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Bloom and Hunter head for Whistling Psyche



Preview by Jack Foley

SEBASTIAN Barry’s new play, Whistling Psyche, is to receive its world premiere at London’s Almeida Theatre on May 12, starring Claire Bloom and Kathryn Hunter.

Set on a dark night, in an old waiting room, the play features two supposed strangers, as they become increasingly eager to reach their destinations.

Both share a passion for reform but only one, Florence Nightingale, has been honoured. The other, Dr James Barry, would never receive the same acclaim, though notoriety would come after his death, for a very different reason.

Hunter will play Dr Barry and was last seen in Richard III and The Taming of the Shrew, in the all-female productions at Shakespeare’s Globe last Summer.

Her other stage credits include Complicité’s The Visit (for which she won a Best Actress Olivier), Mother Courage, Electra, The Recruiting Officer, The Devils, The Skriker, King Lear and Scenes from an Execution.

Bloom, meanwhile, takes on the role of Nightingale, having previously appeared at the Almeida in Conversations After a Burial and When We Dead Awaken.

She has also worked in New York, where she appeared in acclaimed productions of A Doll’s House, Hedda Gabler, Vivat! Vivat! Regina! and Hedda Gabler.

Dublin-born Barry’s many plays include The Pentagonal Dream, Boss Grady’s Boys, Prayers of Sherkin, The Stewart of Christendom, Our Lady of Sligo and Hinterland.

Whistling Psyche, which runs until June 19,is directed by Robert Delamere.

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