Visit London Blog » an inspector calls Enjoy the very best of London Wed, 23 Apr 2014 09:00:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Stephen Daldry and Danny Boyle to Direct London 2012 Olympic Ceremonies Thu, 17 Jun 2010 09:30:51 +0000 Exciting news this morning: the London 2012 Olympic opening and closing ceremonies will be directed by Hollywood film makers Stephen Daldry and Danny Boyle.

Boyle, who won an Oscar for directing Slumdog Millionaire, is to direct the London 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony.

And Stephen Daldry, director of hit films such as Billy Elliot and The Reader, as well as theatrical successes like An Inspector Calls and Billy Elliot The Musical, will be one of the four key executive producers of the opening and closing ceremonies for both the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

As the creative production lead, Daldry is joined by a strong team of talent on the executive production team:

  • Mark Fisher, the concert, theatre and Beijing 2008 Games designer as executive producer for design
  • Grammy and Bafta-award nominated TV director Hamish Hamilton, who’ll lead on broadcast
  • Catherine Ugwu, producer of the 2006 Asian Games and the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games as executive producer for production

Daldry said, “Myself and my co-executive producers will ensure there is creative continuity across all four ceremonies, that the public have real engagement and that we continue to attract into key roles the best talent in the world. I’m delighted to be part of the team.”

Speaking on Radio 4′s Today programme this morning, a very chirpy Danny Boyle said his job was “to provide a thrilling, enthralling, captivating evening.”

“Hopefully it’ll take its place in the list of openings, but it’ll be a new beginning as well.”

If you can’t wait til then, don’t forget Danny Boyle is making his National Theatre debut this winter, directing a new production of Frankenstein.

]]> 0
Playing a Supernumerary in An Inspector Calls at Wyndham’s Theatre Fri, 26 Feb 2010 16:02:59 +0000

“Would you like to go on stage as a Supernumerary in An Inspector Calls and write about it for the blog?” I was asked at what, up til that point, had been a fairly normal meeting with one of London theatre’s PR firms… The answer, of course, was yes!

So, last night I arrived at the Stage Door of Wyndham’s Theatre at quarter to six, ready to be transformed into one of the accusing extras who appear on stage as J B Priestley’s Inspector Goole pushes the posh Birling family into confessing to their neglect of a local girl.

Climbing more stairs than seemed possible (was it four floors up, or five?), I met Sid (Sinead Kennedy) in a room filled with polystyrene heads wearing brown and black wigs. Sid immediately pinned back my hair, and began chatting me through my make-up. Mixing colours in front of a bulb-framed mirror, she explained that the 1940s Blitz look wasn’t particularly glamorous. Very little on the eyes; slightly exaggerated, flat “surly” red lips; and rouge on just the apples of my cheeks. In no time at all, I looked completely different (although the silly grin I’d been wearing since that meeting was still there, I have to admit).

Along a corridor, in a room heavy with the smell of laundry and ironing, Bet Burrow (the Wardrobe Mistress) handed me a brown skirt with pockets, a cute little beige short-sleeved jumper, and a beautiful blue peacoat. My tights would have to be changed for flesh-coloured ones, she said; they didn’t have black back then.

Back down all those stairs, Tom Cottle (who understudies Eric Birling and Gerald Croft) took me on stage and talked me through my cues and actions. His explanation was fantastic, but it was very hard to concentrate: there was so much else to look at. There, for the first time, I was seeing the other side of a London theatre: Wyndham’s gorgeous light-blue-green seats, stretching up and up into the distance, lights shining on stage from a hundred different directions. I wanted to examine the props on stage, the fake cobblestones, the grills where the smoke came from, the painted backdrop, Ian MacNeil’s now-iconic dolls house set, the lights, the curtain… It was all a bit overwhelming!

Tom then took me to the green room where I was introduced to one of the loveliest groups of people I’ve ever met. Described as “actors, students, opera singers, retired people and helpers”, these are the dozen or so extras who work as An Inspector Calls’ “Supers”. (One girl did tell me this was the nicest bunch she’d ever worked with, but I hope every extras’ green room in the West End is full of as much laughter and banter.) Over shared biscuits and tea, everyone was interested to know what I thought of the show, and what I was going to write. Would I tell people that they didn’t really go drinking with the principal actors (who kept themselves to themselves in their separate dressing rooms)? Is it strange that the differences on stage spill out into their social lives? If I make a comparison with the executive team at VL with their separate offices, I have to admit I don’t go drinking with them either… Perhaps it’s not that surprising?

