Some old fool had been telling me that bringing in Hollywood stars was going to kill off the London stage. He said that some film actors couldn't project their voices enough to be heard and they were having to SHOUT. There was no subtlety in their acting. Oh it was all going to pot.
Well I will state right now that I am a sucker for the star on stage. It is really a great failsafe against a poor night's entertainment if your reminiscences of an actor in something else helps the time pass more quickly in some lame play that's going on in front of you.
Just before Christmas I saw Cillian Murphy, Neve Campbell and Michael McKean in Love Song. It was a poor play. Murphy was good in it, McKean was funny (and funnier because I remembered him in Spinal Tap etc) and Campbell was terrible. But Campbell had been in Scream and Wild Things and that Altman film about the ballet so it was kind of okay.
Likewise Juliette Lewis in Fool For Love. She was pretty bad in that. But the play was short and so she just about got away with it by just being Juliette Lewis. And in any case she hasn't really shown any acting ability since Cape Fear so what did anybody expect.
I went to the Royal Court Theatre on Saturday to see the Seagull. This show is a sell-out. It was so full of stars that I didn't even know that one of the cast was a star until I saw him presenting a BAFTA the following night. There were just too many to consider. Elijah Wood was in the audience. Ralph Fiennes too. Maybe we were the only non-celebrities there.
And it was tremendous. Funny. Moving. Exciting. By far the most vibrant Chekhov I have ever seen. And it didn't matter that they were all stars. And I don't even have to list them here because sometimes actors do what they became famous for in the first place and just act - really well. And when they do that the rest doesn't matter.
So on Thursday I am off to the Donmar Warehouse. Senator Palpatine is taking on Ibsen. I'll let you know if the force is strong.
Kirk Lake is a writer, musician and filmmaker. His published books include Mickey The Mimic (2015) and The Last Night of the Leamington Licker (2018). His films include the feature films Piercing Brightness (2014) and The World We Knew (2020) and a number of award winning shorts.
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