sun 25/08/2019

Theatre Interviews

theartsdesk Q&A: Dramatist Lee Hall

Hilary Whitney

Like his most famous creation, Billy Elliot, Lee Hall left his native North East to pursue what turned out to be a glittering career in the arts. Although I can’t speak for the fictitious Billy, Hall has certainly never forgotten his working-class roots, which continue to inform and inspire his work.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Director Mike Leigh

Jasper Rees

There is somewhere called Leighland, where people may be ineffably sad or existentially cheerful, old or young, live in a high rise or a semi. But they are all recognisably inhabitants of the world famously conjured up over a long period of clandestine development in the now time-honoured fashion. Nothing and everything changes in the work of Mike Leigh (b 1943).

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Q&A Special: On Recreating South Pacific

Jasper Rees

It was early in 1949. South Pacific, the follow-up to Rodgers and Hammerstein’s huge wartime hit Carousel, had entered the try-out phase before hitting New York.

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Q&A Special: Magician Paul Kieve

Jasper Rees 'You are flying by the seat of your pants': Paul Kieve on stage illusion

Hollywood has turned the special effect into a birthright for a generation of movie-goers. “How did they do that?” is no longer a question you hear in the multiplex. In the theatre it’s another thing entirely. Whatever the reception for the show in its entirety, the musical version of The Lord of the Rings did contain one remarkable illusion in which Bilbo Baggins vanished before the audience’s eyes. Even...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Director Emma Rice

Hilary Whitney

Based in a collection of barns on a cliff top near Mevagissey on the south Cornish coast, Kneehigh theatre company has always looked defiantly away from London and out towards the sea and the wider world. This streak of independence runs right through the heart of the company, which produces extraordinarily inventive, highly visual and sometimes surreal work that has been seen all over the world, from Australia to Colombia to Broadway and, yes, the West End.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Writer/Director David Leland

Hilary Whitney David Leland: 'There was a lot of me in Trevor. I was getting rid of a lot of anger in my system about what I went through in terms of education - or lack of it'

David Leland (b 1947) has worked extensively both sides of the Atlantic but he is best known, both as a writer and a director, for his shrewd observations of ordinary people struggling against the constraints and hypocrisy of the accepted social mores of English life in films such as Mona Lisa (1986), Personal Services (1987) and Wish You Were Here (1987). However, it was Made in Britain (1982), a television play written by Leland for Channel 4 and...

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Q&A Special: Actor Nigel Lindsay

Jasper Rees

His only previous visit to musical theatre was as Nathan Detroit in the Donmar’s West End production of Guys and Dolls. And now Lindsay sits in the sumptuous dressing room – it feels more like a small flat – at Drury Lane once occupied, he is proud to note, by the likes of Rex Harrison. The first role in which he caught the eye was as Mugsy, the eternally optimistic victim in Patrick Marber’s poker play Dealer’s Choice.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Actor Christopher Eccleston

Hilary Whitney

Christopher Eccleston’s performances have a raw-boned, visceral quality which makes him a sometimes unsettling - but always compelling - actor to watch.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Artist/Dramatist John Byrne

graeme Thomson

"I’m very hard to categorise,” says John Byrne (b 1940), tugging at his magnificent moustache. A restless, defiant, shape-shifting polymath who was an exponent of multimedia long before computers ruled the world, Byrne's singular career is perhaps doomed to gentle underappreciation simply because he can do so much so well. “If you’re hard to categorise they don’t like that." He peers into his coffee as though looking for something. "Whoever 'they' are.”

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Q&A: Playwright Nick Dear on Adapting Frankenstein

theartsdesk

It is one of the most hotly anticipated new productions at the National Theatre in years, for which all but day seats have long since been sold out. Danny Boyle has been lured back to the stage to direct a version of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

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