George Farquhars 1706 Restoration comedy The Recruiting Officer was Josie Rourke’s first play as the new artistic director at the Donmar Warehouse in 2012. She assembled an impressive cast for this pacy and complicated piece in which big themes (love and war) are presented amid a riot of bed-hopping, social blockades, meddling servants and enticing legacies. Described as an unashamed celebration of love, lustiness and victory in battle and in the bedroom, it was a critical success, ensuring Josie’s tenure at the Donmar got off to a bright start.
On the 12th of April 2012, I managed to get all the cast on my sketch (Nicholas Burns, Nancy Carroll, Mackenzie Crook, Kathryn Drysdale, Mark Gatiss, Gawn Grainger, Tobias Menzies and Rachael Stirling) to sign it – not an easy feat given that there were eight of them leaving through various exits and often at the same time.
Theatre of Blood is a cultish 1973 MGM film that featured Vincent Price as Edward Lionheart, an old, vengeful Shakespearean ham actor and Diana Rigg as his Cordelia -like daughter, Edwina.
Having been robbed of the coveted ‘Critics Cirtcle’ award, Lionheart decides to murder seven critics – each representing one of the seven deadly sins, one by one.
The butchery takes place in a crumbling derelict theatre and each critic’s demise is inspired by the deaths of characters in the plays Lionheart performed in his final season of Shakespeare Titus Andronicus, Julius Caesar, The Merchant of Venice, Troilus and Cressida, Richard III, Othello and Henry VI, Part I.
The National Theatre produced the stage version, which was adapted from the film by British Company ‘Improbable’ with Oscar winner Jim Broadbent playing Lionheart and two time Olivier nominee Rachael Stirling (Diana Rigg’s daughter) playing his daughter Miranda (not Edwina).
The adaption ran at the National’s Lyttleton Theatre between May and September 2005.