The W list: which actors I most want to see on stage (whom I haven’t seen yet)?

From left to right: Lesley Manville, Julian Wadlam, Gary Oldman, Linda Bassett, Meera Syal, Allan Corduner in Caryl Churchill's  Serious Money. Royal Court 1987

From left to right: Lesley Manville, Julian Wadlam, Gary Oldman, Linda Bassett, Meera Syal, Allan Corduner in Caryl Churchill’s Serious Money. Royal Court 1987

Every theatre goer has one. A list of actors we most want to see on stage and for one reason or another this hasn’t happened. In fact, one of the big pleasures of seeing A View from The Bridge at the Young Vic was to see Mark Strong return to the theatre. Even if the production wasn’t the monumental, searing experience that it is, seeing Mark Strong on live performance would still justify all the excitement in the world. As I have crossed one actor off the list, I hope the remaining will reconsider their long absence and return to the stage sooner rather than later (and on this side of the Atlantic please).

Strictly in alphabetical order:

Michael Fassbender: He is among the most celebrated film actors in recent years but Fassbender’s stage work is negligible. He only has four theatre credits in 12 years, the first one age 17, playing Cinderella’s ugly sister in a pub theatre production of a play called “Fairytales Fairytales 123”; the last theatre credit is in 2006 at the Edinburgh Fringe. He could be like Daniel Day Lewis, one of the best film actors of all time but without significant stage work but I hope this won’t be the case. He ‘s been hanging around with James McAvoy, maybe he ‘ll get inspired or dared into doing stage work.

Left to right: Colin Firtth, Peter Howitt, Donald Pleasance. The Caretaker at the Comedy Theatre. 1991. From

Left to right: Colin Firtth, Peter Howitt, Donald Pleasance. The Caretaker at the Comedy Theatre. 1991. From http://www.afirthionado.com/

Colin Firth: Including Firth on the list is a bit of a cheat, as I have actually seen him perform live (of sorts). At the 2009 Harold Pinter tribute at the National, he took to the stage to do a brief extract from The Caretaker, and among a cast that included Michael Sheen, Jude Law, Jeremy Irons, Lindsay Duncan, Penelope Wilton and many more, he is the one I remember the most. A couple of years ago, the papers mentioned him doing Betrayal with Kristin Scott Thomas. In the end, the production went ahead with other actors as the male leads, but maybe another stage production is not far behind.

Eddie Marsan: It doesn’t matter whether he is doing Mike Leigh films or playing Liev Schreiber’s brother in Ray Donovan, he is always the most truthful and compelling actor in the scene. He has worked at the National theatre, he has directed for the stage  but his last theatre performance was in 2001 at the Savoy theatre with the play Antarctica. He is not the biggest star on this list, but, if hard pressed, I could be more excited about him than anyone else.

Gary Oldman: He was one of the regulars at the Royal Court and the Royal Shakespeare Company in the 1980s but since his film career took off he hasn’t done any theatre. (It’s been surprisingly difficult to verify his last stage credit. It seems to be Cary Churchill’s Serious Money at the Royal Court in March 1987). Seeing him on screen, it’s impossible to underestimate how great a talent he is. There has been a rumour he might play Claudius for Benedict Cumberbatch’s Hamlet. I doubt it will happen, but one can live in hope.

UPDATE: Revstan creates her own  list, anyone else wants to add any names?

7 responses to “The W list: which actors I most want to see on stage (whom I haven’t seen yet)?

  1. Yep, yep, yep to all of those. Are you doing a list of actresses? If so top of my list would be Tilda Swinton who was in the RSC back in the early 80s but not sure what she’s done since then.

    • I will do one eventually (when and if I get through all the other posts I want to write, a dozen of those at last count). Tilda Swinton is definitely in the list.

  2. I always enjoy a fantasy wishlist and watching the BBC’s bank holiday output and the latest in their commitment to ‘serious drama’ did remind me of how much I would like to see Gabriel Byrne on stage – a properly charismatic actor, I think he could be blistering in something by Arthur Miller.

    Also, and sadly now never to be achieved, perhaps my all time fantasy casting would have been put to get to see Phillip Seymour Hoffman as Iago. Such a brilliant performer and I someone who I think could have absolutely nailed the slippery, charismatic schemer.

    • Yes Gabriel Byrne will be brilliant on stage. Has he done anything in London? No matter, if it’s in Dublin, I am there. As for Phillip Seymour Hoffman, what can I say? It seemed like we had plenty of time 😦 He would have been a brilliant Iago, not least because he had such a soft face to use as misdirection. Which is like saying, he ‘d be brilliant in anything.

  3. No – I had to find a Gabriel Byrne fansite (its heartening to know that even someone as outside of the mainstream can command a whole website dedicated to him). His theatre is very limited and pretty much exclusive to Broadway. I could imagine him one day going to Ireland and doing one of the great Irish plays – maybe a Sean O’Casey or possibly even Brendan Behan (I can’t see him in Beckett)

    • I think he has done theatre in Ireland, more than it’s immediately obvious. It’s just difficult to find.
      There is a current exhibition in Galway, with the Abbey Theatre Archive on display. And in that, they display this photo from a 1979 production of Diarmuid agus Grainne, Gabriel Byrne and Nuala Hayes. He doesn’t seem to have changed at all in 35 years.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s