My blog has quite a lot of posts about Samuel West (Julius Caesar, On Chesil Beach and Darkest Hour) and Charles Edwards (My Fair Lady Australian tour and Henry IX).

Friday, 2 November 2007

Theatre - Cloud Nine

[updated 8 March 2014]

This review round-up focuses on James Fleet, Tobias Menzies and Nicola Walker.

"...Tobias Menzies is remarkably subtle as Harry Bagley, the gung-ho, intrepid explorer whose public persona is at war with his hush-hush homosexuality. Bagley is not the richest role in the play, but Menzies brings out gravitas beneath the comedy by showing the pain and strain of Harry's position.

Nicola Walker's Edward also allows auds to see the confusion underpinning the behavior of a boy who cannot live up to his father's (double) standards..."

Reviews Gate
"...The cast are resoundingly excellent. Tobias Menzies is utterly convincing as British explorer Harry Bagley (desired by men, women and children alike) and the downtrodden husband of the second act..."

"...It is the acting, in Sharrock's production, that redeems all deficiencies...James Fleet is wonderful..."

"...beautifully modulated and cannily cast production..."

"...there is still a wicked pleasure in watching James Fleet's patriarch, Clive, banging on about the way women are "dark like this continent, mysterious". Fleet's revulsion at discovering his best friend, the romantic explorer Harry Bagley, is homosexual is also a joy to behold...Nicola Walker moves perfectly from white-suited colonial boy to independent granny championing masturbation in plummy, upper-class tones... Tobias Menzies also brings exactly the right air of insouciant arrogance to both an imperial adventurer and a manipulative modern husband..."

What's On Stage
"...The play resounds with such witty echoes and carefully finessed acting..."

"...Nicola Walker is superb as the neurotic child Edward, and she transforms into a wonderfully clipped, domineering Betty for Act II. James Fleet (Clive) is a bluff, gruff paterfamilias and then a sweet five-year-old girl in a pink frock..."

"...James Fleet, as the furtively unfaithful Clive, excels in the ramrod hauteur of the stereotypical empire-builder while signalling in sly sideways glances the guilty look of the arch hypocrite...

Nicola Walker shines as the subjugated young Edward, carrying the weight of patriarchal expectation on his far from manly shoulders, before gloriously emerging in the second half as an imperious, neurotic matriarch, back from Africa and adrift in the permissive society.

Tobias Menzies is also a tense-faced delight as Harry, adventurer and closet homosexual in Act One, reappearing later as an abject, wheedling but slyly manipulative modern husband..."

Evening Standard
"...the superlative, versatile ensemble of actors..."

London Theatre Guide
"... [Thea] Sharrock’s production is a fast-paced orgy of intentional confusion, in which the cast’s finely tuned character-swapping and cross-dressing link the two eras as well as providing much humour. Fleet in Act Two playing toddler Cathy – with pink dress, hair bow and moustache – is certainly bizarre, but strangely believable..."

The Stage
"...this play is an absolute joy for both actors and audience..."

Broadway World
Press night party (wooller.com)
Almeida Theatre website

Screencaps from the trailer

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