The Trevor Nunn season that showed Flare Path, Rozencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead and currently The Tempest, continues at the Theatre Royal Haymarket with The Lion In Winter. Full casting has now been announced and Robert Lindsay and Joanna Lumley will be joined by Tom Bateman (Richard), Sonya Cassidy (Alais), Joseph Drake (John), Rory Fleck-Byrne (Phillip) and James Norton (Geoffrey).
The production is aptly planned around Christmas: The Lion in Winter tells about aging King Henry II (Lindsay) who invites his estranged wife Eleanor of Aquitane (Lumley) and his three sons Richard, Geoffrey and John for the festive season. He also invites his mistress Princess Alais and her brother the young King Philip of France. Will the English King name his successor? The family Christmas soon turns into a family feud with bitter power games, deceit, betrayal and scabrous wit.
Robert Lindsay is mostly known for the BBC series My Family, has won a Laurence Olivier Award for his role as Fagin in the musical Oliver! and will now return to the Theatre Haymarket after taking on the title role in Cyrano de Bergerac in 1992.
While Joanna Lumley's Patsy in Absolutely Fabulous is television legend, she has also appeared in the New Avengers and Shirley Valentine; Lumley recently made her Broadway debut in La Bete after a West End run.
The Lion in Winter premiered in 1966 in New York, with Christopher Walken and Rosemary Harris in the lead. The 1968 film version starred Katharine Hepburn, Peter O'Toole and Anthony Hopkins.
During the run of the play historian, writer and broadcaster Helen Castor will give three pre-show talks on Henry II, his wife and his sons. The dates for these 45-min talks are 14th of Nov, 19th of Dec 2011 and 16th of Jan 2012.
The Lion in Winter will run from the 5th of Nov til 28 Jan 2012 at the Theatre Royal Haymarket.