When the news was announced earlier this month that Tom Hiddleston was to debut his Dane, directed by non-other than Kenneth Branagh, it was met with the simultaneous swooning of thesps all around the world. But we're pretty sure tortured screechings promptly followed at the sight of the phrase ‘three weeks only'. Not only that, but tickets were being allocated by ballot only. And not even the critics (not even US!) were allowed a press ticket.
There's little doubt the show will be a not-to-be-missed moment, as Branagh and Hiddleston are reunited after their onstage appearance together in Ivanov in 2008 at Wyndham's as part of the Donmar's season, and the 2011 film Thor. And the show itself is a fundraiser for drama school RADA, with a cast that's full to brimming with other superb talents – from Ayesha Antoine, Lolita Chakrabarti, Nicholas Farrell, Sean Foley to Kathryn Wilder.
So if you, like us, are utterly depressed that there'll be a theatrical event we're not getting into at the end of this week, here's a little consolation: five of Tom Hiddleston's best onstage roles. Because he's trod the boards magnificently before and we think there's always hope he'll tread them again (this time for more people to see).
5. Cassio, Othello
Donmar Warehouse, 2007
Kenneth Branagh once said that he was first wowed by Hiddleston (ahead of casting him in Thor) after seeing his Cassio at the Donmar Warehouse. The show, directed by Michael Grandage, saw the roles of the Moor and Iago tackled by Chiwetel Ejiofor and Ewan McGregor respectively, in what was hailed as a masterful adaptation.
4. Eugene Lvov, Ivanov
Wyndham's Theatre, 2008
Michael Grandage returned to direct Hiddleston, this time onstage alongside Branagh, in an adaptation of Chekhov's Ivanov penned by Tom Stoppard. The show featured in the Donmar's season at Wyndham's Theatre on the West End, with Susannah Clapp describing Hiddleston as a 'young Trotsky...wispy, bespectacled, earnest'.
3. Alsemero, The Changeling
Barbican Theatre, 2006
Before he was a Donmar regular, Hiddleston performed twice as part of the Cheek by Jowl theatre company, touring internationally with their productions. In their 2006 Changeling the central role of Beatrice Joanna was taken on by Olivia Williams, playing the tortured heroine trapped in the middle of a love triangle.
2. Posthumus/Cloten, Cymbeline
Barbican Theatre, 2007
Both Othello and Cymbeline won Hiddleston nominations for Best Newcomer at the Olivier Awards, and it was for Shakespeare's Cymbeline from Cheek by Jowl that he bagged the prize. His doubling was particularly commended, taking on an earnest and virtuous Posthumus while also capable of a darker Cloten.
1. Gaius Marcius Coriolanus, Coriolanus
Donmar Warehouse, 2013
In between his burgeoning Hollywood stints, Hiddleston played the titular role in Coriolanus at the Donmar. Directed by Josie Rourke and also featuring Mark Gatiss, the gore-filled production saw Hiddleston blood-soaked and suspended from the ceiling. Michael Coveney's review of the production called it 'an original, and disturbing, interpretation'.
- Kenneth Branagh
- Donmar Warehouse
- Michael Grandage
- Tom Hiddleston
- Barbican Theatre
- The Changeling
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