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You can never have enough hobbits, dwarves or dragons on the London stage. That’s what I’ve always said. We’ve already heard that The Hobbit’s Bilbo Baggins, Martin Freeman, is coming to London to play Richard III, and that Benedict Cumberbatch, who voices Smaug in the big screen Tolkien adaptation, will play Hamlet in 2015. Now it’s the turn of former Spooks and Robin Hood star Richard Armitage, who shrinks to play dwarf Thorin Oakenshield in the Middle Earth-set movies, to join the fantasy stage invasion.
Armitage is heading to the Old Vic in June to play John Proctor in Arthur Miller’s classic tale of duplicity, maliciousness, tension and suspicion The Crucible. The play about the Salem witch trials will be the third production at the iconic theatre this year to play in-the-round.
In more casting news, Seth Numrich, who won the 2013 Evening Standard Theatre Award for Outstanding Newcomer, and Caoilfhionn Dunne, who he pipped to that award, will both appear in Brian Friel’s Fathers And Sons at the Donmar Warehouse from June.
And we’ve found out who will be following in the Royal footsteps of queen of the West End, Dame Judi Dench, by playing Queen Elizabeth I in the stage adaptation of Shakespeare In Love. That honour falls to London stage regular Anna Carteret, who’s joined in the cast by The Borgias’ David Oakes and former Olivier Award nominee Paul Chahidi.
The romantic comedy follows the Bard, whose 450th birthday was celebrated last week, as he looks to beat a bout of writer’s block by finding a muse in the form of a noblewoman. Their taboo love affair draws together a wealth of characters and inspires the creation of a little play entitled Romeo And Juliet.
One more thing. Matilda The Musical, one of the most popular shows currently playing in London, has extended its run into 2015. That’s a lot more naughtiness for us all to enjoy.