Sunday, 22 March 2015

Samuel West - Guardian interview, Young Chekhov, Mr Selfridge

Sam discusses After Electra, family and music in the Guardian.

Sam, Anna Chancellor and James McArdle star in the Young Chekhov season at the Chichester Festival Theatre. He will play the title role in Ivanov and Trigorin in The Seagull (via his Twitter, @exitthelemming).
Platonov, Ivanov and The Seagull will be performed in repertory, 28 September to 14 November. Each play can be seen individually or on trilogy days - Saturdays 10, 17, 31 October and 14 November. These plays are new versions by David Hare; all will be directed by Jonathan Kent (CFT press release). 

ITV has commissioned a fourth series of Mr Selfridge. Regular cast members returning to the next series include Sam, Tom Goodman-Hill, Ron Cook, Amanda Abbington and Amy Beth Hayes (Variety).

Charles Edwards - Richard II, Arthur & George, Blithe Spirit, voiceovers

Charles will play Richard II in a production directed by Simon Godwin at the Globe, 11 July – 18 October. Press night is Wednesday 22 July 2015 (Shakespeare's Globe press office).
Charles has performed at the Globe - he played Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing in 2011. Godwin previously directed Charles in Strange Interlude (National Theatre, 2013) and Wanderlust (Royal Court, 2010).

screencap source: ITV

Arthur & George will be released on DVD 13 April (Amazon). Recent press about the series includes an article from the Birmingham Mail and a review from the Guardian:
"It has been translated sympathetically and successfully to the screen, with fine performances... Charles Edwards as Woodie, Sir Arthur’s manservant/secretary/friend/sidekick, something between Jeeves and … Dr Watson."

Charles has done voiceovers for a book trailer (Dance with Fireflies) and the short film Winds of Change (via hellyescharlesedwards).

screencap sources: SHN and CityTV

The Blithe Spirit North American tour ends in Washington DC at the National Theatre 29 March. The play's official website has further details about tickets.

The following press round up has been categorised by city/theatre.

Washington DC (National Theatre)

  • DC Metro Theater Arts, "Charles Edwards proves a comical delight as Charles, who starts out so suavely composed and sure of himself until these two very different-seeming wives team up to accuse him of having a “weak will.” Edwards shows us the funny side of male vanity, flayed and dissected through the genius of Noel Coward."
  • Baltimore Sun, "Edwards does impeccably timed work that recalls the lighter side of Cary Grant. And he gives Lansbury a run for her money in the department of prismatic facial expressions as things heat up between Wife No. 1 and Wife No. 2..."

San Francisco (Golden Gate Theatre)
SHN video interview

Simon Jones (Dr Bradman) mentions Charles' approach to Noel Coward's dialogue in an interview with Groucho Reviews:
"his approach to Coward dialogue is the most refreshing I’ve ever encountered... the way Charlie delivers his lines has made them entirely conversational. Sometimes he doesn’t even finish a line, like conversations would be. But you know what the word would have been. Or he splits them up in the middle."

  • Bay Area Plays, "some absolutely magical moments, most notably by Charles Edwards, who plays author and socialite fella Charles Condomine with a euphoric and conflicted flair... a dapper and debonair gent, a superb leading man"
  • Edge San Francisco, "As Condomine, Charles Edwards manages to inject his character with a charming (if rather spoiled) boyishness. And, as he veers between feeling tortured by his vying wives and basking in their jealous attention, we can't help but feel sympathy for his plight."
  • The Bay Area Reporter, "As Charles Condomine, Charles Edwards does solid and increasingly interesting work, as the reality of having two wives on the premises turns the character from amiable husband into an increasingly waspish budding misogynist."

Toronto (Princess of Wales Theatre)

  • Stage Door, "His use of pauses or coughs to emphasize a significant word brings out the wit in lines that often are passed over.  His timing is perfect, and he is masterful in detailing Charles’s ever increasing frustration..."
  • Torontoist, "Edwards is superb as the self-satisfied Charles"

Los Angeles (Ahmanson Theatre)

Pictures from press night (Society News LA)

  • Hollywood Reporter, "Edwards conjures equal doses of charm, wit and buffoonery, effortlessly walking the line between suave and silly, and never losing the audience’s sympathy, no matter how self-absorbed his behavior becomes."
  • Neon Tommy, "a nuanced, three dimensional performance from Edwards"
  • Gardena Valley News, "Charles Edwards is perfect as the dashing writer, Charles Condomine... as the Brits would say, “Spot on.”"

    Saturday, 21 March 2015

    Samuel West - After Electra media round up

    After Electra closes 28 March at the Theatre Royal Plymouth. It will also be performed at the Tricycle Theatre 7 April-2 May.


