January 29, 2013
Production photos of Quartermaine’s Terms at the Wyndham’s Theatre starring Rowan Atkinson.
Richard Eyre directs Rowan Atkinson (Mr Bean, Blackadder) in Simon Gray’s bitingly witty comedy Quartermaine’s Terms, at the Wyndham’s Theatre until13 April 2013.
Set in the 1960s in an English language school for foreigners, this tragicomedy follows the lives of seven teachers, and is centred on St. John Quartermaine (Rowan Atkinson), a kind, agreeable but hopeless teacher!
A fabulous cast includes Rowan Atkinson, Malcolm Sinclair, Conleth Hill, Will Keen, Felicity Montagu, Matthew Cottle and Louise Ford.
Photos by Roy Tan.
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July 19, 2012
Rowan Atkinson stars in Simon Gray’s quintessentially British 1960′s drama set in an English language school for foreigners.
Written by Simon Gray with his characteristic incisive wit, this tragicomic play is a humourous but ultimately moving account of several years in the lives of seven teachers.
At the heart of the group is St. John Quartermaine (Rowan Atkinson) – kind, pleasant and agreeable, but utterly hopeless as a teacher. An almost permanent feature in the staff room, he’s always available to listen to the problems of his self-obsessed colleagues. But when a new Principal is appointed, Quartermaine’s future looks precarious…
***** “This production represents the West End at its very best: A great play, beautifully directed and acted by an outstanding cast… magnificently funny and deeply touching triumph” Telegraph
Theatre: Wyndham’s Theatre
June 14, 2010
OLIVIER AWARDS – Best Comedy Winners
Best New Comedy
2010 The Priory
2009 God of Carnage
2008 Rafta Rafta
2007 John Buchan’s The 39 Steps adapted by Patrick Barlow from an original concept by Simon Corble and Nobby Dimon
2006 Heroes by Gerald Sibleyras translated by Tom Stoppard
2003 The Lieutenant Of Inishmore by Martin McDonagh
2002 The Play What I Wrote by Hamish McColl, Sean Foley and Eddie Braben
2001 Stones In His Pockets by Marie Jones
2000 The Memory Of Water by Shelagh Stephenson
1999 Cleo, Camping, Emmanuelle And Dick by Terry Johnson
1998 Popcorn by Ben Elton
1997 Art by Yasmina Reza
1996 Mojo by Jez Butterworth
1995 My Night With Reg by Kevin Elyot
1994 Hysteria by Terry Johnson
1993 The Rise And Fall Of Little Voice by Jim Cartwright
1992 La Bête by David Hirson
1991 Out Of Order by Ray Cooney
1989/90 Single Spies by Alan Bennett
1988 Shirley Valentine by Willy Russell
1987 Three Men On A Horse by John Cecil Holm and George Abbott
1986 When We Are Married by J.B. Priestley
1985 A Chorus Of Disapproval by Alan Ayckbourn
1984 Up’N’Under by John Godber
1983 Daisy Pulls It Off by Denise Deegan
1982 Noises Off by Michael Frayn
1981 Steaming by Nell Dunn
1980 Educating Rita by Willy Russell
1979 Middle Age Spread by Roger Hall
1978 Filumena by Eduardo de Filippo, adapted by Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall
1977 Privates On Parade by Peter Nichols
1976 Donkey’s Years by Michael Frayn
Best Comedy Performance
1995 Niall Buggy for Dead Funny
1994 Griff Rhys Jones for An Absolute Turkey
1993 Simon Cadell for Travels With My Aunt
1992 Desmond Barrit for The Comedy Of Errors
1991 Alan Cumming for Accidental Death Of An Anarchist
1989/90 Michael Gambon for Man Of The Moment
1988 Alex Jennings for Too Clever By Half
1987 John Woodvine for The Henrys
1986 Bill Fraser for When We Are Married
1985 Michael Gambon for A Chorus Of Disapproval
1984 Maureen Lipman for See How They Run
1983 Griff Rhys Jones for Charley’s Aunt
1982 Geoffrey Hutchings for Poppy
1981 Rowan Atkinson for Rowan Atkinson in Revue
1980 Beryl Reid for Born In The Gardens
1979 Barry Humphries for A Night With Dame Edna
1978 Ian McKellen for The Alchemist
1977 Denis Quilley for Privates On Parade
1976 Penelope Keith for Donkey’s Years
September 15, 2009
Comedy appears to be a key factor in casting the role of Fagin in Cameron Mackintosh’s multi-million pound production of Oliver! at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.
First Rowan Atkinson was cast in the lead role when the show opened at the Theatre Royal in January this year, followed by current Fagin, Iranian comedian Omid Djalili. And now the producers have announced that TV and stage star Griff Rhys Jones has landed the part of Dickens’ greatest villain.
Griff shot to fame in the late seventies on satirical TV show Not The Nine O’Clock News alongside Rowan Atkinson. No stranger to theatre, he has won Laurence Olivier best comedy awards for his performances in Charley’s Aunt and An Absolute Turkey and has enjoyed great success on stage and TV.
