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Ring Around The Moon at The Playhouse Theatre

30/01/2008, By

Reader Rating: 2.8 from 2431 votes

Angela Thorne

A new production of Jean Anouilh's Award-winning comedy Ring Around The Moon, adapted by Christopher Fry, will open in the West End at the Playhouse Theatre on 5th February. Directed by Sean Mathias, the play will star JJ Feild, Belinda Lang, Angela Thorne, Fiona Button and Elisabeth Dermot Walsh, who will head a cast also featuring Emily Bruni, Joanna David, Peter Eyre, Andrew Havill and John Ramm.

Ring Around The Moon is an enchanting comedy of mistaken identity, manners and mannerisms and affairs of the heart. Witty, charming and madcap, the play is set at a glamorous society dance in 1950s France and played out under the dazzling lights of a winter garden. Identical twins Hugo and Frederic could not be more different; Hugo appears heartless and aloof whilst his brother is thoughtful and diffident. As Hugo prepares an evening of charades and façade at the Spring Ball, he little expects to be outplayed by his wily Aunt, who resolves his games with unexpectedly happy results.

Jean Anouilh wrote L’Invitation Au Château in 1947 and it was first produced at the Theatre de l’Atelier in Paris, France. The play was later translated into English by playwright Christopher Fry who was commissioned by Peter Brook for his famous production at the Globe Theatre, which starred Paul Schofield, Claire Bloom and Margaret Rutherford. Fry’s adaptation, Ring Round The Moon, premiered in London in 1962. The last West End production played from 1967-68 at the Theatre Royal Haymarket starring John Standing as the twins and Angela Thorne as ‘Diana’. Other notable productions of the play include on Broadway with Denholm Elliot and Stella Andrew in 1950 and a later one with Toby Stephens in 1999.

Jean Anouilh is well-known for his plays which mix reality with illusion. His work includes Antigone, Beckett, for which he received the 1961 Tony Award for Best Play, Time Remembered and The Waltz of the Toreadors, both of which received a Tony Award nomination for Best Play in 1958 and 1957. Christopher Fry’s most notable works are A Phoenix Too Frequent Observed, Thor With Angels, The Lady’s Not for Burning, Venus Observed and The Dark is Light Enough.

JJ Feild makes his West End debut as ‘Hugo/Frederic’. He most recently appeared as ‘Henry Tilney’ in ITV’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey and has three films released in 2008 – O Jerusalem with Ian Holm, Goal 3 and Nick Moran’s Telstar with Kevin Spacey and Pam Ferris. The cast of Ring Around The Moon is Emily Bruni as ‘Lady India’, Fiona Button as ‘Isabelle’, Joanna David as ‘Capulet’, Elisabeth Dermot Walsh as ‘Diana’, Peter Eyre as ‘Joshua’, JJ Feild as ‘Hugo/Frederic’, Andrew Havill as ‘Patrice’, Belinda Lang as ‘Mother’, John Ramm as ‘Romainville’ and Angela Thorne as ‘Madame Desmortes’.

The play is directed by Sean Mathias. Mathias has worked variously at the National Theatre and in the West End (UK), the Kennedy Centre, The Mark Taper Forum, Off-Broadway and several times on Broadway. His London credits include Bent, A Little Night Music and Uncle Vanya at the National Theatre and Suddenly Last Summer, Aladdin, Marlene and Dance of Death (which also transferred to Broadway). Sean has won an Edinburgh Festival Fringe First Award, a Critics Circle Award and an Evening Standard Award. His productions have been nominated for 22 Olivier and 14 Tony awards. He has written a number of plays including the award winning A Prayer for Wings and the screenplay for the award winning BBC film The Lost Language of Cranes.

Ring Around The Moon is designed by Colin Richmond with lighting designed by Mark Henderson, sound designed by Gregory Clarke and original music composed by Jason Carr. The play is produced in the West End by Karl Sydow and Act Productions.

Playhouse Theatre
Northumberland Avenue
London WC2N 5DE
Box Office: +44 (0)870 060 6631
Monday to Saturday at 7.30pm
Wednesday and Saturday Matinees at 2.30pm
Tickets priced between £16.00 and £46.00 (includes £1 Restoration Levy).

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