Tag Archives: y: 2016

Carols in the City (2016)

Rupert took part in the Carols in the City fundraising event for Marie Curie, at Southwark Cathedral on the evening of 6 December.

It was a spectacular evening, with beautiful music from the choir Canticum and soprano Milly Forrest and baritone Roderick Williams. The lovely Ian McNeice was a last-minute addition to the readers, and he did a great rendition of the poem ‘Advent 1955’ by John Betjeman.

Rupert gave not just one but two readings. One was ‘Christmas Goose’, a short excerpt from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. The other was the poem ‘Christmas Thank Yous’ by Mick Gowar – which he was due to perform last year, though he wasn’t able to attend in 2015.

… one murmur of delight arose all round the board, and even Tiny Tim, excited by the two young Cratchits, beat on the table with the handle of his knife, and feebly cried Hurrah!

The Norwegians (2016)

On 16 November, Rupert did a ‘rehearsed reading’ of The Norwegians, a comedy by C. Denby Swanson, with London-based theatre company Go People.

Links:

I managed to ask Rupert about it when I saw him after Carols in the City, and he said the reading had been a one-off thing – a trial, as it were – which may or may not come to anything.

I also asked Go People for more info, and they kindly replied to say:

This wasn’t a public performance, but rather a reading for industry professionals interested in developing the play further.

Glad to hear you’re as much of a fan of Rupert as we are!

Let’s keep our fingers crossed for a full production, as it seems like fun!

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People Just Do Nothing (2016)

Rupert plays record exec Joshua in this episode of People Just Do Nothing, in which he is basically ambushed in his office and forced to listen to awful music.

  • Episode: 302 Record Deal
  • Broadcast: 24 August 2016
  • Director: Jack Clough
  • Links: BBC Three; IMDB; Wikipedia.

This episode is currently available on BBC iPlayer.

The following screen captures were taken without permission, but with a whole lot of love.

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He’s allowed to break the fourth wall, as this is all being filmed reality-tv style.
Mostly added for the shoes! Love the shoes and jeans... Not so sure about the cardigan...
Mostly added for the shoes! Love the shoes and jeans… Not so sure about the cardigan…

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No, he really doesn't think so... 'Security!'
No, he really doesn’t think so… ‘Security!’
Just a bit of lip-smacking goodness there...
Just a bit of lip-smacking goodness there…

Post-show talk at the Theatre Royal, Bath for ‘While the Sun Shines’ (2016)

I was delighted to be able to attend the post-show talk this evening, after another hilarious couple of hours with this play – this ‘farce with a heart’. All the cast attended, which was marvellous – very generous of them indeed. I am not sure who the host was, but I assume he was associated with the Theatre Royal. There were plenty of questions from the audience, who seemed really engaged with the whole thing.

Alexandra, Rupert, Tamla, Nicholas, Jonathan and Rob (with apologies to the host on the left, and Michael to the right).
Alexandra, Rupert, Tamla, Nicholas, Jonathan and Rob (with apologies to the host on the left, and Michael to the right).

The first topic raised was the fact that this play is so unfamiliar to us. It was very successful at the time it was first produced, but has virtually disappeared since. This production has been so successful, no one can quite explain why the play has been so neglected – unless it was seen as being too much ‘of its time’. We can’t even say that once the war was over, audiences didn’t want to revisit the subject, because Rattigan’s other war-related plays continued to be produced.

An audience member asked whether it was easy to slip into such ‘antique roles’. Michael Cochrane (the Duke) immediately explained that he was antique himself. Jonathan Dryden Taylor (the Butler) said, somewhat more seriously, that Rattigan was a great writer. The characters are well delineated, and there are clues to the characters throughout the play. It’s all in the writing.

Rob Heaps (the Englishman) said that they’d spent their first rehearsal day actually in The Flat in Albany, where Rattigan had written and set the play. The owner was moving out at the time, so the place was bare, but there were two bottles of wine awaiting them. This all seemed to kick-start the process nicely!

Another audience member said that Rattigan’s plays tend to be known for repressed emotions and sadness. Were these things to be found in this play as well, even if buried deep? It was agreed that there are genuinely touching moments, and given the war-time setting, it was understandable that the characters wanted to make hay while the sun was still shining. It was also suggested that the jokes only work because there is real emotion behind them.

