Drawing: Nathaniel Parker in An Ideal Husband

Autographed drawing of Nathaniel Parker in An Ideal Husband at the Vaudeville Theatre on London's West End

British actor Nathaniel Parker’s latest West End role is Sir Robert Chiltern, a rising politician with a secret past in the ‘Rolls-Royce of English comedies’, in Oscar Wilde’s AN IDEAL HUSBAND at the Vaudeville Theatre.

Nathaniel was last seen on the London stage in THE HOUSE at the Garrick two years ago and prior to that in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s acclaimed stage adaption of Hilary Mantel’s Booker Prize-winning historical novel WOLF HALL and its sequel BRING UPTHE BODIES at the Aldwych Theatre before it transferred to the Winter gardens on Broadway with a title change WOLF HALL, PARTS 1 & 2 for American audiences. His memorable portrayal of King Henry VIII was recognised with both an Olivier and a Tony Award nomination. TV viewers will be familiar with Nathaniel’s lead role in the BBC crime drama series THE INSPECTOR LYNLEY MYSTERIES and as Lord Agravaine in MERLIN.

Nathaniel signed my sketch for me when he arrived at Vaudeville Theatre stage door on Saturday.

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Drawing: Ben Miles, Nathaniel Parker, Lydia Leonard and Paul Jesson in Wolf Hall / Bring Up The Bodies

Wolf Hall Bring Up The Bodies

After selling out its RSC premiere at Stratford, acclaimed productions of Hilary Mantel’s novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies made their London transfer to the Aldwych Theatre in May. Both plays are running in repertory until September.

The double bill, adapted by dramatist Mike Poulton and directed by Jeremy Herrin, tell the compelling story of the political rise to power of Thomas Cromwell, in the court of Henry VIII. He was Britain’s original working class hero, according to the author.

The adaptions compress 1,246 pages of print into five and a half hours of stage time with the complex interactions of 70 characters, seven of whom are annoyingly called Thomas.

Hilary won the 2009 Man Booker Prize for Wolf Hall, and repeated the success with Bring Up The Bodies in 2012. They are the first two parts of Hilary’s projected trilogy of Henry’s fixer – the third, The Mirror and the Light is currently being written “at haste”, as you read this.

Ben Miles plays Cromwell, Lydia Leonard is Anne Boleyn, Nathaniel Parker as Henry VIII and Paul Jesson as Cardinal Wolsey.

Mark Lawson in The Guardian says: “English ecclesiastical reform was driven by the King’s soul as well as his penis… Henry’s succession needs gave an opening to Protestant plotters in his court.”