Thea Sharrock will direct Clare Higgins in the title role of Mrs Klein in the first London revival of Nicholas Wright's play. Mrs Klein previews at The Almeida Theatre from 22 October 2009 with press night on 29 October 2009 and will run until 5 December 2009. Joining Clare Higgins are Nicola Walker as Paula and Kate Ashfield as Melitta. Designs are by Tim Hatley with lighting by Neil Austin and sound by Ian Dickinson.
The show takes place in London, 1934. Melanie Klein is one of the most admired, yet controversial, psycho-analysts of her time, renowned for her unique insight into the secret world of childhood. But her relationship with her psycho-analyst daughter Melitta has been damaged almost beyond repair, and an unexpected message from abroad brings it to bitter confrontation. The news also poses a mystery that even Mrs. Klein, despite her genius for analysis, cannot solve. It is left to her new assistant, a refugee from Hitler’s Berlin, to find a possible answer.
Kate Ashfield’s theatre credits include The Importance of Being Earnest for the Royal Exchange, Peaches, Blasted and Shopping and Fucking for the Royal Court, The Positive Hour for Hampstead Theatre and Closer at the Lyric Theatre. Her television credits include The Diary of Anne Frank, Talk to Me, Tsunami and Crime and Punishment as well as This Little Life for which she won the RTS Best Actor Award. Her film credits include The Kid, The Lowdown, Princess Caraboo and Late Night Shopping for which she won the British Independent Film Award for Best Actress.
Multi award-winning actor Clare Higgins will make her Almeida debut as Mrs Klein. She is currently playing the Countess de Rossillion in All’s Well That Ends Well at the National Theatre where her previous credits include Nicholas Wright’s Vincent in Brixton as well as Oedipus, The Secret Rapture, Children’s Hour, Sweet Bird of Youth, Absence of War, Napoli Millionaria and King Lear. Her many other theatre credits include The Fever at the Royal Court, Death of a Salesman and Night of the Iguana, both at the Lyric Theatre, Hecuba and Phaedra for the Donmar Warehouse, Ride Down Mount Morgan at Wyndham’s Theatre and Heartbreak House for Chichester Festival Theatre. Her television credits include Minder, Midsomer Murders, Being Human, Murder in Suburbia, Casanova and Kavanagh QC. On film her credits include Spring 1941, Caught in the Act, The Libertine, Stage Beauty, House of Mirth and Small Faces.
Nicola Walker was last at the Almeida in Thea Sharrock’s production of Cloud Nine. Her other theatre credits include Gethsemane for the National Theatre, Relocated, Fresh Kills, The Libertine, Man of Mode and Hated Nightfall all for the Royal Court, Tales from Vienna Woods, Edmond and Free for the National Theatre, The Dead Eye Boy for Hampstead Theatre and A Lie in the Mind and Passion Play for the Donmar Warehouse. Her television credits include Spooks, Oliver Twist, People Like Us, Red Cap, Moll Flanders and Milner. Her film work includes Shooting Dogs, Thunderbirds, Shiner and Four Weddings and a Funeral.
In 1988 Peter Gill directed Mrs Klein for the National Theatre. The cast comprised Gillian Barge, who played the title role, Francesca Annis and Zoe Wanamaker. The production subsequently transferred to the West End. In 1995 Mrs Klein opened on Broadway, directed by William Carden, with Uta Hagan in the title role. This will be the first revival of the play in London.
As well as Mrs Klein, Nicholas Wright's other plays include Cressida for the Almeida at the Albery and The Reporter and Vincent in Brixton for the National Theatre. His many adaptations include Wedekind's Lulu for the Almeida at King's Cross, Pirandello's Naked for the Almeida in the West End and Ibsen's John Gabriel Borkman, Chekhov’s Three Sisters and Pirandello's Six Characters in Search of an Author, all for the National Theatre. Wright’s adaptation of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials premiered at the National Theatre in 2003. He and Richard Eyre collaborated on the book Changing Stages, a personal view of the British theatre in the twentieth century, upon which Eyre's BBC TV series was based.
Thea Sharrock previously directed Cloud Nine for The Almeida Theatre. Her production of As You Like It is currently playing at The Globe Theatre. Previously her credits include Equus at the Gielgud Theatre and on Broadway, A Voyage Round My Father which transferred from the Donmar Warehouse to Wyndham's Theatre where she also directed Heroes. For the National Theatre her credits include Emperor Jones and Happy Now? For Bath Theatre Royal she has directed Private Lives, Don Juan, Blithe Spirit and Betrayal, as well as The Deep Blue Sea and The Fight for Barbara, both for the Peter Hall Season. Thea Sharrock was previously Artistic Director of Southwark Playhouse and The Gate Theatre.
Regular performances are Monday - Saturday at 7:30 pm, Saturday matinees at 3 pm, Press Nights at 7 pm. Extra midweek matinees for Mrs Klein are on 18 and 25 November at 2.30pm. Tickets are £32.00 - £8.00 and can be purchased by calling 020 7359 4404, online at www.almeida.co.uk or in person at the box office Monday - Saturday from 10 am to 7:30 pm.
The Almeida Theatre is located on Almeida Street, Islington, London, N1 1TA.
Photo credit: Bridget Jones
Kate Ashfield and Nicola Walker