Thursday, 26 November 2015

Charles Edwards - Matchbox Theatre and Waste interviews

Charles, Alex Jennings and Roger Allam are in episode 1 of Michael Frayn's Matchbox Theatre, which premieres on BBC Radio 4 tomorrow (27 November).

He has been interviewed in Official London Theatre and The Stage. In the former, he discusses working at the National Theatre:
"When I started being an actor, being here at the National Theatre was always the goal. Doing All My Sons here in 2000 with Howard Davies directing was one of the biggest thrills. Getting a job at the National. The feeling never abates when you come to work here."

In the latter, he discusses Henry Trebell, the character he plays in Waste:
"He’s used to having to compartmentalise. He’ll have an intensely emotional scene that has to be kept quiet so as not to be heard outside, and then suddenly, the door will be flung open and in comes a big political figure and immediately he’s putting up a front. It’s the switch back and forth, that’s what I love."

Monday, 16 November 2015

Samuel West - Present Laughter, Cancer Research UK Christmas Concert, BAFA Award

Sam will star as Garry Essendine in Present Laughter at the Theatre Royal Bath next year. It will run in the theatre's main house from June 22 to July 9; press night will be on June 29 (The Stage).
The play will be directed by Stephen Unwin, who collaborated with Sam on Henry IV Parts I and II (English Touring Theatre, 1996-1997). This is the second time Sam has played Garry Essendine - in 2013, he played the character in a BBC Radio 4 adaptation of Noel Coward's play.

Tom Hollander, Hugh Bonneville, Penelope Wilton and Sam will read at the Cancer Research UK Christmas Concert, 15 December at St Paul's Cathedral (via his Twitter, @exitthelemming).

He received the BAFA (British Arts Festivals Association) award for Outstanding Contribution to the Arts 2015 (National Campaign for the Arts Twitter, @artscampaign).

Friday, 6 November 2015

Samuel West - After Shakespeare and Philip French

Sam will read from Hamlet at After Shakespeare (D'apres Shakespeare), a concert by the Orchestra of the Opera Rouen Normandie (Opéra de Rouen Normandie via their Twitter @operaderouen). The concert is on 20 November at the Théâtre des Arts.
All works in the program are Shakespeare-themed: incidental music for King Lear by Claude Debussy, The Magic Island by William Alwyn is inspired by The Tempest, King Lear Overture by Hector Berlioz and Hamlet: A Shakespeare Scenario by William Walton.

He contributed to an article in the Observer about the late Philip French (via his Twitter, @exitthelemming).

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Samuel West - Young Chekhov review round up

I have updated my Storify with tweets from the past two weeks about these plays.

The Real Chrisparkle
"Samuel West leads the cast of Ivanov, wonderfully convincing as the self-obsessed, mentally unstable, cruel title character, almost visibly being eaten up by the black dog as he either retreats into inner nothingness or lashes out at those who care about him. I also enjoyed his rather self-effacing Trigorin in The Seagull."
[review of The Seagull] "West makes Trigorin very compelling and attractive, but romantic and simplistic on the one hand and devious and self-serving on the other... West certainly makes a compelling case, producing one of the most rounded and nuanced takes on the role in recent years... a mature and involving performance of great finesse."
[review of Ivanov] "Samuel West is in vital, exhilarating form as the titular trapped thinker. There is no endless shower of hand wringing or endless introspective castigation in West’s performance; rather, he strives to present a portrait of a man refusing to wallow in self-pity, a man trying to find a way forward.
He might be the hero of the piece, but West does not shirk from the darker aspects of Ivanov’s character. Fear, panic, regret and rage are all part of West’s performance and he balances them expertly. His final chilling encounter with his dying wife, Anna, sets up the final tragic moments of the play quite potently. It’s a terrific, endlessly fascinating performance."

British theatre guide
"In the titular role of Ivanov, Sam West is a miserably depressed, melancholy Russian with enormous debts, out of love with his dying wife (touchingly portrayed by Nina Sosanya) and with the infatuation of a young girl, Sasha, adding complications. Not the easiest of roles to play but superbly performed."
"West's Ivanov [is] a riveting portrait of utter emptiness and desolation."

The Guardian
"In Samuel West’s fine performance, Ivanov is a definably tragic hero: a doomed figure intelligent enough to be aware of the danger of surrendering to a Hamletesque melancholy but incapable of preventing it."

The Observer
"Ivanov is sunk in self-loathing, and loathing himself for his self-loathing. Samuel West captures with characteristic restraint the unreachableness of the terminally unhappy."

