Knightley to make West End debut

LONDON: Keira Knightley will make her debut on the West End stage later this year in a present-day version of Molière's comedy, The Misanthrope.

The Oscar-nominated actor, 24, will play an ambitious American film star, the love interest of a British playwright played by Damian Lewis. Lewis, 38, plays the "misanthrope" Alceste, who is disillusioned and angry with the hypocrisy and vanity of the contemporary world. Vowing to reject society, his plans are derailed when he falls in love with Jennifer (Knightley), a darling of the social scene.

Lewis leads the ensemble cast, which includes Tara Fitzgerald, Dominic Rowan and Tim McMullan, in a production directed by Thea Sharrock.

Martin Crimp's updated version of the work moves the story from 17th-century Paris to contemporary London. The play opens at the Comedy theatre on 17 December and runs until 13 March 2010