Billie Piper in the new Richard Bean play at the National, Ivo van Hove directs Juliette Binoche in Antigone and more

Billie Piper (with Jonjo O'Neill) in The Effect, the last National Theatre production she appeared in. Photo Ellie Kurtz

Billie Piper (with Jonjo O’Neill) in The Effect, the last National Theatre production she appeared in. Photo Ellie Kurtz

In an infrequent series of posts, these are the theatre news that got me excited in recent weeks:

– Word is Billie Piper is in rehearsals for the new Richard Bean play at the National. The play – with the provisional title Hacked – is directed by Nic Hytner, revolves around the phone hacking scandal and should start performances at the Lyttelton as early as June. As there is no official announcement regarding performance dates or tickets yet, the National Theatre is cutting it very fine with this one.

– Another company cutting it fine is the new Jamie Lloyd season at the Trafalgar studios: after the announcement a month ago that Martin Freeman will be playing Richard III with performances starting in July, no further information has been forthcoming. I loved the trio of plays produced last year and I look forward to the new season with – hopefully – a full programme announced soon.

– In other exciting news, Ivo Van Hove will be directing Juliette Binoche in Antigone, with performances at the Barbican next year. After my first Ivo Van Hove production at the Young Vic a few weeks ago (A View From the Bridge was as eye-opening and exhilarating as any theatre experience I ever had), I am thrilled with this announcement.

– A week or so ago, I saw Paul Ready being an excellent Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing at the Royal Exchange Manchester. He will play Brindsley in Peter Shaffer’s Black Comedy at the Minerva theatre in Chichester. In the same production, Shaun Evans plays Harold Gorringe and it will be so nice to see him in a comedy. On a personal note, the first play I ever saw in London was Black Comedy (in a double bill with Tom Stoppard’s The Real Inspector Hound), with David Tennant playing Brindsley. Everything comes full circle.

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