Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Samuel West - Morning Heroes, Chekhov, Secret History

The recording of Morning Heroes by Bliss is available for order. It will be released 25 September (MDT).

Sam discusses Ivanov and The Seagull in an interview on the CFT website. He will play the title role in Ivanov and Trigorin in The Seagull. Last week, he tweeted a picture of some books he's using while preparing for The Seagull.
Click here for more info about the Young Chekhov season, which runs September-November.

Secret History: Return of the Black Death was repeated on Channel 4 last week (Sam's Twitter, @exitthelemming). Sam narrated this documentary, which was originally broadcast in 2014.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Artists Against TTIP and Act for Change

I decided to put Artists Against TTIP and Act for Change in a blog post because I noticed that there are some people who are associated with both campaigns: David Morrissey, Juliet Stevenson, Samuel West and Ruth Wilson.

Screencaps of Tobias Menzies, Juliet Stevenson, Andrew Scott and Ruth Wilson from the Artists Against TTIP launch video.

Artists Against TTIP launched in July. TTIP is the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, a treaty aimed at aligning trade laws between the EU and US. In The Stage, Samuel West commented on cosmetic regulations and Carrie Cracknell suggested possible issues with subsidy and copyright.

Click the pictures above to view a selection of videos on the Act for Change Youtube channel.
(Row 1 - Chipo Chung, Indira Varma, Gemma Chan
Row 2 - Ruth Wilson & Danny Lee Wynter, Juliet Stevenson, David Harewood & David Morrissey)

Danny Lee Wynter established Act for Change in 2014, after seeing an ITV trailer which did not feature a single BAME or disabled artist. The organisation aims to improve diversity in UK performing arts, both in performance and behind the scenes.
In June, Shami Chakrabarti (head of civil rights group Liberty), chaired an Act for Change event at the National Theatre. The event had a variety of panellists: actor Adrian Lester, actor/writer Cush Jumbo, director Phyllida Lloyd, critic Mark Lawson, shadow culture secretary Chris Bryant and artistic director Jenny Sealey (BBC News and Samuel West's Twitter, @exitthelemming). Actors Sophia Sinclair, Ayesha Casely-Hayford and Mitesh Soni shared their thoughts on the debate; all have stressed the importance of improving opportunities for people from diverse backgrounds.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Charles Edwards - Florence Foster Jenkins

[updated 17 August]

The film Florence Foster Jenkins is one of Charles' upcoming projects (ambitionmakesmetired via hellyescharlesedwards). It stars Meryl Streep as Jenkins and Hugh Grant as St Clair Bayfield. Jenkins was a socialite who dreamt of becoming a great opera singer and Bayfield was her manager. When Florence decided to give a public concert at Carnegie Hall in 1944, St. Clair knew he faced his greatest challenge - protecting her from the fact that her singing was actually awful (BBC Films).
Director Stephen Frears previously worked with Charles on Philomena.

Samuel West - The Iliad, Suffragette, An Oak Tree

On Friday, Sam and several other actors such as Bertie Carvel, Rory Kinnear, Tobias Menzies, Hattie Morahan, Simon Russell Beale, John Simm and Ben Whishaw, performed in a reading of The Iliad at the British Museum and at the Almeida. The performance was live streamed. A series of podcasts and a making-of film are forthcoming.

Suffragette will open this year's London Film Festival (Prolific North). Sam has described his role in the film as "small and cross" (his Twitter, @exitthelemming). Click below for screencaps of him in the trailer.

He will feature in series 3 of Great Canal Journeys (his Twitter, @exitthelemming). Meanwhile, series 1 is being repeated on Channel 4 from 15 August (Radio Times).

Sam narrates a series of videos on The Road to Agincourt website. He plays the chronicler who wrote Gesta Henrici Quinti, a work about the deeds of Henry V (via the Daily Echo).

In July, he played the Father in An Oak Tree at the National Theatre. The play is a two-hander by Tim Crouch, who plays the Hypnotist. The Father is played by a different guest actor at each performance; at the National, guest actors included John Heffernan, Samuel Barnett and Trystan Gravelle.
Sam tweeted that the play was "Beautiful, useful and never to be forgotten" and Tim tweeted that the performance was "a very special evening." Here is a selection of tweets about the performance:

In May, Sam narrated Morning Heroes by Bliss with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Here is a review round up of the performance.

