Described as one of Britain’s more eclectic actors, Dominic Cooper returns to the London stage as the legendary 17th Century poet and Restoration rebel the John Wilmot who’s appetite for excess is chronicled in the revival of Stephen Jeffrey’s THE LIBERTINE at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. Last seen seven years ago at the National Theatre in PHEDRE, opposite Helen Mirren, where he also played Dakin in Alan Bennett’s THE HISTORY BOYS at the National in 2004, transferring to the Broadway production and then an International tour, including Sydney, Wellington and Hong Kong. He also repeated the role in the 2006 film version.
Directed by Tony and Olivier Award winner Tony Johnson, THE LIBERTINE is a portrait of debauchery and self-destruction, chronicling the exploits of the 2nd Earl of Rochester, the notorious willy-wagging rake, boozer and frenemy of King Charles II who died from his sins at the young age of 33. He wrote some of the most distinctive poetry of the 1670’s, sweetly versified, pungently phrased prose about premature ejaculation, impotence and the love of a young woman for an older man.
“You will not like me,” Dominic tells the audience in his opening monologue, clearly not the case, judging by the popular reaction of patrons and press alike.
Dominic signed my sketch on arrival at the theatre for Saturday’s matinee.