Martin McDonagh to Premiere New Play About Hans Christian Andersen

Martin McDonagh - H 2016
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Jim Broadbent will star in 'A Very Very Very Dark Matter,' the latest stage work from the writer-director of 'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,' bowing next fall in London.

Martin McDonagh's new play, A Very Very Very Dark Matter, has set a fall 2018 world premiere in London, with Jim Broadbent leading the cast.

The production marks a reunion of the playwright and actor, who previously worked together on the 2003 National Theatre premiere of McDonagh's The Pillowman. The new work is described as "dangerous, funny and twisted," in a similar vein to that Kafkaesque earlier play.

Set in a Copenhagen townhouse, it travels into the darkest realms of the imagination, observing Hans Christian Andersen at work on his bewitching fairy tales while he draws inspiration from a secret inhabitant of his attic upstairs, her existence unknown to the outside world.

Directed by Matthew Dunster, the play will begin performances on Oct. 10, 2018, in a limited 12-week engagement scheduled to run through Dec. 29 at London's new Bridge Theatre, headed by Nicholas Hytner.

Pundits are placing McDonagh in the upcoming awards-season mix with his darkly comedic screen drama Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, which stars Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell. After making a splash at the Venice and Toronto festivals, the Fox Searchlight release is set to open Friday.

McDonagh won an Oscar in 2006 for his short film Six Shooter, and was nominated for best original screenplay in 2009 for his feature debut, In Bruges.

The playwright's most recently produced work for the stage was the gallows comedy Hangmen, which premiered at London's Royal Court Theatre in 2015, also directed by Dunster, generating rave reviews and a West End transfer. The production won Olivier Awards for best new play and for Anna Fleischle's set design.

The play's New York premiere begins previews Jan. 18 at the Atlantic Theater Company, with a cast that includes Mark Addy, Owen Campbell, Maxwell Caulfield and three holdovers from the original London ensemble, Johnny Flynn, Sally Rogers and Reece Shearsmith. Off-Broadway mainstay the Atlantic has had previous successes with McDonagh's plays The Beauty Queen of Leenane, The Lieutenant of Inishmore and The Cripple of Inishmaan.