Preview by Jack Foley
HUSBAND and wife team, Trevor Nunn (director) and Imogen Stubbs
(actress) are to re-team, professionally, for the West End premiere
of Stubbs' play, We Happy Few.
The keenly-anticipated production is due to open at the Gielgud
Theatre, on June 29, with a cast including Juliet Stevenson,
Patsy Palmer and Kate O-Mara.
The play was first seen as part of the Remembrance Day Festival,
at the Malvern Theatre, last Autumn and is inspired by the true
wartime history of The Osiris Players - a small group of women
who formed a troupe, in order to take Shakespeare’s plays
to a culture-starved country, in a bid to improve morale.
The troupe in question was comprised of individuals from varying
social backgrounds, who seemed mis-matched, to say the least.
They travelled around the country, at the height of Hitler’s
bombing campaign, in an old 1920s Rolls Royce.
The production looks set to become another success to add to
Nunn’s impressive CV of work so far.
Until March last year, he was artistic director of The National
Theatre, and has since overseen the transfer of his South Bank
production of Anything Goes to the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.
He has regularly collaborated with
Stubbs (currently to be seen as Gertrude, in Hamlet),
most notably in the National Theatre’s revival of Harold
Pinter’s Betrayal, in 1999, and the 1996 film version of
Twelfth Night, which co-starred Helena Bonham-Carter
and Sir Ben Kingsley.
Stubbs, too, is no West End stranger, having appeared, most recently,
in Mum’s The Word (at The Albery), which, coincidentally,
co-starred former EastEnders star, Patsy Palmer.
Another notable cast member, however, is Juliet Stevenson, whose
appearance marks a rare West End outing.
Despite once being a regular at the RSC, where her roles included
Miss Chasen in Nunn's production of Once In a Lifetime,
she has kept her stage appearances limited.
Highlights of her stage career include being a member of the
original London cast of Death and the Maiden, at the
Royal Court's Theatre Upstairs, and opposite Hollywood star, John
Malkovich, in Burn This.
She has since appeared in blockbuster films, such as Mona
Lisa Smile (alongside Julia Roberts) and Being Julia, with
Annette Bening, as wekk as television's Hear The Silence,
about the MMR vaccine.
The cast is rounded out by Marcia Warren (Humble Boy),
Kate O’Mara (The Marquise),
Caroline Blakiston, Paul Bentley, Adam Davy and Cat Simmons.
We Happy Few will also be notable for reuniting the
creative team of director, Nunn, with designer, John Napier, as
well as lighting designer, David Hersey, who previously united
on productions including Nicholas Nickleby, Cats and
The current show is produced by Bill Kenwright and Thelma Holt.