Kevin Kline collected his third Tony Award for last year’s Broadway revival of Noel Coward’s classic comedy PRESENT LAUGHTER at the St James Theatre. His previous successes were in the 1978 original production of ONTHE TWENTIETH CENTURY and in the 1981 revival of THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE.
With an Academy Award for his supporting role in A FISH CALLED WANDA, five Golden Globe, two Emmy and BAFTA nominations, he is no stranger to the Awards circuit. I did this quick montage of Kevin, incorporating him as the ageing matinee idol Garry Essendine in PRESENT LAUGHTER, the fat knight Falstaff in HENRY IV and the title role in CYRANO DE BERGERAC, the talented cadet with the enlarged proboscis and sent it to him at the St James Theatre last May. It took a while to come back, but well worth the wait.
Swansea native Des Barrit is known for his comedic stage performances such as Bottom, Falstaff, Toad and the Antipholus twins in A COMEDY OF ERRORS for which he won the Olivier in 1992. His latest West End outing is as Hugh, the gay best friend of Stockard Channing’s character Kristin in Jamie Lloyd’s revival of APOLOGIA at the Trafalgar Studios. Although a compelling and at times tense family drama, Des once again punctuates the pathos with humour and most of the funniest lines, “Kristin is to diplomacy what I am to heterosexuality,” to quote one example.
I drew this montage of Des, including his 2002 Olivier-nominated role as Falstaff in HENRY IV Parts 1 & 2 at the Theatre Royal Bath and W.H. Auden in the National’s A HABIT OF ART, which he signed after a Saturday evening performance I was lucky enough to see a couple of weeks ago.
The Guardian’s esteemed critic Michael Billington writes that the Royal Shakespeare Company’s current production of the Bard’s two Henry plays at London’s Barbican Centre contains a ‘major, magnificent and magnetic performance from Antony Sher as Falstaff, the comic sack-soaked carouser, coward and companion to Price Hal. It is something we have come to expect from an actor who never gives any role less than his all.
Winner of two Laurence Olivier Awards in 1997 for his portrayal of British painter Stanley Spencer in Stanley and in 1985 for his towering break-through performance as the title character in Richard III. In the latter, Sir Antony propelled himself around the stage on two giant crutches (as a result of his own injury,adding authenticity to his portrayal) which Billington rates along with Olivier’s 1955 film version as the best he has seen. It was a performance that ‘still haunts me’, he said.
Gregory Doran’s Henry, Parts I & II -‘A sublime blend of fathomless gloom and mad merriment’ continues at the Barbican until 24 January.
Roger Allam was the original Javert in the London production of Les Misérables – one of his many high profile parts in an illustrious theatrical career, which has included winning three Olivier Awards.
He signed this sketch at Shakespeare’s Globe in October 2010, playing the role of Falstaff in Henry IV Parts 1 and 2 for which he won the Olivier Award for Best Actor. He is currently back on stage at the Globe playing Prospero in The Tempest and on the telly as Magister Illyrio Mopatis in the popular Game of Thrones.