Atkins, Staunton, Marsh Set for Upcoming Almeida Plays

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Three of the West End's leading actors have been enlisted to perform in two upcoming plays at London's Almeida Theatre, according to

Matthew Marsh will star in The Lightning Play, a new work by Charlotte Jones/> (Humble Boy, The Woman in White), while Eileen Atkins/> and Imelda Staunton will headline There Came a Gypsy Riding, by Frank McGuinness (Someone Who'll Watch Over Me).

The Lightning Play, after beginning previews on November 9th, will open on November 17th and run through January 7th.  The play will be receiving its world premiere.

"North London at Halloween, Max Villiers a celebrity ghost writer and his wife Harriet, a talented shopper, host a party. As Max connects his first plasma TV, the evening is hijacked by interference from the past.  There are trick or treaters at the door and strangers on the brand new rug," state Almeida notes.  In addition to Marsh, the show will star Eleanor David as Harriet, as well as Lloyd Hutchinson, Katherine Parkinson, Adie Allen, Christina Cole, Simon Kassianides and Orlando Seale. Anna Mackmin directs the production, which is designed by Lez Brotherston.

Marsh's London stage credits include The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?, Conversations After a Burial (both at the Almeida), Copenhagen, The Exonerated and The Little Foxes, while screen credits include The Commander and Spy Game.

There Came a Gypsy Riding will begin previews on January 11th, open on January 18th and run through March 3rd.  "Eccentric cousin Bridget (Atkins) appears along the causeway, inviting herself for birthday cake and conversation, and ready to expose a family secret.  Even Margaret (Staunton), the unstoppable mother, and Leo, the ever-calm father, can't hold things together in the face of an unexpected visit from the past."  The production will be directed by Almeida artistic director Michael Attenborough and designed by Robert Jones.  It will also feature Ian McElhinney as Leo, Elaine Cassidy as Louise and Aidan McArdle as Simon.

Atkins has won numerous Olivier Awards, as well as several Tony nominations.  Most recently seen in Doubt, her other Broadway credits include The Retreat from Moscow, Indiscretions, Vivat! Vivat Regina!, The Promise and The Killing of Sister George.  She also wrote and starred in the Virginia Woolf tribute A Room of One's Own.

Staunton received an Oscar nomination for her performance in Vera Drake.  She has been seen on the London stage in such productions as Guys and Dolls, Life x 3, and Uncle Vanya, while other films include the upcoming Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (as Dolores Umbridge), Nanny McPhee and Shakespeare in Love.

The Almeida is currently presenting Michael Hastings' Tom and Viv, starring Frances O'Connor.

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