Oscar-nominated romance Cold War to have major London stage adaptation

<span>Photograph: Collection Christophel/Alamy</span>
Photograph: Collection Christophel/Alamy

London’s Almeida theatre has announced a stage adaptation of stylish Oscar-nominated romance Cold War.

Paweł Pawlikowski’s film captivated audiences in 2018 with its postwar tale of two musician lovers whose passion is disrupted by the privations of the eastern bloc. After premiering at Cannes, Cold War earned three nominations at the Academy awards and four at the Baftas.

Now it is being adapted for the stage by Conor McPherson, the Irish playwright who vividly dramatised Bob Dylan’s songwriting in Girl from the North Country.

Set to run at London’s Almeida between November and January, the production will be directed by the theatre’s artistic director Rupert Goold. Elvis Costello songs will feature alongside choral works and traditional Polish folk songs.

Anya Chalotra, known for the lead role of Yennefer in TV fantasy drama The Witcher, will play the headstrong Zula, while Luke Thallon – recently directed by Goold in the Peter Morgan play Patriots – will play her pianist lover Wiktor. Also announced in the cast is Elliot Levey, who won an Olivier award in 2022 for his performance in Rebecca Frecknall’s West End production of Cabaret.

Cold War is another foray into musical theatre for Goold, following his 2022 production Tammy Faye, a new musical about the US televangelist of the same name. It featured music by Elton John, lyrics by Jake Shears and a book by James Graham, and won two Olivier awards this year for actors Katie Brayben and Zubin Varla.

Goold also recently collaborated with Graham on Dear England, a National Theatre play about Gareth Southgate’s tenure as England football manager.