An Olivier Award-winning actress is set to take the stage for a classic production ready to be discovered by a new generation, writes Clare Buchanan.

Laura Michelle Kelly (pictured) will play the title role in The Second Mrs Tanqueray, which tells the tale of widower Aubrey Tanqueray who marries for a second time.

Mr Tanqueray knows his new wife, Paula, is a woman with a past, but he has no idea how that will catch up with him in the end.

Director Stephen Unwin said: “Pinero’s greatest hit hasn't had a major revival since 1981 at the National Theatre with Harold Innocent and Felicity Kendal.

“I'm thrilled to be directing a brand new production of this important play.

“The Second Mrs Tanqueray occupies an extraordinary position in English drama: like a cross between Oscar Wilde and Ibsen it showed Victorian audiences that problem plays could be dramatic, entertaining, sexy and moving.

“I believe it stands the test of time.”

Kelly is known for playing Mary Poppins in the Walt Disney and Cameron Mackintosh blockbuster musical, and playing Galadriel in the stage adaption of The Lord of the Rings.

She starred alongside Kevin Spacey and Jeff Goldblum at the Old Vic in 2008 for the production of In Speed the Plow.

And her film credits include the role of Elspeth Dickens in Goddess with Ronan Keating, and Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd.

The part of Aubrey Tanqueray will be taken on by James Wilby, who won the best actor prize at the Venice Film Festival for his title role in the 1987 Merchant Ivory film, Maurice.

He has enjoyed numerous screen appearances including A Handful of Dust, Howard’s End, Regeneration and Gosford Park.

Other cast members include Joseph Alessi – who is touring with Wonderful Town – Rona Morison, seen in Ramin Gray’s Crave and Illusion, and Sally Tatum.

Arthur W Pinero’s The Second Mrs Tanqueray, the Rose Theatre, High Street, Kingston, September 27 to October 27, £12 to £32, pit cushions £8. Call 08444 821 556 or visit