Derek Jacobi as King Lear Pic: Johan Persson
On starring in King Lear. A Donmar Warehouse preview.
THE role of King Lear is a vertiginous challenge that only the most accomplished actors dare climb. Vast in its emotional range, it requires an old man's gravitas and a young man's stamina. If you have tackled Hamlet at the start of your career, you will want to tick off Lear before you retire. The part has been played by John Gielgud, Laurence Olivier, Brian Cox, Christopher Plummer, Ian McKellen - a litany of greats now joined by Derek Jacobi in a thrilling production by London's Donmar theatre that tours to Glasgow this spring.
The Monty Python star talks about Spamalot
FORTY years after Eric Idle first delighted and confounded the nation as one of the Monty Python team, the celebrated writer of Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life is still game.He is in Edinburgh to promote the musical Spamalot and has with him several coconuts and tins of Spam. Our photographer sees his chance and asks the comedian to pose with the processed meat. Idle juggles it, pretends it is a camera and, finally, balances it on his head. "I went to university, you know," he says in mock humiliation as the tin tumbles to the floor.
Interview with the Lord of the Rings actor about Sunshine on Leith. A Dundee Rep preview
IT WOULD be less of a problem if Billy Boyd wasn't such a big fan of the Proclaimers. The Lord of the Rings star has landed a lead role in a revival of Dundee Rep's Sunshine On Leith, the superb musical based on the songs of Craig and Charlie Reid. It's a dream job - one that's lured him back to the theatre for the first time in six years - but getting his mind around arrangements that are not quite the same as the records he has loved for so long is proving tough work.
Peter Brook's 11 and 12 Pic: Pascal Victor/ArtComArt
The director talks about 11&12. A Tramway preview.
TO get to Peter Brook's office, you come in off a grimy Parisian street at the back of the Gare du Nord, head along a nondescript corridor, cut across the stage of the Bouffes du Nord – half faded glamour, half rough-and-ready empty space – before climbing a staircase that is open to the crisp December air, as if you were approaching a fairytale turret.
YOU can only imagine the air of despondency around London's Dominion Theatre in May 2002 when the reviews came in for We Will Rock You. The Queen musical had "nothing bohemian, and precious little that's rhapsodic" raged the Guardian. It was, fulminated the Telegraph, "prolefeed at its worst". The Daily Mail declared "pantomime arrived a little early in the West End". The cast of We Will Rock You
Interview about His Dark Materials.
DO you have difficulty telling your hobbits from your daemons? Can you spot the difference between an Orc and a Gyptian? How easily could you distinguish a Ringwraith from a Cliff-ghast? If you're at all unsure, you better not mention it to Philip Pullman. The author of Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass (collectively known as His Dark Materials) is in no doubt that his trilogy is in a different class to the work of his fellow fantasist JRR Tolkien. They may be operating in the one genre, but the two are not the same. "I don't like The Lord Of The Rings," says Pullman. "It is profoundly conservative. It is Little England nostalgic in a way that I have never enjoyed."
Interview about Measure for Measure
IT'S the fag end of the panto season and Alistair McGowan is on stage at the Wimbledon Theatre playing Baron Hardup to Gareth Gates' Prince Charming. In a typical volley of wisecracks, the impressionist knocks out spot-on renditions of David Beckham, Billy Connolly and Gary Barlow. "Would you like to see my Russell Brand?" he asks Cinderella, played by Joanna Page of Gavin & Stacey fame. "No," she replies.
IT'S the end of January and Ross Noble is stretching his comedy muscles on a warm-up date in Tasmania. Coming offstage still full of energy – with plans to watch a dodgy David Hasselhoff comedy before the night is through – he is cheerful and chatty, although he does tell me of his concern for his wife Fran and their new baby daughter Elfie, at home on their farm in rural Victoria, Australia.