Music OMH
"Samuel West brought just the right level of philosophical pathos to the words..."

The Guardian

Seen and Heard
"Samuel West struck just the right balance of eloquence and dignity of delivery..."

The Arts Desk
"Most personal and affecting were the work’s prologue and epilogue, calling upon Sam West with subtly scored orations of Hector’s Farewell to Andromache and Owen’s Spring Offensive."


A few days ago, We Love Hackney tweeted a picture of Sam at a campaign launch - the local council is planning to restrict opening hours of clubs and music venues.

In July, Sam received an honorary degree from the University of East Anglia (BBC). The audio from his speech is here. He also tweeted a picture of himself from the ceremony.
Voices for the Library shared a piece by Sam about why he values his local library (via their Twitter @VftL_UK).
The Southbank Centre tweeted a picture of Sam reading at a Make Apartheid History event. Excerpts from the readings have been posted on Youtube (via Artists for Palestine).

Sam participated in a march against austerity in London 20 June (@fugueur). Participants opposed public sector cuts in areas such as welfare, health and education (ABC).

Monday, 10 August 2015

Samuel West - The Book of Disquiet, Chekhov, writing

[updated 20 August]

Sam will perform in the UK and US premieres of The Book of Disquiet by Michel van der Aa. It will be performed at Montclair State University 21-24 January and the Southbank Centre 24-25 February.

Last week, Sam rehearsed for the Young Chekhov season then went to a night shoot for Mr Selfridge!

Sam wrote about Caryl Churchill in the Telegraph. His article suggests that her plays continue to be revived because of their humanity and inventive qualities. He also reflects on his experience of performing in two of her plays, A Number and Drunk Enough to Say I Love You?
Howard Brenton, a contemporary of Churchill, wrote The Romans in Britain. Sam wrote the foreword for a new edition of the play (@exitthelemming). Sam directed it in Sheffield in 2006.

Sam's reading of Brighton Rock is seventh on the Telegraph's list of the 20 best audiobooks of all time, "The splinter of ice that Greene declared at the heart of a writer has lodged in West’s voice to sinister effect." This list was published in May.

In April, Dermot Murnaghan interviewed Sam on Sky News (transcript is here). They spoke about arts funding in relation to the election manifestos (via the NCA Twitter @artscampaign - Sam is the chair of this organisation).

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Samuel West in W1A

Sam plays Richard Cartwright in series 2, episode 1 of W1A. These screencaps are thumbnails - click them for full size.

The Independent mentioned him in its review of the episode:
"The Royal strand brings the welcome addition to the cast of Samuel West – in full just-eaten-a-wasp mode as Clarence House’s head of security."
Similary, various tweets have described his performance as deadpan and hilarious.

Friday, 7 August 2015

A convergence of blog people

Also known as Waste by Harley Granville Barker. Was pleasing to see that it wasn't just me who noticed that Charlie will star in and Sam has directed this play. Charlie will play Henry Trebell in a production directed by Roger Michell at the National Theatre; Sam directed the play at the Almeida in 2008.


In addition, they have various characters in common:
and this is probably getting tangential - they have featured in Midsomer Murders (separately) and A Midsummer Night's Dream (playing different characters); they were also in Longitude and Mr Cinders.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Samuel West - Jonathan Strange on Australian TV, Kreutzer vs Kreutzer, various interviews

Upcoming broadcasts
Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell will have its Australian premiere Thursday 6 August on BBC First.

Faust will be repeated on BBC Radio 3 from today. Sam stars as Faust; Toby Jones plays Mephisotopheles and Anna Maxwell Martin plays Gretchen.
Armstrong and Miller will also be repeated from today, on BBC Radio 4 Extra.