The seven characters are all stereotypes (as I’m indicating, a little facetiously, with my designations), so how do the actors approach making them human? I think it was Nicholas Bishop (the Frenchman) who said that they attempted from the first to rehearse as if the characters were not stereotypes. He said that director Christopher Luscombe was particularly firm on this. However, Nicholas added that farce and satire works on stereotypes, so in some ways you just have to go with it.

Continue reading Post-show talk at the Theatre Royal, Bath for ‘While the Sun Shines’ (2016)

While the Sun Shines (2016)

This play by Terrence Rattigan was written in 1943, and is set in that period – in the latter parts of the Second World War when London was awash with Allied soldiers not to mention a sailor or two. The action takes place over a 24-hour period, in Lord Harpenden’s chambers in ‘Albany’, a fancy apartment block off Piccadilly in London. The production was directed by Christopher Luscombe.

Alexandra Dowling as Lady Elizabeth and Rupert as Lt Mulvaney. Photo by Tristram Kenton
Alexandra Dowling as Lady Elizabeth and Rupert as Lieutenant Mulvaney. Photo by Tristram Kenton

Rupert plays an American lieutenant, Joe Mulvaney, who befriends the Earl of Harpenden (Rob Heaps) and becomes involved in various ways with the two women in Lord Harpenden’s life, Lady Elizabeth Randall (Alexandra Dowling) and Mabel Crum (Tamla Kari). Mix in a butler, Elizabeth’s father, and a French lieutenant, and the laughs are guaranteed.

The show was very funny, and amusing throughout, even when it became clear that hearts and future happiness were at stake. The set was gorgeously detailed. All the cast were great, and Rob was particularly touching in the early-morning scenes when he seems to have lost everything.

Rupert was his usual superb self, of course. He’s just too good at these romantic and comic roles! Not to mention that we get to see rather more of him than I’ve seen thus far … bonus!

It’s a really fun evening, and I’d recommend going if you’re at all interested.

I said hello to Rupert afterwards at the stage door, and he was his usual charming self. ♥ He is in the process of switching agents to Curtis Brown, though he’s not listed there yet. I also noticed that the theatre programme lists Rupert as appearing in People Just Do Nothing, a BBC 3 show. He said that it was only a couple of scenes – but that’s something new to watch out for. Hurrah!

Reviews

the American Lieutenant Mulvaney, played by Rupert Young (who is like a young Liam Neeson)Nancy Connolly at the Bath Chronicle

very enjoyable summer holiday fare. Yes, it’s a period piece, but a good one. Thoroughly enjoyable. Mike Witton at Stage Talk Magazine

In this flurry of crossed-wires and mistaken identities Rattigan shows himself as a versatile writer and farceur. For those who have only caught his darker works, this is a welcome breath of fresh air.  Marion Sauvebois at the Swindon Advertiser

Rupert Young is excellent as Lieutenant Mulvaney, playing to the full the role of a stereotypical Yank bowled over by meeting English royalty, comically matched by his rival in love Lieutenant Colbert, played with Gallic passion and cod-French accent by Nicholas Bishop. Jackie Chappell at Listomania Bath

Rob Heaps’s charmingly puppyish Bobby is a cheerfully ineffectual individual who after four years in the Navy has failed to become an officer and who sees nothing wrong in his butler tying up his boots each morning, much to the incredulity of Rupert Young’s down-to-earth Joe. … Heaps is ceaselessly endearing as BobbyClaire Allfree in The Telegraph

The Telegraph review makes a great deal of Bobby’s uselessness, but I think his kindness, decency and cheerfulness more than outweigh these considerations. Just because the world was in transition to a more merit-based notion of leadership doesn’t mean that all the old-fashioned values need be thrown out with the bath water. I thought it also counted in Bobby and Elizabeth’s favour that they were perfectly prepared to do war-work and serve their country in rather more humble roles than they might have expected. (It’s worth noting that neither of them make use of her father’s Old Boys’ Network.) Not doomed, I think, when they are adjusting to change and accepting new roles.