The Stage
"This inward-looking journey into one man's depression – and its impact on those around him [Ivanov] — is charted with a deeply internalised sense of haunting and haunted despair by Samuel West."

"There’s terrific work from Samuel West as Trigorin [in The Seagull]. He’s a smooth talking, self pitying, shallow man. Ruthless too as Chekhov stresses with the central metaphor of the stuffed seagull (or second rate work of fiction) and Nina’s fate – but West articulates him so clearly and thoughtfully that he becomes a rounded character with whom one occasionally feels some sympathy.

The Independent
"Sam West is unforgettably authoritative as the clinically depressed Ivanov wrestles with the agonising conundrum of depression: how to disentangle what is pitiable, pitiful and pitiless in the contagion of this condition."

Petersfield Post
"Sam West excelled as the melancholic Ivanov, and a writer who knows he is second rate in The Seagull."

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Samuel West - Frankenstein Chronicles, Great Canal Journeys, Iliad

screencap sources: ITV, Almeida, BBC Arts (the images above are thumbnails - click them for full size)

The Frankenstein Chronicles begins next Wednesday (11 November) on ITV Encore (ITV press centre). A trailer and press pack are also available - the latter contains interviews with principal cast members including Sam.

On 14 January, Sam will read from Rudyard Kipling's work at Burgh House & Hampstead Museum (Andrew Lycett's Twitter @alycett1 - Lycett has written a biography about Kipling).


Sam featured in Sunday's episode of Great Canal Journeys. It is available for 28 more days on 4OD.

His Iliad reading is now available online (#49, Almeida Theatre).

In October, Sam spoke about artistic freedom of expression at I'm with the banned, a concert in Belarus Free Theatre's (BFT) tenth anniversary celebrations (their Twitter, @BFreeTheatre). Click here for a video interview with Sam at the event. The BFT also tweeted a picture of him.

Monday, 19 October 2015

Charles Edwards - screencaps from Trying Again

Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 4

Episode 5

Episode 6

Episode 7

Episode 8

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Inclusion, Tipping the Velvet, Measure for Measure

A selection of things I have read and listened to recently.

In the Guardian, Lyn Gardner has suggested that inclusion in theatre is an objective in relation to diversity initiatives. She has quoted Brigid Larmour, artistic director at Watford Palace, "unless we stop talking about changing theatre and start actively doing something, every single day, about bringing about change, we will never move on" and referenced John Dyer, director of Credibility, "diversity is asking people to the party but inclusion is inviting them to dance" (via @actforchangehq).

Sarah Waters and Laura Wade discussed the stage production of Tipping the Velvet on Front Row. and in the Independent. Wade adapted Waters' novel. It is playing at the Lyric Hammersmith until 24 October then will transfer to the Lyceum in Edinburgh, 28 October-14 November.

Romola Garai participated in a webchat on the Guardian website, partly to publicise Measure for Measure, which closes 14 November at the Young Vic. She commented on tokenism:
"I think there should be quotas. I think if you're fielding primetime television with 70% and 80% of the parts being white men, you should probably rethink that. There's a lot of tokenism in film and television, with a poster with three white guys, one black guy, and a woman, and that's equality, and it's not equality."
and how she approaches auditions:
"Remember you're auditioning them. Acting is a collaboration with the director, and it's only a worthwhile job if the director respects you completely as an equal. Go into every audition knowing that you're an equal and expect to be treated as such. And have fun collaborating."

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Samuel West - The Diary of River Song and Young Chekhov

(sources: Big Finish and the Corner Shop PR)

The cover art for The Diary of River Song is now available. This Big Finish audio drama will be released in January (via Sam's Twitter, @exitthelemming).

Production stills for Ivanov and The Seagull can be downloaded from the Corner Shop PR website (via their Twitter, @tcspr). The plays, which are part of the Young Chekhov season at Chichester Festival Theatre, are currently in previews.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Samuel West - Suffragette, Young Chekhov, The Frankenstein Chronicles

Sam and his partner Laura Wade went to the Suffragette UK premiere at the London Film Festival on Wednesday. He has a "small and cross" part in the film. Pictures from the premiere can be viewed at Rex Features and Getty.

He tweeted a picture of the Young Chekhov schedule for last Saturday - all three plays were performed in one day. @AgricolaTheatre, @DanielHermie, @elle_ess, @BazBam (Baz Bamigboye) and @deborahbonham have tweeted their thoughts on Ivanov and The Seagull. These tweets have been added to this Storify:

The Frankenstein Chronicles will be broadcast in the US on A&E (Entertainment Weekly).