‘Two Queens. One in power. One in prison. It’s all in the execution’ …and two exceptional actresses, Juliet Stevenson and Lia Williams.
After a sell-out run at the Almeida Theatre, Robert Icke’s new adaption of MARY STUART transferred for a limited run at the Duke of York’s in London’s West End. The political tragedy verse play by Friedrich Schiller, which premiered in 1800 depicts the last days of Mary, Queen of Scots and Elizabeth I. Both Juliet and Lia played alternated the roles of the two Queens depending on who called heads or tails.
“Lia Williams and Juliet Stevenson switch roles at the toss of a coin to play the warring queens in Robert Icke’s explosive production,” wrote Susannah Clapp in her five-star Guardian review. Both signed my drawing at the stage door before the run ended on Saturday.
The much-lauded ancient Greek tragedy ORESTEIA’s transfer from North London’s small Almeida Theatre to the Trafalgar Studios in the West End ended on Saturday. Once again I left it to the final curtain (well, final day) to get a sketch signed, with more than the usual obstacles in the way.
This is a sharp contemporary production of Aeschylus’s trilogy. The play is nearly four hours long so the matinee starts at 1pm. I had this drawing of the two leads; Lia Williams as Klytemnestra and Angus Wright as Agamemnon for some time and had tried on a couple of occasions to get it ‘graphed. From that I gathered that both went in earlier than the rest of the cast so I stationed myself at the stage door around 10.30am.
Right: obstacles. Firstly, preparations for the Rememberance Sunday service on Whitehall, where the Studios are located, were underway. There were the usual access restrictions, but this was insurmountable. Secondly, two large removal vans were parked outside the stage door for the removal of the set and associated production paraphernalia after the evening’s performance, blocking the entire street (well backs alley). These proved to be more “visual obstacles” as the cast could slip by unnoticed. Thirdly, it was raining cats and dogs, and elephants and giraffes, in fact a veritable weather zoo. The Trafalgar stage door has little cover, but its redeeming feature is a small covered corridor leading to the internal door. That proved a sig-saver.
Having built you up with all these potential problems, Lia and Angus arrived together at 11am and both signed in the said redeemable covered corridor so I could have written this in two sentences, but where’s the fun in that… it’s a Greek tragedy after all.
Ian Rickson’s classy revival of Pinter’s cryptic play Old Times had a limited (Jan-April) engagement at the Harold Pinter theatre in London earlier this year. Locked away in a secluded farmhouse, Kate, Deeley and Anna reminisce about early days together in London. But, with conflicting memories and underlying sexual tensions, the past suddenly feels vividly present.
Kristin Scott Thomas and Lia Williams alternated the role of Kate and Anna with Rufus Sewell playing Deeley. All three were happy to sign my sketch after a Saturday evening performance. In fact, Rufus even picked my New Zealand accent, and didn’t call me ‘Australian’ as is often the case