… an utterly glorious, hilarious ride from start to finish, bringing a beautifully-directed ensemble cast together in perfect harmony and earning a big shiny gold star for director Christopher Luscombe, who has skilfully revived one of Rattigan’s lesser-known comedies with an invigorating blast of fresh air. All the action takes place in the young Earl of Harpenden‘s apartment in Albany, London (interestingly enough, the luxurious set is an exact replica of Rattigan’s actual apartment, in which Rattigan wrote the play). Melissa Blease in The Bath Magazine

The proceedings unfold over 24 hours in the Albany “chambers” of Bobby, the young Earl of Harpenden.  It’s the eve of his wedding and the show kicks off with a tease when, naked but for a bed-cover, a strapping American officer, Joe Mulvaney, emerges from the bedroom.  All innocent, of course. … it’s delectably droll to watch the whole chaotic sexual license of wartime exemplified by these rather tidily choreographed shenanigans. Romantic rivals who share a chaste bed, the stereotyped Allies are played with engaging panache by Heaps, Rupert Young and Nicholas Bishop as the French lieutenantPaul Taylor in the Independent

Immaculately staged and directed by Christopher Luscombe the cast are outstanding. … Nicholas Bishop (Lt Colbert) and Rupert Young (Lt. Mulvaney) provide much humour in their confusion and attempts to repair the damage. … This is a fine production; the humour is well balanced with impeccable timing whilst the physical theatre set pieces resulting in an absolute treat. Petra Schofield at Theatre Bath

It’s hilarious. Or, at least, this production directed by Christopher Luscombe is. … It is almost perfectly cast. Ann Treneman in The Times

While the Sun Shines, London and Bath (2016)

Rehearsal and production photos for the play While the Sun Shines, directed by Christopher Luscombe, with a run at the Theatre Royal in Bath from 13 to 30 July 2016. These photos were taken by Tristram Kenton, and were kindly made available by the Theatre Royal on their Facebook page: here for rehearsal photos and here for production photos.

Post-show talk at the Orange Tree Theatre for ‘The Philanderer’ (2016)

The Orange Tree Theatre hosted a post-show Q+A on Wednesday 1 June, featuring the director Paul Miller (also the theatre’s Artistic Director), as well as cast members Helen Bradbury (Grace Tranfield), Michael Lumsden (Colonel Craven), Mark Tandy (Cuthbertson), Paksie Vernon (Sylvia Craven) and Rupert Young (Leonard Charteris).

Given the lateness of the hour, it was kept fairly brief, but it was very interesting.

Warning: There are spoilers ahead!

Paul Miller came out while the cast were still getting ready, and spoke about the choice of play. He feels there is something very lively in George Bernard Shaw’s early plays. Having already successfully put on Shaw’s first play, Widower’s Houses (written and produced 1892), it made sense to consider his second play, The Philanderer (written 1893, produced 1902).

Paul thought the language of it was amazing, and eccentric, with Swiftian and Wildean elements. He also liked the subject matter, of how intelligent people handle the inherent clumsiness of intimate relationships. While so much has changed since the time the play was written, we still suffer from that clumsiness today.

Shaw originally wrote the play in three acts, with the third act set four years later and ending in a divorce. However, a friend of his suggested that wouldn’t do, so Shaw wrote a new third act, which continued on directly from the second act, and ended with a proposal of marriage being accepted. That is how the play was produced – until 25 years ago, when a company experimented by using both endings, with the proposal first, and then the divorce scene. That is how the play is being presented at the Orange Tree during this run.

However, Paul said that he felt the proposal scene was so brilliantly written – so Mozartian! – that he can’t believe it was included by Shaw in a reluctant way. He is therefore not so sure that the story of the two alternate acts is entirely true.

By now the actors had assembled, so Paul asked them to talk about Shaw’s language, and how they worked with it.

Rupert said that initially he’d felt intimidated, and that he hadn’t even taken the opportunity to see a recent production of Man and Superman (1902) as he’d thought he wouldn’t enjoy it. When he’d read The Philanderer, however, with a view to auditioning for this role, he’d been amazed at how easy it was to read.

Paksie said the language was challenging, but fun. Michael said that Shaw’s sentences are so long and complex that it isn’t always clear how funny the lines will be. Once you make the sentence make sense, however, the humour emerges. He concluded that it plays better than it reads!

