Blackbird

Previewed 7 February 2006, Opened 13 February 2006, Closed 13 May 2006 at the Noel Coward Theatre in London

David Harrower's thought-provoking and explosive new play Blackbird in London is directed by the legendary Peter Stein and stars Roger Allam and Jodhi May.

Ray, 56, is confronted with his past when Una, 27, arrives unannounced at his office. Guilt, anger and raw emotions are running high as they recollect the passionate love affair they had 15 years earlier. Blackbird deals with a topical subject sensitively without any moral judgements, yet never shies away from presenting you with the brutal and shattering truth of an abandoned and unconventional love. Blackbird was the most talked about, critically acclaimed production of the 2005 Edinburgh International Festival.

Roger Allam's London stage credits include playing the roles of 'Willy Brandt' in Michael Blakemore's production of Michael Frayn's Democracy at the National Theatre in 2003, and transfer to the West End's Wyndham's Theatre in 2004; 'Adam' in John Caird's prodcution of Michael Weller's What The Night Is For at the Comedy Theatre in 2002; 'Terri Dennis' in Michael Grandage's revival of Peter Nichols' Privates on Parade at the Donmar Warehouse in 2001; 'Yermolai Alexseyevich Lopakhin' in Trevor Nunn's revival of Anton Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard at the National Theatre in 2000; the title role in Tim Albery's revival of William Shakespeare's Macbeth, for the Royal Shakespeare Company, at the Barbican Theatre in 1996; 'John Worthing' in Terry Hands' revival of Oscar Wilde's The Importance Of Being Earnest at the Old Vic Theatre in 1995; 'Bernard Nightingale' in Trevor Nunn's production of Tom Stoppard's Arcadia at the Haymarket Thatre in 1994; 'Stone' in Michael Blakemore's production of the Cy Coleman and David Zippel musical City of Angels at the Prince of Wales Theatre in 1993; 'Duke Vincentio' in Nicholas Hytner's revival of William Shakespeare's Measure for Measure, for the Royal Shakespeare Company, at the Barbican Theatre in 1988; 'Javert' in the original cast of Trevor Nunn and John Caird's production of the Alain Boublil, Claude-Michel Schonberg, and Herbert Kretzmer musical Les Miserables at the Barbican Theatre, and transfer to the West End's Palace Theatre in 1985; and 'Lin Tse-Tsii' in Terry Hands and Ian Judge's production of the Peter Nichols and Monty Norman musical Poppy, for the Royal Shakespeare Company, at the Barbican Theatre in 1982.

Jodhi May's London theatre credits include playing the role of 'Sofya Yegorovna' in Jonathan Kent's revival of Anton Chekhov's Platonov at the Almeida Theatre at King's Cross in 2001.

"In Blackbird at the Albery Theatre, Jodhi May and Roger Allam circle each other in a two-hour acting masterclass, challenging the audience to expand their definition of love and interrogate ethical boundaries. It's a new play by the Scottish writer David Harrower, premiered at the Edinburgh Festival last year in this production by the great German director Peter Stein. It is formidably good... At the end, there are not one but two coups de theatre; both Stein's innovations." The Sunday Telegraph

"That much maligned term 'director's theatre' is on thrilling view in the German director Peter Stein's production of Scotsman David Harrower's play, a sensation last summer at the Edinburgh International Festival... Though the story might sound both hot-topic overfamiliar and emotionally cheap - a woman, 15 years after the fact, seeks out the man, now 56, who bedded her when she was 12 - Stein pushes the text to the limits of ready moralising and well beyond." The Sunday Times

"Blackbird's coolness is its strength, allowing an audience to believe both that the man is well-intentioned and that he's an abuser; that the girl's life has been ruined and that she's a predator... There is outstanding acting from Jodhi May, who drapes herself to suggest both sullen child and languorous partner, and from the great Roger Allam, who, his shoulders gently sagging, moves like a man who can't slough off a weight." The Observer

"This is a seriously thought-provoking piece, raising questions about people's responsibility and emotional instability at different ages... David Harrower's dialogue hovers between naturalistic and stylised fractured sentences and Peter Stein treats it like a musical score, with clearly shaped movements, very distinct swings in mood and pacing... certainly worth seeing." The Independent on Sunday

Blackbird in London at the Noel Coward Theatre previewed from 7 February 2006, opened on 13 February 2006 and closed on 13 May 2006.