Ben Whishaw & Bertie Carvel lead Bakkhai cast at Almeida

Ben Whishaw in Bakkhai
Ben Whishaw in Bakkhai. Image David Stewart.

Spooks actor Kevin Harvey joins Ben Whishaw and Bertie Carvel in the Almeida Theatre’s production of Bakkhai.

Ben Whishaw is making his Almeida debut as Dionysos while Harvey last appeared at the Islington theatre in Mike Bartlett’s Game. Carvel, who plays Pentheus, is also a returner, previously appearing in Rope.

James Macdonald directs Anne Carson’s new version of Euripides’ hedonistic, visceral tragedy.

Using three actors and a chorus, this new production will echo the original Ancient Greek performance model.

The chorus will include Amiera Darwish, Eugenia Georgieva, Kaisa Hammarlund, Helen Hobson, Hazel Holder, Melanie La Barrie, Elinor Lawless, Catherine May, Louise Mills and Belinda Sykes.

Pentheus has banned the wild, ritualistic worship of the god Dionysos. A stranger arrives to persuade him to change his mind.

Euripides’ electrifying tragedy is a struggle to the death between freedom and restraint, the rational and the irrational, man and god.

Anne Carson is a poet, essayist, translator, playwright and classicist who frequently references, modernises and translates Greek mythology.

Her translation of Sophocles’ Antigone, starring Juliette Binoche and directed by Ivo van Hove, played at the Barbican earlier this year having premiered at Théâtre National du Luxembourg.

Bertie Carvel created the role of Miss Trunchbull in Dennis Kelly and Tim Minchin’s Matilda, The Musical. His iconic performance won him a raft of awards.

On television, he appeared as Nick Clegg in James Graham’s Channel 4 drama Coalition, and is currently playing the role of Jonathan Strange in the BBC adaptation of Susanna Clarke’s novel Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell.

Kevin Harvey’s previous theatre credits include The Book of Mormon, Titus Andronicus and Candide, The Alchemist and Macbeth. His television credits include Good Cop, Spooks and Ruby in the Smoke.

Ben Whishaw last appeared on stage in Jez Butterworth’s Mojo in the West End. Other theatre includes Peter and Alice, Cock, His Dark Materials, The Seagull, The Idiot and Hamlet.

On film, he recently lent his voice to Britain’s best-loved bear in Paddington and performed in the BAFTA-nominated Lilting. He played Q in Sam Mendes’ Skyfall, a role he will reprise in upcoming Bond film Spectre.

Bakkhai runs from July 23-September 19.

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