Producer of Oliver! Cameron Mackintosh said, “I’ve wanted to work with Griff for years so I’m delighted that the marvellous role of Fagin has tempted him back to the stage this Christmas. Griff is an actor with an amazing array of successful talents, all of which will undoubtedly be poured into his unique and entertaining interpretation of one of Dickens’ most famous and beloved creations. I can’t wait!”
Griff joins the cast of the Rupert Goold directed show alongside BBC “I’d Do Anything” winner Jodie Prenger, as Nancy and performs from 14 December until June 2010.
September 7, 2009
A round-up of Oliver! reviews
- The Telegraph: 4/5
- The Guardian: 3/5
- The Times: 4/5
- The Independent: 3/5
ON THE MATERIAL
Telegraph: “It’s a travesty of Dickens. It’s absolutely fantastic showbiz.”
Guardian: “Not even the expertise of the staging and a handful of fine performances can disguise the essential thinness of this piece of deodorised musical Dickens…. But although this is sanitised Dickens, Bart manages to write some thumping good tunes and provide scope for individual actors.”
BN: “Bart’s songs may be unsophisticated and the rhymes sometimes feeble (“where oh where is love, does it fall from skies above?”), but they’re so tuneful and put over such elan that last night’s audience rightly cheered Consider Yourself, You’ve Got to Pick a Pocket or Two and several others.”
ON THE CAST
Please note: The role of Fagin is now played by Omid Djalili.
The Stage: “Djalili might not appear to be the most obvious choice for Fagin, but any doubts that miscasting may have taken place are soon put aside. Djalili puts his stand-up comedy skills to great use in scenes where he appears to be ad-libbing, making jokes about politicians’ expenses and the banking crisis, and, as you might expect, he demonstrates perfect comic timing”
Telegraph: “Rowan Atkinson is both sinister and hilarious as Fagin… Jodie Prenger, brings a warmth to the stage you could warm your hands by, and wrings every last ounce of emotion from that deeply dodgy celebration of wife beaters, As Long as He Needs Me.”
Guardian: “Rowan Atkinson turns in a sprightly, distinctive performance… Atkinson also plays up the character’s sexual ambiguity…. If this revival is worth catching, it is largely for Atkinson’s saturnine comic presence. The biggest fuss, of course, has been about the casting of Jodie Prenger as Nancy on the strength of TV’s I’d Do Anything competition. The good news is that she acquits herself extremely well.”
Independent: “He’s funniest when fingering his stolen gems, or kicking his legs above his head in a sideways exit. But he’s not a malevolent, gleeful, stage-hogging, dubiously paedophiliac monster that you long for and Lionel Bart wrote, even if Charles Dickens didn’t. The moment Prenger appears, I’m afraid, the heart sinks. She seems to be hiding from the audience. Her voice is okay, but she can’t act and she doesn’t have the depth of lung power to fill a plastic bag, let alone a West End theatre on a nightly basis.”
Times: “all credit to Atkinson for giving Fagin at least as much menace as Jonathan Pryce and Robert Lindsay, who were superlative in Sam Mendes’s revival of the musical 14 years ago….And did Jodie Prenger, who won the role of Nancy in one of those deplorably sadistic television contests, justify her choice? I must admit she did. Initially she struck me as parading, posturing, performing rather than acting, but she went on to prove herself a tough, coarse, credible presence with a big, robust voice — and that’s all that is needed. “
Mail: “Rowan Atkinson, playing that warped scout master Fagin, was the eyebrow-wriggling, funny-walking, laugh-wringing supremo of the show last night… Jodie Prenger, who won the part of the doomed, decent Nancy in a primetime BBC1 talent show, stands up to the test like a sturdy galleon.”
Mirror: “Jodie Prenger took to the West End stage last night and claimed the bright lights of the big city for her own… Rowan Atkinson brought a touch of Blackadder and Mr Bean to gangmaster Fagin.”
ON THE TECHNICAL
Telegraph: “It seems even more polished this time, even more vigorously and inventively choreographed by Matthew Bourne, even more spectacularly designed. Anthony Ward’s beautiful, multi-level sets are both picturesque and brilliantly ingenious, whirling us round the handsome piazzas and dark alleys of London before taking us underground to Fagin’s lair.”
Guardian: “Goold stages it with fluent efficiency, and Anthony Ward’s sets, with their perspectives of St Paul’s and their sliding bridges, are handsome to look at.”
Independent: “Ward’s designs look better than they did in the Palladium.”
Times: “I can’t say that Rupert Goold, who is credited as the director, does much to reinvent Mendes’s production as I recall it, but he certainly gets plenty of energy out of his cast… [Anthony] Ward makes London a character in its own right: a looming St Pauls, swiftly moving and interlocking alleys, and a very Dickensian murk for Bill Sikes to run through.”
THE LAST WORD
Telegraph: “As most of us get poorer in coming months, this production is going to make producer Cameron Mackintosh even richer. It’s so enjoyable however that I find it impossible to grudge him a penny.”