Interview about Waiting for Godot
SURPRISINGLY for actors born within two years of each other in the neighbouring counties of Lancashire and Yorkshire, the 2000 blockbuster X-Men was only Sir Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart's second professional collaboration. Prior to that, they had shared a brief scene or two in the premiere of Tom Stoppard's Every Good Boy Deserves Favour in 1977, but had otherwise pursued independent careers, albeit with a startlingly similar mix of high-brow and popular.
IAN McDiarmid is the most reluctant of Hollywood stars. A more flighty actor would have taken offence when, at the red-carpet premiere of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace in 1999, none of the photographers knew who he was. But the Carnoustie-born psychology graduate laughed at the oversight. He couldn't blame them given that he was not wearing the prosthetic make-up that had transformed him into the dark lord Emperor Palpatine in 1983's Return Of The Jedi , and, in any case, McDiarmid revelled in his anonymity.
April 2008 The Guardian
JOHN Byrne doesn't read the papers and hasn't had a television for six years, but he does listen to what he quaintly calls the wireless. This morning, he has heard the news about the inquest into Princess Diana's death. He's irritated by all the talk of "closure", believing the jury's verdict is just another cliffhanger in the great Diana soap opera.
April 2008 Scotland on Sunday
SHE has taken her time about it, but Michelle Gomez is finally learning how to be ambitious. Whatever it is that propelled her to those heady television heights – the insecure footballer's wife Janice McCann in The Book Group; the hilariously bonkers Sue White in Green Wing; the raucous Amanda, upwardly mobile bride-to-be, in Irvine Welsh's Wedding Belles – it wasn't a lust for fame and glory.
March 2007 The List
WHEN you look back across the shows Chris Addison has brought to the Edinburgh Fringe over the past decade it’s hard to imagine there might be a unifying idea. What link could there possibly be between Atomicity, a show about the fabric of the universe, Civilisation, about mankind’s cultural decline, Port Out, Starboard Home on the charms of being a ‘middle-class ponce’ and The Ape that Got Lucky, which found fun in anthropology?
September 2006 Scotland on Sunday
BREAKFAST at BBC HQ in London. Mathew Horne is enjoying the warm morning air, poring over a script at an outdoor table. Ahead of him is a big day in the studio: several hours of technical rehearsals followed by an evening recording for series three of the Catherine Tate Show. It’s 8am now and it’ll be nearly midnight before he gets out again.
August 2006 The Guardian
THIS is what it's like at the Edinburgh festival. One minute you're getting all intense over My Name is Rachel Corrie, the true-life tale of a woman killed by an Israeli bulldozer, the next minute, you're out on the town with Kylie Minogue, fending off autograph hunters and getting nasty looks from neighbouring tables for making too much noise in an Italian restaurant.
February 2005 Scotland on Sunday
HE is on first-name terms with Angelina, Mila and Nicole, but Iain Glen is the most reluctant of stars. At least, this used to be his attitude: time has mellowed him. When we met in 1993 as he prepared to play Macbeth in Michael Boyd’s celebrated staging at Glasgow’s Tron Theatre, he told me that, given the choice, he wouldn’t do any publicity at all. "I don’t believe the qualities I have as an actor in any way lend themselves to speaking about myself," he said.
April 2004 The Independent on Sunday
BRIAN Cox is a ball. If I didn't know better, I'd say he's just rolled his way to my table. His donkey jacket is hunched around his shoulders, his head is tucked in, his stocky body is the same size in every direction. His stubby fingers are made of the same amorphous lump of clay as his face, which today has a light grey moustache and a thinning crop of slicked-back grey hair. He has curled himself up like a hedgehog.
October 2004 The Observer
IRVINE Welsh is not the man you expect. As he tucks into a lunchtime baked potato looking nothing if not cuddly in his lumberjack shirt, it seems implausible that this lucid, softly spoken 35-year-old could be the same Irvine Welsh who has put his name to some of the most uncomfortable, disturbing and vitriolically funny fiction of the decade. Is this really the man who, in last year's debut novel Trainspotting, described in agonising detail the retrieval of two suppositories from a blocked and overflowing lavatory by a junkie with a habit to kick?
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