Preview by Jack Foley
THE National Theatre has enlisted some heavyweight
talent for its upcoming season, with the likes of Mike Leigh (pictured),
Sir Michael Gambon, Jim Broadbent and former Spooks star, Matthew
McFadyen, all contributing in some way.
Racial tension will also be tackled during the season, as part
of David Edgar’s Playing with Fire, which
opens at the Olivier Theatre in September.
Announcing the new season during the first week of February,
National Theatre director, Nicholas Hytner, said that he hoped
the theatre would be 'as bold as we always have been'.
"I'm absolutely determined that we won't hold back,"
he added, in direct reference to fears that Playing With Fire
might prompt similar scenes to those at Birmingham Repertory
Theatre last year, when a run of the racially-sensitive play,
Behzti - which depicted a murder in a Sikh temple - provoked riots.
Edgar's production is set in a contemporary industrial northern
town run by an Old Labour council and is described by Mr Hytner
as 'very pertinent'.
Of the other works, Mike Leigh is
due to direct at the Cottesloe Theatre in September - although
no further details have been announced.
Leigh's presence on The National's schedule is sure to heighten
interest among theatre-goers given the success of his latest film,
Another certain audience favourite will be the pairing of Sir
Michael Gambon and Matthew McFadyen in a new production of Henry
IV at the Olivier Theatre from April 26.
While Jim Broadbent 's depiction of Edward Lionheart in The
Theatre of Blood, an adaptation of the 1973 horror film,
is sure to be a sell-out when it debuts at the National's Lyttelton
Theatre from May 9.
2005 will also see the return of the Travelex £10
Season, as well as the premiere of The UN Inspector,
which has been freely adapted from Gogol’s Russian satire,
The Government Inspector, by David Farr (at the Olivier
Theatre from June 16).
Other works at The Lyttelton include Tom Cairns' new production
of Irish playwright Brian Friel's play, Aristocrats,
and Katie Mitchell's revival of Martin Crimp's Attempts
on Her Life.
Physical theatre company, DV8, will showcase their latest, Just
for Show, for nine performances, while Nicholas Wright will direct
a new version of Jonathan Kent’s production of Ibsen’s
1881 classic Ghosts.