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Brighton Rock to head new Almeida season



Preview by Jack Foley

NORTH London’s Almeida Theatre has announced its second season with Michael Attenborough as artistic director.

Running from September 2004 to April 2005, the season will include the Almeida’s first-ever musical, in the form of the premiere of John Barry and Don Black’s adaptation of Graham Greene’s Brighton Rock, as well as the world premiere of a new Peter Whelan play.

In addition, Simon Russell Beale will take on Macbeth, Eve Best will appear as Hedda Gabler and there will be a second visit from former National Theatre artistic director, Richard Eyre.

The aforementioned Brighton Rock will open the season, running from October 5 to November 13, 2004,ahead of its anticipated transfer to the West End.

The production is being overseen by co-producer, Bill Kenwright, who has been developing the project for several years.

The musical version is based on Greene's 1938 literary classic (which starred a young Richard Attenborough in film form) and relates the tale of gang warfare, at the English seaside town, where the only witness to Pinkie’s ruthless murder of a man is 16-year-old Catholic, Rose.

The production is to be directed by Michael Attenborough, son of Richard, with music by Oscar-winning film composer, John Barry (of Out of Africa, Goldfinger fame).

It will be followed, from November 24, 2004, to January 8, 2005, by the world premiere of Whelan’s The Earthly Paradise, which centres around poet and designer, William Morris, his wife, Janey, and the pre-Raphaelite painter, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, a close family friend and Janey’s lover, in a country manner in the Summer of 1871.

The production is to be directed by Robert Delamere, who previously delivered A Russian in the Woods (also by Whelan) and whose production of Sebastian Barry’s Whistling Psyche is currently playing at the Almeida.

The new season continues, in 2005, with two classical revivals, including Simon Russell Beale’s return to Shakespearean tragedy, in the title role of Macbeth, which will run from January 20 to March 5, under the direction of John Caird.

It will be followed by Eve Best’s portrayal of Hedda Galber, a new version of Henrik Ibsen’s 1890 Norwegian classic, about a woman whose passions exceed the confines of her bourgeois marriage.

The production will be adapted and directed by Richard Eyre, who was artistic director of the NT, from 1988 to 1997, and whose other recent credits include the multi award-winning Vincent in Brixton, on stage, and Iris, on screen.

It will bring the season to a keenly-anticipated finale, from March 16 to April 30, 2005.

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