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Francesca Annis joins Joseph Fiennes

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

ACCLAIMED actress Francesca Annis (pictured), will join Joseph Fiennes in the cast of Epitaph for George Dillon when it opens at the Comedy Theatre on September 27, 2005.

She will play Ruth Gray, an attractive divorcee who lives with her sister, Kate Elliot. The role means that she will be seduced on stage by the younger brother of her real-life partner, Ralph Fiennes.

Annis' career has spanned four decades. Her innumerable TV credits include Madame Bovary, Lillie (in which she portrayed Lillie Langtry), I'll Take Manhatten and Reckless. While film work includes Roman Polanski's Macbeth, David Lynch's Dune and the sci-fi classic, Krull.

Her most recent stage appearances were in The Vortex (Donmar Warehouse) and Shoreditch Madonna (Soho Theatre).

Also joining the cast will be Geoffrey Hutchings whose most recent West End appearance was opposite Sir Michael Gambon in Samuel Beckett's Endgame. The ex-Archers cast member also won an Olivier (Comedy Performance of the Year) for his role in the RSC's Poppy.

Previously Posted: A new production of John Osborne and Anthony Creighton's 1957 play Epitaph for George Dillon, will open at the West End's Comedy Theatre on September 27, 2005, with previews from September 20. It will star Joseph Fiennes in the title role.



Epitaph for George Dillon was previously staged at the Comedy Theatre back in the 1950s - after transferring, first from Oxford and then from London's Royal Court Theatre. Later, it went on to New York where it received three Tony Award nominations, including Best Play.

Written before Osborne's groundbreaking Look Back in Anger, Epitaph for George Dillon is set in south London, home to lower middle class family, the Elliots whose unhappy suburban life changes when Kate 'adopts', as a surrogate for her own dead son, the charismatic bohemian George Dillon - a penniless, aspiring actor come writer.

Fiennes was last seen on the London stage two years ago, in Trevor Nunn's farewell National Theatre production of Love's Labour's Lost. He has also appeared in Real Classy Affair, Edward II, The Woman in Black, A View from the Bridge, As You Like It, The Herbal Bed and A Month in the Country.

He is though, probably best-known for his screen successes - Shakespeare in Love, Elizabeth, Enemy at the Gates and The Merchant of Venice.

Epitaph for George Dillon will be directed by Peter Gill who is himself, an accomplished dramatist. His plays include Friendly Fire, Mean Tears, Small Change, Kick for Touch, Original Sin and The York Realist.

He has also directed more than 80 productions, including Days of Wine and Roses, Scenes from the Big Picture and Osborne's Luther.

Actress Pam Ferris was to have starred with Fiennes in Epitaph for George Dillon, but has withdrawn due to other commitments. No further casting has been announced.

Brian Friel's play, The Home Place which stars Tom Courtenay is currently playing at the Comedy Theatre where it's booking until August 25, 2005.


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