Guardian: “For the most part, however, this is Dickens as jolly family entertainment stripped of the sense of solitude that has roots in the author’s own experience and that makes Oliver Twist such a disturbing novel.”
Independent: “A masterpiece is restored, but not in its fullest glory.”
Times: “His [Bart's] Oliver! remains as good and revivable as anything he wrote.”
Mail: “It is pointless to say that Sir Cameron Mackintosh has a hit because advance ticket sales are already enormous, but last night’s opening showed that its commercial success is deserved artistically.”
Mirror: “Oliver! is the perfect musical for our credit crunch times, packed with unhealthy school dinners, growing poverty and kids drawn to gang culture and crime. It will steal your heart. Please sir, can I have some more?”
December 30, 2008
If theatre mirrors life then you would expect 2009 to be a bad year for the performing arts in London: economic downturns and credit crunches sound like gloomy news for our discretionary entertainment spending. But West End theatre box office figures have kept on going up in recent years, and the huge number of new productions sailing into town during 2009 could mean that Theatreland manages to buck the trend.
THE GREAT REVIVAL
The RSC, National Theatre, Donmar and Old Vic dominated straight drama in the West End in 2008, and they haven’t finished yet. Big hitters coming to town include Judi Dench and Rosamund Pike in the Donmar in the West End’s Madame de Sade at the Wyndhams; Jude Law offering us his, hopefully fighting fit, Hamlet; Gillian Anderson in Ibsen’s A Doll’s House and Rachel Weisz in A Streetcar Named Desire at the Donmar Warehouse; Helen Mirren making her return to the London stage in Phaedra at the National Theatre; and a number of crowd-pleasing revivals at the Old Vic, no more so than Dancing at Lughnasa, Brian Friel’s hugely successful play starring Andrea Corr, and Sam Mendes directing Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard and Shakespeare’s A Winter’s Tale, both featuring Ethan Hawke, Simon Russell Beale and Sinead Cusack.
Other stars shimmying into town include Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart in Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot at the Haymarket, Ken Stott and Hayley Atwell in Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge at the Duke of York’s, heavy-hitter Pete Postlethwaite as King Lear at the Young Vic, and Antony Sher giving us his Prospero in the RSC’s The Tempest. The Gavin and Stacey phenomenon continues to roll on, as we see Joe Orton’s delicious romp Entertaining Mr Sloane at the Trafalgar Studios starring Gavin himself, Matthew Horne, alongside Imelda Staunton; whilst Gavin’s onscreen Mum Alison Steadman plays a barking Leeds housewife in Alan Bennett’s Enjoy at the Gielgud Theatre.
The sharp eyed amongst you will notice that all of these plays are revivals rather than new work, keeping audiences firmly in their comfort zones. That said, new plays may be thin on the ground but not absent all together, with the National offering up Richard Bean’s England People Very Nice, following two lovers across four centuries, and Samuel Adamson’s Mrs Affleck set in the 1950s. Jez Butterworth has two new plays in pre-production, with comedy Parlour Song at the Almeida and Jerusalem at the Royal Court. Also at the Royal Court, Mark Ravenhill will bring his new play Over There. Plus Hollywood man of the moment James McAvoy is to star in Richard Greenberg’s acclaimed play Three Days of Rain at the Apollo, and at The Old Vic Richard Dreyfuss headlines the world premiere of American playwright Joe Sutton’s new play Complicit, directed by Kevin Spacey.
“BASED ON A FILM”
In musical theatre, 2009 promises to be a year of great big fabulous and familiar shows, surely enough to see us through the dark times? And it’s no coincidence that many of them are based on hugely successful films.
Oliver! will be well and truly steaming ahead through 2009 at the Drury Lane Theatre Royal with Rowan Atkinson and Jodie Prenger; La Cage Aux Folles will continue camping it up at the Playhouse but with Graham Norton taking over from Douglas Hodge; and at the Adelphi Theatre Lee Mead will bow out of Joseph to be replaced by Gareth Gates.
Jason Donovan will be donning the wigs and lip gloss to take us on an Australian power-mince in Priscilla Queen of the Desert at the Palace Theatre. And Sister Act at the London Palladium will be doing its best to recreate the fun of the film, helped along by Whoopi Goldberg as co-producer. And not quite a musical but as good as, Calendar Girls the stage play will up the naked flesh quotient in the West End, starring Patricia Hodge and Lynda Bellingham at the Noel Coward Theatre.
Also in musicals-land the power of reality TV continues to wield its power, with Gareth Gates going into Joseph at the Adelphi Theatre, the X-factor’s Niki Evans continuing in Blood Brothers at the Phoenix, Jodie Prenger in Oliver at the Drury Lane, and Ray Quinn and Danny Bayne in Grease – joined for a limited time by the legendary Jimmy Osmond.
Kids should also see a good year in 2009 with an enormous live theatrical production of Walking with Dinosaurs coming to a stadium near you, and War Horse transfers from its successful run at the National Theatre to the New London Theatre.