Almeida to kick off with farce

New season includes 'Romance,' 'Late Henry Moss'

LONDON — The European premieres of two Off Broadway plays are among next season’s five shows at north London’s Almeida Theater, which kicks off its 2005-06 lineup in September with Lindsay Posner directing David Mamet’s courtroom farce, “Romance.” Following later is another recent Off Broadway entry in a new production: Sam Shepard’s “The Late Henry Moss,” to be directed by Almeida artistic director Michael Attenborough.

The season also includes Moliere’s comedy “The Hypochondriac,” in a new version by Richard Bean, directed by Posner, and Attenborough directing a new version by David Hare of Maxim Gorky’s “Enemies.”

Of perhaps greatest interest is a rare production of Tennessee Williams’ 1960 play “Period of Adjustment,” to open in March. Directing is Howard Davies, who has worked extensively in the American repertoire, including the 1998 Almeida production of O’Neill’s “The Iceman Cometh” that starred Kevin Spacey and later transferred to Broadway.

Season will mark the third under Attenborough, whose playhouse has hit consistent box office paydirt so far this year. Although two of the Almeida’s three 2005 ventures to date, “Macbeth” and “Blood Wedding,” received mixed reviews, they both sold out.

A third Almeida entry from earlier this year, Richard Eyre’s startling revival of “Hedda Gabler,” starring Eve Best and Iain Glen, is now on the West End. Another recent Almeida entry, director Rufus Norris’ production of “Festen,” ran for seven months in its West End transfer and is due on Broadway in September.