Theatre: Curtain Calls

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The Independent Culture
Actors like performing Martin Sherman plays for the simple reason that, unlike many dramatists, he writes great roles.

This might explain why no less a trio than Sheila Gish, Vanessa Redgrave and Pauline Collins have all played Isadora Duncan in Sherman's When She Danced; Ian McKellen and a couple of cinema extras called Richard Gere and Michael York have done Bent; and even Meryl Streep performed in his early play Cracks when she was at Yale.

His last play, the underrated Some Sunny Day, played at Hampstead Theatre in an extremely fine production by Roger Michell - now "officially" famous for directing Notting Hill - and starred Rupert Everett, Sara Kestelman and Corin Redgrave, none of whom are exactly small-fry in the fame stakes.

Until recently Sherman has been busy with screenplays for Bent and Alive and Kicking. The latter was directed by Nancy Meckler but the pair are reunited for his new solo play, Rose. The latest actress to succumb to the Sherman spell? Olympia Dukakis (above).

`Rose' previews at the Cottesloe, National Theatre, London SE1 (0171- 452 3000)