Simon Russell Beale and John Simm to Star in West End Production of Pinter's The Hothouse

By Mark Shenton
15 Mar 2013

Simon Russell Beale
Simon Russell Beale
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Simon Russell Beale and John Simm will star in a new production of Harold Pinter's early play The Hothouse, which will begin performances May 4 prior to an official opening May 9 for a run through Aug. 3 at the West End's Trafalgar Studios.

It will be directed by Jamie Lloyd in the second of his "Trafalgar Transformed" residency at the theatre that began with the current, sold-out production of Macbeth starring James McAvoy in the title role, that is running through April 27.

A joint initiative between Lloyd and theatre owner Howard Panter, the Trafalgar Transformed season has seen the theatre reconfigured by designer Soutra Gilmour.

In a press statement, Lloyd commented, "It is a dream come true to be working with Simon Russell Beale and John Simm on this funny, peculiar and frightening play as a part of Trafalgar Transformed. The Hothouse is the third Pinter project I have worked on (following The Caretaker and The Lover & The Collection) and I am thrilled to be introducing Harold's work to a young, diverse audience via our £15 Mondays ticket scheme."



The play is described in press materials as a "macabre tragicomedy." It is Christmas Day in a nameless state-run mental institution where the inmates are subjected to a tirade of mindless cruelty. A maniacal and self-obsessed leader breeds a contagion of hierarchical savagery amongst his staff, who thrive on a noxious diet of delusion and deceit. "The day got off to a lousy start!  A death and a birth.  Absolutely bloody scandalous!  Is it too much to ask – to keep the place clean?"

The play was originally written by Pinter in 1958 but unproduced until 1980 when he directed its premiere himself at London's Hampstead Theatre, in a production that subsequently transferred to the Ambassadors Theatre. Pinter subsequently starred in a production at Chichester's Minerva Theatre in 1995 that later transferred to the Comedy Theatre (now the Pinter).

Beale (most recently seen in the West End in Privates on Parade and whose other recent credits include Timon of Athens and Collaborators, both at the National Theatre) plays Roote, and Simm (whose recent stage credits include Elling and Speaking in Tongues in the West End and Hamlet and Betrayal, both at Sheffield's Crucible) plays Gibb. Further casting will be announced shortly.

To book tickets, contact the box office on 0844 871 7632 or visit www.thehothousewestend.com for more details.