Joining Robert Lindsay (Henry II) and Joanna Lumley (Eleanor of Aquitane) in Trevor Nunn’s production of James Goldman’s The Lion in Winter are Tom Bateman (Richard), Sonya Cassidy (Alais), Joseph Drake (John), Rory Fleck-Byrne (Philip) and James Norton (Geoffrey). The Lion in Winter, produced by the Theatre Royal Haymarket Company, runs from 5 November 2011 – 28 January 2012, with press night on 15 November 2011. Set and costume designs are by Stephen Brimson Lewis with music by Steven Edis, sound by Paul Groothuis and video design by Ian William Galloway.
A family Christmas becomes a family at war. Henry II, not so young as he was, invites his estranged wife Eleanor of Aquitane, and his three sons, Richard, Geoffrey and John, to spend the festive season with him, his mistress Princess Alais, and her brother, the young King Philip of France. Will Henry name who is to be his successor as King of England? Their yuletide celebration turns into a combat zone of deceit, betrayal, bitter power games and scabrous wit.
Robert Lindsay returns to the Theatre Royal Haymarket where he was last seen playing the title role of Cyrano de Bergerac. Previously he has been seen as Archie Rice in The Entertainer at the Old Vic, he played the title role in Richard III at the Savoy Theatre, Fagin in Oliver! at the Palladium for which he won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical, and Bill Snibson in Me and My Girl for which he won major theatre awards on both sides of the Atlantic. Most recently he played the title role in Onassis at the Novello Theatre. Lindsay played Ben Harper opposite Zoë Wanamaker in the hugely successful BBC television series My Family. His other television credits include The Trial of Tony Blair, Citizen Smith and GBH, for which he won a BAFTA Award for Best Actor. His films include Wimbledon, Divorcing Jack and Remember Me.
Comedienne and actress Joanna Lumley is best known for playing Patsy Stone in the award-winning BBC television series, Absolutely Fabulous. Previously her television appearances included Purdy in The New Avengers as well as major roles in Sapphire and Steel, Jam and Jerusalem and Sensitive Skin. Following a run in the West End, Lumley recently made her Broadway debut in La Bête. Her other screen appearances include Shirley Valentine, Trail of the Pink Panther and Curse of the Pink Panther and she starred opposite Ben Kingsley as Mrs Lovett in The Tale of Sweeney Todd. Author of several best-selling books and a human rights and animal welfare activist, Lumley headed a successful campaign in recognition of the Gurkhas. Lumley was awarded an OBE in 1995.
Tom Bateman made his professional debut as Claudio in Josie Rourke’s production of Much Ado About Nothing which has recently completed its run at the Wyndham’s Theatre. Bateman graduated from LAMDA in summer 2011.
Sonya Cassidy has previously been seen in The Prince of Homburg at the Donmar Warehouse, Brighton Beach Memoirs at the Palace Theatre Watford and Trevor Nunn’s production of Inherit The Wind at the Old Vic. Her television credits include Vera, Midsomer Murders, The Tudors and Lewis.
Joseph Drake’s theatre credits include The Deep Blue Sea and Nijinsky both for the Chichester Festival Theatre, Vernon God Little for the Young Vic and New Earth for Bristol Old Vic. On television his credits include Doctors and Dangerfield.
Having graduated from RADA, Rory Fleck-Byrne joined the cast of the Janet Suzman’s Liverpool Playhouse production of Antony and Cleopatra. His other theatre credits include Bonfires for the Arcola, Cause Célèbre for the Old Vic and Disco Pigs for the Young Vic.
James Norton made his professional West End debut as Stanhope in Journey’s End at the Duke of York’s Theatre. Other theatre credits include That Face at Sheffield Crucible and Posh at the Royal Court.
The Lion in Winter premiered in New York at the Ambassador Theatre in 1966 with a cast lead by Rosemary Harris and Christopher Walken. The Broadway revival in 1999 starred Stockard Channing and Laurence Fishburne and was directed by Michael Mayer. Anthony Harvey directed the 1968 film version starring Katharine Hepburn, Anthony Hopkins and Peter O’Toole. In 2002 a television version was directed by Andrey Konchalovskiy starring Patrick Stewart, Glenn Close, Jonathan Rhys Myers and Ralph Small.
Trevor Nunn was the longest-serving Artistic Director and Chief Executive of the Royal Shakespeare Company (1968 to 1986). During that time he directed most of the Shakespeare canon, as well as Nicholas Nickleby and Les Misérables. He returned to the RSC to direct King Lear and The Seagull. From 1997 to 2003 he was Director of the National Theatre where his 21 productions included award-winning revivals of The Merchant of Venice, Summerfolk and The Cherry Orchard, as well as Oklahoma! and Anything Goes. He has directed the world premieres of Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, The Coast of Utopia and Rock 'n' Roll, and of Cats, Starlight Express, Aspects of Love, Sunset Boulevard and The Woman in White. More recently his theatre credits include A Little Night Music for the Menier Chocolate Factory, in the West End and on Broadway, Cyrano de Bergerac for Chichester Festival Theatre, Inherit the Wind for The Old Vic and Birdsong at the Comedy Theatre.
Trevor Nunn’s opening production as Artistic Director of the Theatre Royal Haymarket Company was Flare Path. This was followed by Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. Nunn’s production of The Tempest starring Ralph Fiennes completes its run on 29 October.
During the run of The Lion in Winter historian, writer and broadcaster Helen Castor will give three pre show talks unravelling the story of Henry II, his formidable wife Eleanor of Aquitane and their unruly sons. The 45 minute pre show talks will take place at 6pm on 14 November and 19 December 2011 and 16 January 2012 at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. Tickets are £10.50.
There will be a Charity Performance of The Lion in Winter on 10 November 2011 with tickets priced between £125 and £350. All proceeds will be donated to the Lord Mayor of Westminster’s three charities - Veterans Aid, Kidscape and the Mayhew Animal Home.