Andrew Scott as Angel in Original Sin. 2002 Sheffield Crucible. Photo Simon Walker
We are only a few weeks away from the first performances of Simon Stephens’ Birdland at the Royal Court. So much excitement riding on this: Andrew Scott in a Simon Stephens play (Sea Wall anyone?) directed by Carrie Cracknell. No pressure but anything less than superlative might be a disappointment.
This is not Andrew Scott’s first theatrical appearance since he played Moriarty (there is no way around it, for certain actors in certain roles there is before and after). He always stuck very close to the stage, all the way back to his native Ireland and Abbey theatre. My first introduction to his talents was at a Royal Court rehearsed reading in early 2009. (I had to look it up but the play was The Uncertainty Of The Situation (Die Unsicherheit der Sachlage) by Philipp Loehle. The cast – take a deep breath – included Katherine Parkinson, Jeff Rawle, Paul Ready, Samuel West). Once I saw him on stage, I always kept tabs, I wanted to have that rush again.
But this was seven years after he played Angel in Peter Gill’s Original Sin, after Frank Wedekind’s Lulu. The production premiered in Sheffield Crucible with mixed reviews but I can’t help to feel bawled over by its subject matter: “Angel, a spell-bindingly beautiful boy is plucked from the streets to be the plaything of a wealthy newspaper proprietor. Continue reading →
Genevieve O’Reilly (Jennifer Dubedat) and Tom Burke ( Dubedat). Photo Johan Persson
I went to The Doctor’s Dilemma without expectations. I knew nothing about the George Bernard Shaw play (although, unsurprising, it had doctors in it). Even without expectations, in the first twenty minutes or so, the play and production seemed set to disappoint.
Fortunately, I am pleased to report that the initial bad omens were not fulfilled and the evening turned in a very engaging, playful, darkly comic theatrical experience. This is a comedy (maybe) about death and love, where tragic things are funny and funny things are sad. Not knowing anything about the play proves a huge advantage as the shifting of perceptions is a huge pleasure. A recurring theme is knowledge and deception, but characters and audience end up with very few certainties and answers.
The character of Dubedat needs an actor with huge charisma, and Tom Burke rises to the challenge splendidly. As Dubedat, he is playful without being shallow, mysterious yet transparent, and inappropriately profound. He also pulls, as far as I am concerned at least, a magnificent double bluff that left me feeling a tiny bit guilty. Continue reading →