    "Director Samuel West paces the piece beautifully with excellent timing and delivery, balancing laugh-out-loud wit and comedy with passionate declamation and pathos."

    Western Morning News
    "The play is dark and comic and director Samuel West brings his company together like a maestro conducting an orchestra. There is never a dull moment, but the story remains clear and clever."


    Plymouth Herald
    Front Row
    Radio 2 Arts Show (available on iPlayer Radio until late April) - from 6:40
    Devon Life [this interview features Sam and Theatre Royal Plymouth artistic director Simon Stokes]


    Theatre Royal Plymouth - trailer

    whatsonstage - an interview with Sam and playwright April De Angelis

    Theatre Royal Plymouth - April De Angelis and Sam discuss the play

    Saturday, 27 December 2014

    Charles Edwards - Arthur & George, Dracula and Ripper Street

    The first episode of Arthur & George will have a preview screening at BFI Southbank on 25 February. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with Martin Clunes and Hattie Morahan (BFI press release).

    Dracula will be repeated on BBC Radio 4 Extra, starting today at 6pm. Episode 1 will be broadcast again at midnight. The second, and final episode will be broadcast at the same times next week.

    Charles plays Lord Montacute in series 3, episode 6 of Ripper Street, "The Incontrovertible Truth" (IMDB). It is available on Amazon Prime.

    Thursday, 25 December 2014

    Samuel West - Henry V, After Electra, Kreutzer vs Kreutzer

    (screencap sources: the Creative Industries Federation and the Theatre Royal Plymouth)

    Upcoming projects

    Sam will narrate Walton's Henry V with the Minnesota Orchestra, 22-24 January. Mark Wigglesworth will conduct (via

    ITV has released a trailer for the third series of Mr Selfridge, which will premiere in January.

    Sam will direct After Electra, a new play by April De Angelis at the Theatre Royal Plymouth, 12-28 March. The production will transfer to the Tricycle Theatre, 7 April-2 May (via his Twitter, @exitthelemming).The play is a black comedy challenging what it means to be a mother, and exploring how the choices we make can change our lives forever.

    He is the Orator for a BBC Symphony Orchestra concert on 15 May (via @BBCSO).

    The Aurora Orchestra, Katherine Parkinson and Sam will perform Kreutzer vs Kretuzer at the Globe 12 & 13 July (via Digital Spy). Laura Wade's play has been inspired by "The Kreutzer Sonata", a short story by Tolstoy; it features full performances of Beethoven’s Kreutzer Violin Sonata and Janácek’s String Quartet of the same name.
    The work premiered in November 2010, with Sam, Robin McLeavy and the Australian Chamber Orchestra. Richard Tognetti arranged the Beethoven and Janácek works for the Orchestra.

    In April 2016, Sam will perform David Garrick's Jubilee Ode at Holy Trinity Church in Stratford (the Guardian and the University of Birmingham). The performance is part of the 400th anniversary celebrations of Shakespeare's death.

    Recent work

    Sam and fellow Lady Margaret Hall alumni Michelle Paver, Philip Hensher and Cathy Newman competed in a round of University Challenge last Saturday. Click here to watch the episode on iPlayer.

    Britten to America has received a Grammy nomination for Best Classical Compendium (via NMC). The awards will be held 8 February.

    He received an honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of Birmingham on 10 December. He has contributed to the University's Shakespeare Institute by giving classes and donating scripts and notes from his personal archive.

    [the following is a catch up for the past few months...!]

    Sam tweeted about his costume and lighting from the set of The Hollow Crown.

    Patricia Hodge, Lucy Parham and Sam performed Nocturne at the Octagon Theatre in Yeovil on 7 November; Lucy posted a picture of them on Twitter.
    On 8 November, Simon McBurney, Tom Hollander and Sam performed in "The Listening Space", an evening of live music and spoken word. The event raised £10,000 for the St Paul's Steiner School in Islington (Eventbrite via @AntHolden and the Islington Tribune).
    He tweeted the set list from his Bath Mozartfest performance on 9 November.

    Sam read poems by Ian Beck at the launch of Behind the Dusty Glass. Here is a selection of tweets about the launch.

    Sam, director Giles Ramsay and writer Nigel West talked about "The Art of Deception" - the similarities between acting and spying - at the V&A on 21 November. Minna Takala summarised the main topics discussed - click here for her blog post about the event. Also, @lady_aglaya tweeted, "fascinating topic and enjoyable evening".

    He features in a video on the Creative Industries Federation website (via @Creative_Fed). The Federation's members are from various organisations in the UK's creative industries, such as production companies, educational institutions and theatres.

