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Spacey plans Richard II for Old Vic

Kevin Spacey's second season at the Old Vic will open with a production of Shakespeare's Richard II directed by Trevor Nunn - with Spacey himself in the title role.

The news comes as Dennis McIntyre's National Anthems opens to mixed reviews – prompting a rash of negative headlines asking whether Kevin Spacey has lost the plot.

The Independent's Paul Taylor asked had gone wrong "with this weird regime'' at the Waterloo theatre, while the Evening Standard's Nicholas de Jongh voiced his "serious doubts about whether Kevin Spacey is the right man to run the Old Vic''.

The production, expected to open in September, fulfils Spacey's promise that he would tackle classical productions in his second season and beyond.

Cloaca by Maria Goos and Christmas panto Aladdin kicked off the first season, but critical reaction has been lukewarm at best.

It has also been reported that the Old Vic's chief executive Sally Greene told MPs on the Culture Select Committee earlier this month that the Old Vic Theatre Trust had borrowed money to save the theatre when it was about to become a lap-dancing club in 1998 – but revenue from the current show is scarcely enough to make the repayments.

Richard II was part of Shakespeare's Globe's 2003 season.

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