Theatre: Curtain calls

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The Independent Culture
Director James Macdonald is in line for major directing awards for his astonishingly precise production of Cleansed. He first teamed up with its writer, Sarah Kane, on her infamous debut, Blasted, but in the same Royal Court season he also directed Peaches, the first play by Nick Grosso.

Not that anyone is likely to confuse the plays, which are entirely dissimilar in terms of style, tone and content. Grosso's piece was a wry, dialogue- driven, almost coy tale of sweet teenage angst and Macdonald's direction was so astute and fleet that the play became something of a hit. He's back for Grosso's latest A Real Classy Affair (above), which boasts a suitably classy cast including Liza Walker, who came from seemingly nowhere to stardom playing the troubled and troubling Alice in Patrick Marber's Closer, and nabbed the Critics' Circle Award for her pains.

She is joined by, among others, Joseph Fiennes, who has been busy carving out a career after being catapulted into the limelight playing lovesickness as if to the manner born opposite Helen Mirren in A Month in the Country. Fiennes plans to be playing leading film roles as soon as possible, so fans should catch him up close while they still can. It opens on Monday at the Royal Court at the Ambassadors, London WC2 (0171-565 5000).