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National makes Waves with two new productions

Ben Daniels
Ben Daniels
Emile Zola’s Thérèse Raquin and a multimedia show based on Virginia Woolf’s The Waves are the latest productions to be announced by the National Theatre, which, along with the return of Coram Boy, fill the schedule to the end of the year.

Zola’s play, which he adapted himself from his own 1867 novel, is seen at the National Lyttelton in a version by Nicholas Wright, whose previous work for the National includes Vincent in Brixton, and adaptations of Chekhov’s Three Sisters and Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials. In Zola’s dark thriller, Thérèse is stifled by an oppressive mother-in-law and a sickly husband, which leads her to fall passionately in love with another man, Laurent. The affair leads the lovers to a murderous act of desperation, which then catapults them into a world more claustrophobic than the one they sought to destroy. Marianne Elliott directs a cast which includes Ben Daniels as Laurent. Daniels has previously appeared at the National in Iphigenia At Aulis, Three Sisters and All My Sons, for which he won a 2001 Laurence Olivier Award, as well as The Wild Duck and The God Of Hell at the Donmar. Therese Raquin also features Mark Hadfield – currently in the RSC’s The Canterbury Tales at the Gielgud – Emma Lowndes and Judy Parfitt. It begins performances on 4 November, with a press night on 13 November.

Katie Mitchell, who is directing the current production of Chekhov’s The Seagull starring Juliet Stevenson and Ben Whishaw, is to direct and produce through her own company a multimedia production entitled Waves, ‘suggested by’ Woolf’s 1931 experimental work The Waves, a fragmented and dreamlike tale of friendship, loss, identity and love. The cast includes Kate Duchêne, Anastasia Hille and Liz Kettle. The production previews in the National Cottesloe from 8 November (press night 16 November).

The two new productions are joined by Melly Still’s production of Coram Boy, adapted by Helen Edmundson from Jamila Gavin’s children’s book, which returns to the National Olivier from 29 November, after a successful run at the end of last year. Set in Gloucester and London, Coram Boy is the story of two orphans at the Coram Hospital for Deserted Children in 18th century England.

CB

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