Posts Tagged ‘Patrick Stewart’

I went to watch C.P.Taylor’s script-in-hand reading of Good on Sunday. Accompanied by two Stratford ladies who both originally came from Germany, we were all very moved by this brilliant reading of the award winning play. Having lived in Germany for several years I know how since the end of the horrible Nazi times the citizens have constructed one of the most decent countries in the world, the cornerstone of a peace which has lasted in Western Europe ( if not elsewhere) for the 66 years I have been alive. This has been achieved despite the physical ruin and moral degradation that the country had in 1945. Basically the people of Germany believe in peace but are aware of the 12 year or so madness in their history. And they are not complacent and that is where this wonderful play is so important .

The cast were excellent and the music superb. Tom Goodman-Hill, as Halder, was outstanding and he told us afterwards that there will be a production of the play in Manchester which sadly he won’t be able to be in-he was asked- but because of other work has had to decline. It is such a pity.

The play is all about the nature of evil; it is both intelligent and serious and shows how humane people can be drawn into terrible situations. It is a warning to us all not to be complacent about evil and we must all hope mankind will not be led into a nuclear holocaust which C.P.Taylor and many of us fear. The timing of this play could not be more perfect and what it makes me appreciate is how Mr. Taylor shared the humanitarian views of Shakespeare.

Thank you RSC for presenting this and allowing us the opportunity to be there.

The Merchant of Venice –Monday 16th May, RST.

Bravo Rupert Goold for presenting this adaptation which was inspired by John Logan. In our modern world where we need to be reminded constantly about the dangers of pigeon-holing people, this production certainly makes one think and examine hypocrisy. Clearly the brilliant Patrick Stewart had researched his role so well despite his extensive experience of playing the character.

 I was very impressed, also, with Howard Charles as Gratiano (the real villain). It is a very difficult part. Susannah Fielding in her RSC debut was superb as Portia and like it or not Jamie Beamish as Launcelot(Elvis) made Shakespeare’s usually gloomy Fool help to make the play a great success. And it is still only in preview, can’t wait to see it again when they will have ironed out some technical matters.

Now if they take the play across the pond, they might have to change Vegas for Blackpool- now there is a thought. Will the Americans understand the Lancashire Fylde accent?

Congratulations RSC, the entire cast and production team.

by David Stevens

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Something that sounds really interesting coming up over the next couple of weeks on Radio 4 – 

Over the past 10 months the RSC have been working with Radio 4’s James Naughtie and his Producer, Beaty Rubens to create a three part documentary about the Company being 50.

As part of the series James explores how the Company first came into being in 1961;  the creation of the Ensemble system;  some landmark productions and the opening production, Macbeth, in the RST.  The RSC have worked with James and Beaty to give exclusive breadth of access to the key people from the last half century including the voices of all five of the artistic directors –  Peter Hall, Trevor Nunn, Terry Hands, Adrian Noble and Michael Boyd;  as well as Peter Brook, Cicely Berry, Judi Dench, Patrick Stewart and David Tennant; plus the wider team of artists, technicians and specialists who support the actors on stage.   The transmission dates are below:

The Ensemble:            Tuesday 5th April 11.30 am

The First Ten Years:   Tuesday 12th April 11.30 am

The  New Theatre       Tuesday 19th April 11.30 am

Happy Listening   http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0101p01

by Jane Cromack

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It is award season and we are delighted to see the following two announcements


Olivier Nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Fresh from speaking to the Friends of the RSC in London last weekend – Congratulations to Alexandra Gilbreath, nominated for Olivia in the RSC production of Twelfth Night. Alexandra is firm favourite for RSC audiences and a real show stealer. We wish her the best of luck on March 23rd at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel.

The full list of nominees in her category are:-

        Hayley Atwell for A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE at the Duke of York’s

        Michelle Dockery for BURNT BY THE SUN at the Lyttelton

        Alexandra Gilbreath for TWELFTH NIGHT at the Duke of York’s

        Keira Knightley for THE MISANTHROPE at the Comedy

        Rachael Stirling for THE PRIORY at the Jerwood Theatre

        Downstairs at the Royal Court

        Ruth Wilson for A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE at the Donmar

        For the list of other nominations go to http://www.officiallondontheatre.co.uk/olivier_awards/


WhatsOnStage Theatregoers’ Choice Awards 2010

Congratulations to Patrick Stewart who won Best Supporting Actor in a Play for his performance as Claudius in Hamlet at this year’s Whatsonstage Theatergoers’ Choice Awards.

Hamlet also scooped the award for The SHAKESPEARE 4 KIDZ Best Shakespearean Production. 


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(Lithograph by William Verdult)

Whilst we eagerly await the return of the Ensemble and the opening performances of KING LEAR, readers may like to recall the very first production they saw of this play. Mine was way back in 1968 and it was the first time Trevor Nunn directed it for the RSC. Lear was played by Eric Porter who had been a member of the company since it began in 1960  when his roles had included Leontes and Malvolio. Inbetween engagements at Stratford and the Company’s then London home at the Aldwych Theatre, Porter had achieved further fame as a result of his splendid interpretation of Soames in the BBC adaptation of THE FORSYTE SAGA.

Anticipation was high and expectations were fulfilled. It is also fascinating to consider other casting -Michael Williams playing the Fool for the first time, Alan Howard as Edgar, Norman Rodway as Edmund, David Waller as Kent, Sebastian Shaw as Gloucester, Diane Fletcher, Sheila Allen and Susan Fleetwood as the Daughters. Two future theatrical knights were also in the company, Sir Patrick Stewart as Cornwall and (in his first season at Stratford ) Sir Ben Kingsley as Oswald.

I saw the production very early in the run and at a packed matinee. The audience response at the end remains vivid in the memory, as does  that sense of theatrical excitement prior to the entry of  Lear. Now over forty years later, there will surely be similar excitement at The Courtyard on Thursday 18th February. For those of you who may not previously have seen KING LEAR in the theatre, hurry along because you have a powerful theatrical  experience  in store.

by Tony Boyd-Williams

And Your Favourite King ?

The RSC’s latest King Lear, Greg Hicks, steps on stage this week for the first previews of the new production. Seeing a new production at the Courtyard in the early days, when the air of tension among the company is palpable and everything you see is a surprise, is one of the best things about living in Stratford. And yet a year from today, the production will be one entry in a long list of Lears throughout the years.

Which brings us to the question, who is your best Lear? I think I’ve probably seen about 10 productions over the years, some great, some not so memorable – although to be fair, I have a deep-rooted problem with the play that has nothing to do with the King. The minute Edgar appears I find myself wondering if I’m going to be able to stand Poor Tom being a-cold and if the answer is no, I’m heading for the door. Really, what was Shakespeare thinking?

But I digress. Back to the best Lears. My personal favourites were Timothy West for the English Touring Theatre Company (the only one that has made me cry) and Robert Stephens at the Barbican. The Lawrence Olivier film, with John Hurt as the Fool, was also something pretty special. And there are a few I really wish I’d seen – Richard Briers, Ian Holm and Michael Gambon. My Lear-obsessed friend Ron has seen almost 30 versions and the best as far as he is concerned was Lee Beagley for the Kaboodle company in Liverpool in 1992, with Tom Courtney at the Royal Exchange in Manchester getting a very honourable mention.

We’re running a very unscientific poll over the next few weeks for your best Lear, so all nominations welcome!

by Liz Fisher

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