragedy.

Kent will direct a cast that includes Eileen Atkins (Mrs Rafi), David Haig (Hatch) and Marcia Warren (Jessica Tilehouse).

Atkins theatre credits include The Birthday Party (Duchess Theatre); A Delicate Balance (Haymarket); Vita and Virginia, her own play which premiered at the Chichester Festival Theatre before transferring to the West End; and John Patrick Shanley’s award-winning Doubt in which she played Sister Aloysius (Broadway).

She has also worked extensively for the National Theatre (most recently in Honour) and the Royal Shakespeare Company. Her last London appearance was in Michael Attenborough’s critically acclaimed production of Frank McGuinness’s There Came a Gypsy Riding at the Almeida.

Her screen credits include Wolf, Vanity Fair, Ask The Dust, Cold Mountain, The Hours, Jack and Sarah and Gosford Park (film); and Cold Comfort Farm, The Maitlands and Bertie and Elizabeth (TV).

The Sea received its world premiere at the Royal Court Theatre in 1973 when it was directed by William Gaskill and starred Corale Brown and Ian Holm. Bond’s other plays include the award-winning Saved, Early Morning, Bingo, The Fool, The Pope’s Wedding and Lear, which was revived in 2005 at Sheffield Theatres where Kent directed Ian McDiarmid.

Bond’s screenplays include Tony Richardson’s Laughter in the Dark and Nicolas Roeg’s Walkabout. He also collaborated on the English dialogue for Michaelangelo’s Blow-Up and co-authored Days of Fury which was directed by Antonio Calenda.

The Sea has designs by Paul Brown, lighting by Mark Henderson and sound by Paul Groothuis.

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