Posts Tagged ‘Richmond’

Tony has sent in this interesting review of the Simon Callow play we mentioned a few weeks ago. The tour of the show is nearly finished for now but you can still catch him playing this weekend in Richmond, Surrey and in August during the Edinburgh Festival see http://manfromstratford.co.uk/.

It was interesting at the theatre in Malvern the other day, to note  the number of people from the Stratford district who had made the short journey to see Simon Callow’s one man show about our William. In fact, this event could be called a Complete works reunion, following Simon’s splendid portrayal of Falstaff in MERRY WIVES THE MUSICAL and the publication during that memorable year of the RSC’s edition of Shakespeare, the chief editor being Jonathan Bate who also wrote the script for this fantastic tour de force at Malvern and on tour.

Fantastic? Yes, because between them Messrs Bates and Callow have given us a marvellous panorama of not only Shakespeare’s life and times, and also suggestions as to how the latter  may have influenced scenes and characters from the plays. We are given the feeling as to what it may have been like to grow up as a child in Henley Street or Wilmcote, attend school in Stratford, see the travelling players come to the town, arrive in London from the provinces and be present at the first performance of HENRY V at The Globe.

Throughout, we are reminded of  the “Seven Ages of Man” speech from AS YOU LIKE IT ( I had great fun picking out all the plays from our current Ensemble’s repertoire) and are treated to excerpts both familiar and unfamiliar .

We are asked to consider Who Is Shakespeare? What is He? The reflection on these is richly rewarding and satisfying. Our author and actor also suggests what DID happen to Shakespeare during those infamous “lost years “.

The enthusiastic applause at the end showed that not only had we enjoyed a special theatrical experience but that we could return to Stratford rejoicing that we have the RSC -and the forthcoming opening of the new RST -to remind us of the glories of these immortal words and the characters who speak them.

Tony Boyd-Williams

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Jonathan Slinger

Nick Asbury

Kieran Hill

Many of us enjoy watching the careers of actors who have been part of the RSC. For those Friends interested in where the members of the Histories ensemble are now, take a trip to the Octagon Bolton where Kieran Hill is playing a wonderfully theatrical “Bottom” in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”  until March 7th(www.octagonbolton.co.uk ). The Bolton production is directed by David Thacker, who worked at the RSC in the 1990s and stars Rob Edwards, another RSC stalwart, as Theseus/Oberon. Kieran played Mayor’s Officer in Henry VI Part I, Horner in Henry VI Part II, Westmoreland in Henry VI Part III, Lord Mayor in Richard III, Ned Poins in Henry IV Parts I and II and was in Henry V as part of the ensemble.

Just down the road at the Manchester Royal Exchange Tom Hodgkins has just finished a short run in “Raisin in the Sun”. Alongside Tom was Ray Fearon, a distinguished Othello for the RSC before he found wider fame in Strictly Come Dancing and Coronation Street and Tracy Ifeachor, recently seen in “Noughts and Crosses”. From the rave reviews let’s hope that this production will reappear in a theatre near you. Tom played Bedford/Bassett in Henry VI Part I, Duke of Buckingham in Henry VI Part II, Hastings in Henry VI Part III and Richard III, Earl of Westmoreland in Henry IV Parts I and II and was in Henry V as part of the ensemble.

Another “Histories” boy, Nicholas Asbury, is currently to be seen at the Orange Tree, Richmond, until March 20th, in a new play called The Promise by Ben Brown (www.orangetreetheatre.co.uk) about the birth of the state that became Israel. The play also stars Oliver Ford Davies, last seen at the RSC as Polonius to David Tennant’s Hamlet, and Christopher Ravenscroft, whose RSC credits include the original production of “Nicholas Nickleby”. Nicholas played Somerset in Henry VI Parts I, II and III, Vaughan in Richard III, Henry Bushy/Abbot of Westminster in Richard II, Pistol in Henry IV Part II and Henry V as part of the ensemble.

It is also great when our favourites return to the RSC and it is good to learn that Jonathan Slinger will be at the Hampstead Theatre next month in the RSC production of The God’s Weep.

by Geraldine Caulfield, Friends of the RSC, London

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