Like mother, like son. Two London theatres seem to copy each other by launching productions of ‘Oedipus’ at the same time.
A Freudian slip is when you mean one thing but say your mother. It might have seemed like two major London theatres did exactly that when – within 30 minutes of each other – they announced they were staging the same show.
Both the Old Vic and the Wyndham Theatre announced their 2024 season would include a version of Sophocles’ ‘Oedipus Rex’ play. The two theatres have developed distinct productions and insist that neither was spurred on by the other.
The first Oedipus show that will hit London’s stage will be the Wyndham Theatre’s production. Director Robert Icke has already toured his version of the classic Greek play – which depicts the myth of a King who kills his father and marries his mother – with a run at the International Theatre Amsterdam in 2018 as well as the Edinburgh Fringe.
Originally planned to come to London’s West End in 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic scuppered plans which have only now been able to be rescheduled to the end of 2024.
In Icke’s version at the Wyndham, British actor and chiselled-chin owner Mark Strong will take on the title role while ‘The Crown’ star Lesley Manville will perform as his mother. Reportedly, the original 2020 casting of the show had legendary actor Helen Mirren in the motherly role of Jocasta.
‘Oedipus’ will play for a limited run from 4 October this year at the Wyndham.
While the Wyndham Theatre may have got in first with its Oedipal announcement, it was upstaged by the Old Vic’s announcement not half an hour later.
Set to run from January to March in 2025, the Old Vic’s production is based on British playwright Ella Hickson’s version of the text and has supposedly been in the works since 2019.
In the starring roles, the Old Vic has landed Rami Malek, the American actor best known for his Oscar-winning turn as Freddie Mercury in the 2018 Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. He will star alongside Indira Varma, the Olivier Award-winning British actor who appeared in ‘Game of Thrones’.