West End Rivalry Hots Up

Fiennes and Mirren go into battle


by Willow Green |
Published on

Two of London's hippest theatre venues, the Almeida and the Donmar have pitted themselves against each other this summer, with both announcing big star presences in their casts. The Almeida which has a long history of featuring Hollywood names in star roles was first in announcing a schedule of Shakespeare plays for this summer starring Ralph Fiennes as the title role in Richard II and Coriolanus. Previous hits at the theatre have starred Juliette Binoche, Cate Blanchett and Kevin Spacey. Now the Almeida's rival, the Donmar Warehouse - whose artistic director is Oscar tipped director Sam Mendes - has announced an all-star cast for its production of Tennesse Williams' Orpheus Descending. Helen Mirren and Stuart Townsend are now confirmed in the leading roles. It's a brave move for Mirren - whose last foray on the London stage opposite Alan Rickman was roundly panned. This is the first we've heard from Townsend since he left the set of Lord of the Rings over 'creative differences' earlier this year.

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