Mark Rylance is on a roll and next up is a starring role in London and Broadway comedy La Bete
Life must feel pretty good for Mark Rylance. Over a long and distinguished career he has moved with some grace and lots of eccentric style from accomplished actor, writer, director and artistic director to veritable national treasure.
His performance as Johnny “Rooster” Byron in Jez Butterworth’s Jerusalem has proved nothing short of a theatrical revelation, with audiences and critics queuing up to praise him and awards ceremonies falling over themselves to hand over their honours (Olivier, Evening Standard and Critics’ Circle awards included).
Now that his stint in Jerusalem has finished – at least until he takes it to Broadway in the Spring – he is moving on to another small, low-profile project, this time starring alongside Frasier’s David Hyde Pierce and acting goddess Joanna Lumley in a glitering London and Broadway revival of David Hirson’s comedy La Bete.
Other recent acting success for Rylance includes Samuel Beckett’s Endgame at the Duchess Theatre and his Tony award-winning role in Boeing-Boeing in the West End and on Broadway. He was Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre for ten years and his work as an actor included the title roles in Henry V and Hamlet as well as Cleopatra in Antony and Cleopatra and Olivia in Twelfth Night. Other work includes a number of RSC and the National Theatre productions as well as roles at the Donmar Warehouse and the Royal Court. In the West End he played Benedict in Much Ado about Nothing directed by Matthew Warchus, for which he won the Olivier Award for Best Actor. Film and TV work includes The Other Boleyn Girl, Prospero’s Books and The Government Inspector for which he won the BAFTA Best Actor Award for his role as David Kelly.
Ian Rickson, director of Jerusalem, said of Rylance that he is, “steeped in symbolism, imagination and ritual. There are very few actors who are able to be male and also have a poetic dimension.”
La Bete will be directed by Matthew Warchus and will preview from 26 June at the Comedy Theatre in the West End, playing until 4 September, and will then transfer to Broadway.