Lucy Bailey’s Theatre Royal Bath production of Australian playwright Joanna Murray-Smith’s Switzerland will transfer to the West End next month, running for a limited season at the Ambassadors Theatre just ahead of another Murray-Smith play, Songs for Nobodies, transferring from Wilton’s Music Hall. The West End transfers come hot on the heels of Paul Robinson’s star-studded London revival of Murray-Smith’s Honour, starting at the Park Theatre next week.
Switzerland, the award-winning psychological thriller written by Joanna Murray-Smith and directed by Lucy Bailey, will run at the West End’s Ambassadors Theatre from 10 November 2018 to 5 January 2019, with a press night on 19 November. It stars Phyllis Logan (above) as renowned author Patricia Highsmith with Calum Finlay as Edward Ridgeway.
This critically-acclaimed production ran at Theatre Royal Bath’s Ustinov Studio earlier this year and marks the second production from Jonathan Church’s 2018 summer season to confirm a West End transfer.
Switzerland paints a portrait of one of the great writers of the 20th century, Patricia Highsmith, famed for writing The Talented Mr Ripley, Strangers On A Train and The Price of Salt. The play originally premiered in Australia in 2015 where it won Best New Australian Work at the Sydney Theatre Awards.
1995, the Swiss Alps. Patricia Highsmith, the queen of the thriller, now ageing and ailing, hides away in her study, surrounded by her collection of books and antique weaponry, finding solace in her seclusion, her cats and cigarettes. A polished young man turns up, sent by her New York publisher to persuade the great writer to pen one final instalment of her best-selling series featuring the master manipulator, Tom Ripley. But as day breaks over the mountains, it becomes clear that the charming stranger is set on a far more sinister mission.
Murray-Smith’s Songs for Nobodies immediately follows Switzerland at the Ambassadors from 7 January to 23 February. Starring Bernadette Robinson and directed by Simon Phillips, it comes to the West End via Wilton’s Music Hall and success in Murray-Smith’s native Australia.
Honour, which seen in London in 2003 at the National Theatre, is revived by Tiny Fires this month at the Park Theatre, running from 25 October to 24 November 2018. Paul Robinson directs a stellar cast: Henry Goodman, Imogen Stubbs, Katie Brayben and Natalie Simpson. It had its world premiere in Melbourne, Australia in 1995.
Phyllis Logan (Patricia Highsmith) is well-known for her role as Mrs Hughes in ITV’s Downton Abbey and as Lady Jane Felsham in Lovejoy. Her extensive television credits include Girlfriends, The Good Karma Hospital, Bones, Wallander, Silent Witness and Vera. Her film appearances include Secrets & Lies and Another Time Another Place for which she won the BAFTA for Most Promising Newcomer to Film and the Evening Standard British Film Award for Best Actress. Her theatre credits include Richard III (Crucible Theatre), The Case of David Anderson Q.C. (Traverse Theatre) and Marvin’s Room (Hampstead Theatre).
Calum Finlay (Edward Ridgeway) recently appeared on stage in Mary Stuart and Hamlet (Almeida / West End). He has performed regularly with the RSC in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Macbeth, The Mouse and His Child and Jubilee. Other theatre credits include The Ghost Train (Told By An Idiot / Manchester Royal Exchange), Dunsinane (RSC / National Theatre Scotland / international tour) and Tartuffe (Birmingham REP).
Lucy Bailey was co-founder and co-artistic director of The Print Room (2009 – 2012) in Notting Hill Gate. Recent productions include Love From a Stranger (UK Tour), Witness for the Prosecution by Agatha Christie (London County Hall), The Graduate (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Comus (Sam Wanamaker Playhouse) and Kenny Morgan (Arcola Theatre). Opera/music theatre credits includeGudrun Fier Sang (Copenhagen Dry Dock), Jenufa (English National Opera) and Pasolini’s Teorema (Maggio Musicale Florence/ Munich Biennale/ Queen Elizabeth Hall).
Joanna Murray-Smith’s work features the plays Honour, Ridge’s Love, Scenes from a Marriage, The Female of the Species, The Gift, Day One, a Hotel, Evening, True Minds, Fury, Switzerland and Three Little Words as well as novels including Truce, Judgement Rock and Sunnyside. Among others, she won the 2004 Fringe First Award, Edinburgh Festival Fringe for Bombshells and co-winner New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards (Play Award) in 2012 for The Gift.