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Hay Fever, first impressions

17 Feb

How to put this … Hay Fever has started its run, except that it hasn’t because opening night is still to come and what people are currently seeing are ‘previews’. So it hasn’t started yet, but actually it has! No, I don’t understand that either and anyway, official opening night is upon us so we can soon say it’s running without confusion!

Press reviews are embargoed until 27 February, so we have yet to see what might be thought of as ‘proper’ critiques. However, Twitter has been bouncing with positivity from the ordinary person in the street, with one person describing Jeremy as a ‘non-transatlantic Cary Grant’ and another as ‘utterly charming’. If, like me, you’ve yet to see the play, here are some production images to whet your appetite (click on images to enlarge):

Tickets are available here, and do check out the last minute discount ticketers because there are some bargains to be had (I’ve heard rumours of £10 tickets!).

If you’ve seen Hay Fever already, we’d love to hear from you!

Jeremy Northam on ‘Hay Fever’

25 Jan

Lindsay Duncan and Jeremy Northam who are performing in Hay Fever

Jeremy Northam and co-star Lindsay Duncan (Richard Greatham and Judith Bliss respectively) are interviewed in today’s Daily Telegraph about their roles in Hay Fever (due to open 10 February at the Noel Coward Theatre).

Clearly, he and Lindsay are getting along famously and enjoying their rehearsals, but as you would expect from such excellent and experienced actors, they’re also taking it very seriously amongst the laughs:

JN: We’re at that awkward stage of rehearsals where we’re past the initial phase – we’ve got a handle on the parts, but we know there’s more to it than that.

LD: Even though Hay Fever has touches of farce, the golden rule is that whatever truth you’re playing you must play it for all you’re worth. When you read the play, it’s obviously funny but you do have to be specific – that’s the sticky stage we’ve reached, trying to get a sense of what those specifics are.

Jeremy explains why he took the role:

I haven’t properly done a West End run for 20 years. I’ve done a good deal of filming over the last 15 to 20 years – and the most overused word in the film business is “ensemble”, but this is a real company show. One of the reasons I wanted to do this is to have that authentic experience again where everyone is keeping the ball in the air. This is probably going to be as much fun as it’s possible to have on stage – we’ve got a phenomenal cast, the best director [Howard Davies] in the business. If we can’t have fun doing this, there’s something wrong with us.

And if we can’t have fun watching, then there’s something wrong with us too! Read the full interview here.

Those of you still hesitating about when to go and see Hay Fever might like to note that during the previews (up to March 1, Monday – Thursday performances), top price tickets (usually £53.50) are £29.50. They can be bought here.

Happy New Year!

10 Jan

Happy New Year, Northam-watchers! And happy indeed it is to begin a year with upcoming projects to get excited about.

Jeremy is currently in rehearsals for Hay Fever, opening at the Noel Coward Theatre on 10 February and running for sixteen weeks (last night, 2 June). The full cast has now been announced, and stars Lindsay Duncan (Judith Bliss), Kevin McNally (David Bliss), Jeremy Northam (Richard Greatham) and Olivia Colman (Myra Arundel) are joined by Sam Callis (Sandy Tyrell), Freddie Fox (Simon Bliss), Jenny Galloway (Clara), Amy Morgan (Jackie Coryton) and Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Sorel Bliss). Howard Davies directs, with designs by Bunny Christie, lighting by Mark Henderson and sound by Mike Walker.

Tickets are selling fast, so if you haven’t booked yours yet, I’d get your skates on. You can book them direct from the theatre here (and via all the usual ticketing agents). Jeremy hasn’t graced a London stage since 2004 (Old Times, Donmar Warehouse) and there are many who thought perhaps he’d given up treading the boards, so this is a rare opportunity to see Jeremy air his Olivier Award-winning chops in public. In a comedy, too. For me, this is the stuff dreams are made of (literally!). If you can go, do!

White Heat, the other early 2012 treat in store, looks like it may be broadcast in March (the exact date, I’m told by the BBC, will only be confirmed two weeks prior to transmission, so could change). Happily, the BBC would like us to feature White Heat here at the blog, so look out for more information and pictures (oh yes!) next month.

A reminder:

White Heat is a new six-part drama series about the interwoven lives, loves and betrayals of seven characters whose relationships are forged in the white heat of the Sixties through to present day, written for BBC Two by award-winning writer Paula Milne.

Passionate, dangerous and compelling, the characters’ love stories and friendships are set against a backdrop that takes us from Wilson to Thatcher, feminism to the Falklands, hedonism to HIV – exploring the personal and political journeys which shaped their destinies to make them the people they are today.

White Heat stars Sam Claflin (Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, United), Claire Foy (Little Dorrit, The Promise), Reece Ritchie (Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time, Pete Versus Life), Lee Ingleby (Being Human, Inspector George Gently), MyAnna Buring (The Twilight Saga, Any Human Heart), David Gyasi (Red Tails, Murderland) and Jessica Gunning, with Jeremy playing the father of Sam Claflin’s character. It’s being billed as one of the BBC’s drama highlights for 2012.

And that’s all we know about for now … might there be more? If there is, I’ll be sure to let you know!


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