    He attended the 60th London Evening Standard Theatre Awards on 30 November (Getty Images). Winners included Tom Stoppard, Gillian Anderson and Jeremy Herrin.

    Harry Burton shared a picture of Sam and Jason Isaacs on Twitter from a Harold Pinter celebration in September 2009.

    Sam added his pronunciation of "potato" to Ben Crystal's accent map (via @exitthelemming); visited inmates in Pentonville Prison taking the Six Book Challenge (@exitthelemming); and attended the Dinard Film Festival (@mtvnotbullets) and opening night of Uncle Vanya at the St James Theatre.


    (screencap source: BBC)
    The BBC's Daily Politics posted a video of Sam and Mark Wallace speaking about politics and the arts.
    The Labour Arts Alliance organised a panel discussion in Manchester about the impact of the arts on children and young people (Eventbrite via @LabourArts). Panellists included Sam (representing the National Campaign for the Arts) and Jude Kelly (Artistic Director, Southbank Centre). Sam tweeted:
    On a different part of the political spectrum, Sam made a speech, "Does Culture Matter?" at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham. He posted the text of his speech at the artsfunding Ning, as well as some responses to questions at the event, which was organised by the Association of British Orchestras.

    Sam wrote about the painting "A Dance to the Music of Time" by Nicolas Poussin for the Telegraph. The work is part of the Great Gallery in London's Wallace Collection, which reopened after a refurbishment in September.

    @GrouchoLiz posted the text of an article Sam wrote about Hornblower in 1998 (via @exitthelemming).

    Sunday, 23 November 2014

    Samuel West - Shaping the Air on BBC Radio 3

    Sam presents tomorrow's episode of The Essay on BBC Radio 3: Shaping the Air - Writers and Radio. He will explore the role of the actor's voice in performance. Shaping the Air was recorded on 21 October at The British Academy.

    Saturday, 22 November 2014

    Charles Edwards - Blithe Spirit touring North America, Arthur & George, Clarence Derwent Award

    Charles will reprise his role as Charles Condomine in a North American tour of Blithe Spirit, from December until March 2015 (the Hollywood Reporter). The tour begins in Los Angeles (Ahmanson Theatre, 9 December--18 January), followed by performances in San Franciso (Golden Gate Theatre, 20 January-1 February), Toronto (Princess of Wales Theatre, 10 February-15 March) and Washington DC (National Theatre, 17-29 March). The play's official website has further details about tickets.

    Charles has filmed Arthur & George, a three-part adaptation of Julian Barnes’ novel for ITV. Martin Clunes stars as Arthur Conan Doyle and Charles plays Doyle's manservant, Alfred ‘Woodie’ Wood. The cast includes Emma Fielding and Hattie Morahan. Filming locations include the Black Country Living Museum and Cogges Manor Farm (1|2).

    He received a Clarence Derwent Award from Equity for the role of Charles Marsden in Strange Interlude. The awards recognise the best individual male and female performances in supporting role in a production in the West End; previous recipients include Fenella Woolgar, Phil Davis and Timothy West. This year's Awards were presented on Thursday 13 November at the Duke of York’s Theatre. Click here for pictures from the event.

    Tuesday, 28 October 2014

    Samuel West - TV - Fleming and The Hollow Crown

    Fleming will be broadcast as a two-parter on Australian TV. It premieres this Sunday on ABC1 at 8.30pm and concludes next Sunday.

    Sam is currently filming The Hollow Crown. He plays the Bishop of Winchester in Henry VI Part I. The series stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Richard III; other cast members include Hugh Bonneville, Geoffrey Streatfeild and Andrew Scott (BBC Media Centre).

    Thursday, 4 September 2014

    Samuel West - The British on Australian TV, Britten, Advice from the Players

    Sam plays Samuel Pepys in episode 4 of The British, which will be broadcast 7.30pm tomorrow on SBS1.

    He narrates "Prisoner's Monologue" from Britten to America. It featured in Sunday's episode of The Blue of the Night with Eamonn Lenihan. The episode is available to stream; skip to 2:42:30 to hear the track. 

    In mid August, he narrated Executed, a documentary about the death sentence in Britain (via @UnitedVoices_).

    On 21 November, Sam, director Giles Ramsay and writer Nigel West will discuss deception in a talk at the V&A. Tickets for the event can be booked online.

    The Guardian has published an extract from the book Advice from the Players, by Laura Barnett. Harriet Walter and Simon Russell Beale have contributed to the book. Sam has provided suggestions on learning lines and choosing the right drama school. The book will be published 18 September.

    Monday, 18 August 2014

    Charles Edwards - screencaps from Holy Flying Circus

    Click these thumbnails for full size images.