Production photo from Kreutzer vs Kreutzer (source: @ThomasGouldVLN)

Violinist Thomas Gould, members of the Aurora Orchestra, Katherine Parkinson and Sam performed Kreutzer vs Kretuzer at the Globe 12 and 13 July. Aurora violist Max Baillie performed Janáček on a viola that belonged to Janáček (Aurora Orchestra on Facebook).
Thomas tweeted pictures from the performance here. Sam and Katherine discussed the production and performed a couple of excerpts on In Tune on BBC Radio 3; the interview is available for one more week (it begins at 56 minutes). Here are some reviews and tweets about the play:

The Guardian
"Laura Wade’s brilliant two-hander Kreutzer vs Kreutzer... the ever watchable Katherine Parkinson and Samuel West, enact the quick-fire, quick-witted but potent dialogue with supreme ease and sense of pace...This nimble, sensitive study of the impact of music was revelatory as well as enthralling. Alas it was only on for two nights. Now a tour?"  [Sam tweeted, "Positive thoughts for continued life after that..."]

Financial Times
"The interplay between the understated performances of the actors and impassioned delivery of the musicians makes you listen more precisely to both words and music."


A few interviews: Sam discussed After Electra in West Hampstead Life and arts funding in the Equity magazine (via The Stage) and the Independent.

Charles Edwards - Waste at the NT and the short film Yellow Fever

Charles will play Henry Trebell in Waste at the National Theatre (via The Stage). Previews begin 3 November and press night is 10 November. It is booking until 16 January with additional performances to be announced (National Theatre press release). This will be directed by Roger Michell. His theatre credits include Rope (Almeida) and Betrayal (Donmar Warehouse).

hellyescharlesedwards posted a clip from the short film Yellow Fever (1998). Raymond Yeung directed the film, which was screened at the 1999 BFI London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival and won the Audience Award in Madrid Lesbian and Gay Film Festival (BFI player and SIFF). The film can be viewed on Frameline.

Charles Edwards - Richard II

Charles plays the title role in Richard II at The Globe until 18 October.

The production is also in the 2016 Globe on Screen season, which will be screened in selected cinemas internationally (The Globe press office).

This media round up contains review excerpts, links to interviews with Charles and an updated Storify.


John Morrison
"The test of any actor in this role is how he handles the transformation from powerful inhuman monarch to terrified human prisoner at the end of the play, and Edwards meets this challenge magnificently."

The Guardian
"a highly accomplished performance and movingly graduates into tragedy in the final act."

Evening Standard
"he sensitively conveys Richard’s descent from arrogant mockery — when he banishes his cousin Bolingbroke and the obstinate Duke of Norfolk — into an inept vulnerability that contrasts with Bolingbroke’s shrewdness and populism."

Official London Theatre
"The wonderful Charles Edwards, who deserves to be a household name he’s so regularly brilliant, again delivers a sterling performance. He creates a childish Richard with a jaunty arrogance and the absolute confidence of entitlement that is briefly disturbed in ripples to reveal non-regal frailty."

The Times (24 July)
"as the gilded monarch presiding over an England hurtling towards bankruptcy and insurrection,
Charles Edwards is wholly absorbing, dangerously convinced that he was born to rule and besotted with his own glittering, hollow majesty."

The Independent
"Charles Edwards’s excellent Richard ... the actor portrays the king as effete but not effeminate and brings a lovely light touch to the black comedy of Richard’s blithe self-centredness."

The Stage
"His is a compelling performance. He is confident of his status, ermined and purpled as he is, yet also deeply consciousness of the way the world views him; when he crouches on the ground to talk about the death of kings, he makes himself small, vulnerable, revealing something of the man beneath."

"Edwards, a really fine actor, now proves himself a great one: his Richard describes, more acidly and more exactly than any Richard since the great Ian Richardson/Richard Pascoe alternating pairing of the king and Bolingbroke, his journey into self-knowledge without self-pity or weepiness."

Time Out
"Edwards’s performance as Shakespeare’s doomed monarch is about as close to down to earth as it gets.it’s a heartbreaking moment when Richard is overcome when a wooden toy held by the little king at the start of his life is reintroduced to the grown man toward the end. A human and entertaining night of tragedy."

From rehearsals (Official London Theatre)

Radio 2 Arts Show with Claudia Winkleman - this is available on iPlayer for 3 more weeks
"His Royal Ascent", The Sunday Times, 26 July
The Globe - audio interviews from rehearsals