Bet reappeared and asked if I wanted to watch the start of the show from the wings. Interestingly, the cast and crew were all ready, chatting and laughing in their places, at least 5 minutes’ before the 7.30 curtain; when a show starts late, Bet explained, it’s always because of the audience. While a member of the crew stood repeatedly spraying an umbrella with water so it dripped as it was carried on stage, the Inspector appeared at my elbow. “You must be our guest,” he said, giving me a firm handshake. “I’m Nick. Welcome.” For me, this was the most nerve-wracking moment yet. I found my voice and lamely whispered “Break a leg?” at his retreating back. He turned before heading on stage, “Oh. I hope not,” he said, with a tiny Inspector-like smile. And vanished.

Back up the stairs again, Sid added a curly wig (human hair, if you’re interested) and a brown hat to my costume, and the transformation was complete. We stood in the wings, waiting for our cue, and then the moment came to step out on stage, and into the lights.

I could see some of the audience, but tried to concentrate on the faces of the principals in front of me. It was great watching the powerful argument going on between the characters from such close range. We stood for about 13 minutes (I’m told!) with the smoke swirling about us, turned once, then again, and headed off stage.

“Well done! Well done!” chorused in my ears. “Did you enjoy it?”

I did. The whole experience was fantastic: I struggled to keep the silly grin off my face during the curtain call. I wanted to pinch myself to see if this was really happening. It was a real privilege to be part of such an amazing show. Thanks to everyone who made it happen. (Particularly Bet, who was still there after almost everyone else had gone, piling clothes into washing machines ready for tomorrow’s show…)

An Inspector Calls plays at Wyndham’s Theatre until 13 March

]]> 3
Thursday Theatre News: Inspector Extends, Shawshank Closes, and Seasonal Silliness Thu, 05 Nov 2009 16:00:30 +0000 The Shawshank Redemption closes on 29 NovemberKeeping you up-to-date with news from London’s theatres and the West End

We’re pleased to let you know that J B Priestly’s An Inspector Calls is transferring, following its limited run at the Novello theatre this autumn. Book now if you’re looking for a classy theatrical treat this Christmas: Stephen Daldry’s multi-award-winning production is on at Wyndham’s Theatre from 3 December.

In theatreland, where there’s one superb success story, there’s generally an early closing to add to the mix. And so this week, we bring you news that The Shawshank Redemption will be closing on 29 November. (It had been booking until 14 February.) Similarly, Prick Up Your Ears, which originally starred Matt Lucas as Kenneth Halliwell, has also announced it will close three weeks early. The play’s struggled since the departure of Lucas, and despite good reviews for Con O’Neill, ticket sales haven’t sustained the show.

We can also tempt you with long-range news this week. Our mouths are watering at the prospect of seeing David Suchet (Poirot to you and me) and the wonderful Zoe Wanamaker in Arthur Miller’s classic All My Sons at the Apollo Theatre in May next year (such a long wait – it’s not fair!).

And we’re also excited about the next instalment from The Old Vic’s Bridge Project. Stephen Dillane, Michelle Beck, Christian Camargo, and Juliet Rylance, following her famous father into Shakespeare, take on two of the bard’s plays from June next year. Sam Mendes directs this tasty cast in As You Like It and The Tempest. Kevin, you’re spoiling us.

Finally, silly season is nearly upon us with pantos and kids’ shows galore. And little sounds sillier than Stephen and The Sexy Partridge at the Trafalgar Studios. “Ever had a problem that really only a partridge could solve?” asks the show’s blurb. “And a sexy one, at that?” We’re not sure we have. But that doesn’t mean we’re not fascinated by Mighty Boosh director Cal McCrystal’s Christmas show, opening at the end of the month, featuring “bagpipe-playing potatoes, revolutionary hens, and dancing swans, and a love between one man and his bird.”

More next week…

]]> 0