List: Three boys called Josh (and a boy called Lewis) or the Donmar young actors’ club

The Donmar Warehouse is having a good year. After Versailles (which I didn’t like), they hit a home run of three productions, each of them special in distinct and varied ways. Not only that, but a series of young actors took centre stage, and it’s been a huge pleasure discovering new talent for the ever expanding “Actors to Watch Out for” list. In strict alphabetical order:

Joshua James: Before Fathers and Sons, I hadn’t seen Joshua James since Polly Stenham’s No Quarter and how has he grown! As Arkady, he held the centre of the story with confidence and did this thing my favourite actors do, balancing the ridiculousness and majesty of the human nature in a single breath.

Joshua James in Fathers and Sons. Photo Johan Persson

Joshua James in Fathers and Sons. Photo Johan Persson


Joshua McGuire: I wasn’t planning to include McGuire on the list, as he is far more established than the rest. Then I found out he is only 26. Precociousness aside (and he was in King John with the Royal Shakespeare Company at 13), McGuire headlined Privacy with emotional intelligence and tons of understated charisma. After that, he did a 180 degrees turn and played Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in Chichester.

Joshua MacGuirein Privacy. Photo Johan Persson

Joshua MacGuirein Privacy. Photo Johan Persson

Josh O’Connor: Even though I didn’t like Versailles, the acting was not the issue, in fact the whole company was very strong. Among them, Josh O’Connor was my stand out: affecting, quiet, generous in spirit, he drew the eye and played out a minor story of extraordinary dignity.

Josh O'Connor in Versailles. Photo Johan Persson

Josh O’Connor in Versailles. Photo Johan Persson

Lewis Reeves: In the dazzling, can’t-possibly-single-out-anyone, finely balanced cast of My Night With Reg, Reeves is the young pup, the outsider, the objective view. Reeves is effortlessly confident in his skin (and, as John marvels, “skin so young”) in a performance of casual brilliance. I hadn’t seen much of Reeves before this play, which is an oversight on my part I plan to correct.

Lewis Reeves in My Night With Reg. Photo Johan Persson

Lewis Reeves in My Night With Reg. Photo Johan Persson

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