Helen said that Shaw obviously had an ear for language, with its rhythms and inflections. Mark said that Shaw was more Irish than we think he is. His lines are fantastically well punctuated. Mark’s approach was to seek out the verb, and lean on it. (Michael complained that he had a lot of lines without any verbs!)

The audience had more remarks than questions, but the feedback given to the actors and director was wonderful to hear. In dot-point form, if you’ll forgive me:

  • ‘It all really worked, beautifully well.’
  • As a long-time Shaw fan, one man was delighted with the production. He said that Shaw is always preaching, but lucidly so. He was impressed by the cast remembering the lines, which aren’t easy. (‘Oh, we never had any trouble with that,’ Paul and Rupert joked. ‘No, right from day one…’)
  • A woman was delighted by the inclusion of the ‘fourth’ act, so that the play didn’t end with the proposal. She felt that it helped further explore the themes and issues raised by the rest of the play. It also made the play more relatable, more relevant to life as we know it.
  • The ‘lightness and freshness’ in the production was wonderful.

I had the chance to ask a question, so I asked Rupert how he approached a character like Leonard, who is interesting and fun but also appalling. (And I’ll probably get his answer all out of order, as I was just sitting there listening while he spoke.)

When initially analysing the character, Rupert noticed that Leonard never apologised, and he thought that was important. (I agree this is important, and I think that if Leonard ever did apologise, it would take all the wind out of his sails.) Otherwise, Rupert thought about what, in any given moment, does Leonard want – and when is he lying? He’d found the ‘fourth’ act challenging, in that he needed to figure out why Leonard wanted the couple to divorce. Originally, Rupert wondered if it was a happy ending, and if Leonard had changed in the four-year interval, but he soon saw that wasn’t the case. Rupert added that Leonard was nothing like him, but it was fun to play the mean aspects of Leonard’s character.

Paul (I think?) said that he felt the verbal jousting of the characters suited the theatre, which is laid out ‘in the round’. Michael agreed that the cast could relate to their fellow actors in a more natural way – as opposed to a traditional ‘proscenium arch’ theatre, where the actors always need to be oriented towards the audience. Mark (?) said it was scary when you first came out into the space. (And I think it must be, as even with the lighting focused on the stage area, you can still see everyone in the audience, at both the lower and upper levels.)

Rupert said that the audience is an integral part of the show. The actors can feel the energy from the audience – and can feel that energy changing as the story progresses, and the audience’s approval of a character fluctuates.

Paul called an end to the talk, reminding us that the cast and crew had two shows to deliver the next day. And so ended a lovely evening!


If you want to see the play, there are still tickets available throughout the run to 25 June. It is a small theatre, and in terms of enjoying the play, there are no bad seats! Visit the theatre’s website for all the details.

The Philanderer (2016)

Rupert stars as Leonard Charteris, The Philanderer himself, in this play written by George Bernard Shaw. This production is directed by Paul Miller for the Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond, and runs until 25 June.


update 7 December 2016: Rupert has been nominated as Best Actor for The Philanderer, which has also garnered other nominations, in the Broadway World UK awards. You can vote here!


I went to the first show this evening, after an afternoon with Delacroix at the National Gallery and a three-course meal at Carluccio’s. That took care of body and soul, and the play took care of heart and mind!

Not being familiar with Shaw as a playwright, I was surprised by how witty and wordy it all was. Rupert came out firing on all cylinders; he’s just so good at this kind of clever, persuasive dialogue.

The Philanderer production photo by The Other Richard, with Dorothea Myer-Bennett as Julia Craven
The Philanderer production photo by The Other Richard, with Dorothea Myer-Bennett as Julia Craven

Helen Bradbury (Grace Tranfield) and Dorothea Myer-Bennett (Julia Craven) play the women Charteris is involved with, and do a fine job with two rather different characters. Indeed, the whole cast did a terrific job – and it seems unfair to even think about picking anyone out for special mention, though I have to say that Michael Lumsden (Colonel Craven) made me laugh, and made the most of his character’s various actions and reactions.

Continue reading The Philanderer (2016)