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Posts Tagged ‘Simon Callow’

Walking down Shaftesbury Avenue the other day, I noticed that Jonathan Slinger is in YES, PRIME MINISTER by Emily Joyce (who played Viola in the 1995 revival of Ian Judge’s Stratford set production of  TWELFTH NIGHT).

 And there’s a coincidence!  Sir Peter Hall is directing a revival of the same play at the National in January to celebrate his eightieth birthday. Joining daughter Rebecca as Viola, are a galaxy of RSC alumni – Simon Callow as Sir Toby Belch. Amanda Drew (from the 2002 Jacobean season) as Olivia, David Ryall (The Mysteries and Hamlet from the 1996/7season) as Feste, James Clyde (who played Feste in Neil Bartlett’s Courtyard staging) as Antonio, Jeffry Wickham (also in the 1996/7 season, and of course Professor Kirk in THE LION,THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE).They are also joined by Judi Dench’s daughter, Finty, who will be playing Maria, designer Anthony Ward and (as Geraldine recently informed us) the Assistant Director is Richard Twyman ex THE HISTORIES.

 Speaking of which …If you cross Waterloo Bridge and head for the New London Theatre, the current ensemble in WAR HORSE includes  Anthony Shuster from THE HISTORIES, Zubin Varla (no introduction needed) and James Barriscale who was a member of the Stratford company in 1994.

Aha  I have just noticed that a number of RSC alumni are appearing in the National’s current HAMLET, but I think a further blog is called for.

To be continued …

Tony Boyd-Williams

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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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