WOS Best Actor West Returns to Stage at ChichesterDate: 13 February 2004
After a two-year absence, Whatsonstage.com Award winner Samuel West (pictured) will return to the stage this summer. He’ll take title roles in two new productions of The Master and Margarita and Doctor Faustus at Chichester Festival Theatre (CFT), where he’ll also direct the world premiere of Helen Cooper’s comedy Three Women and a Piano Tuner (See News, 23 Jan 2004).
West was last seen on stage in 2002 in Steven Pimlott’s staging of Hamlet, one of the final RSC productions at London’s Barbican Centre (See News, 11 Dec 2001). For his portrayal of the prince, West won both the Critics’ Circle Award for Best Shakespearean Performance and last year’s Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers’ Choice Award for Best Actor (See News, 4 Feb 2003).
As an actor, West’s other theatre credits have included Richard II, A Life in the Theatre, Arcadia, Hidden Laughter, The Sea and The Importance of Being Earnest, but since Hamlet, he has concentrated his stage efforts on directing, debuting at Chichester in 2002 with The Lady’s Not for Burning, followed by productions of Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Bristol Old Vic) and Cosi fan Tutte (English National Opera).
This summer at Chichester, The Master and Margarita, Edward Kemp’s new adaptation of the satirical novel by Russian author Mikhail Bulgakov, will reunite West, who plays the Master, with his Hamlet director Pimlott, who is now one of CFT’s joint artistic directors. The world premiere stage production of The Master and Margarita runs in repertory at the Festival Theatre from 23 July to 24 September 2004.
West’s production of Three Women and a Piano Tuner opens the summer schedule in the smaller Minerva Theatre, running in rep from 28 May to 3 July (See The Goss, 26 Nov 2003). Having completed her piano concerto after ten years, Ella is intent on getting it performed, but she needs the help of Liz and Beth, with whom there are some old scores to settle first.
The season concludes with Christopher Marlowe’s heaven-and-hell epic Doctor Faustus, in which West again takes the title role. Running from 8 to 25 September and collectively directed by Pimlott, Martin Duncan, Edward Kemp and Dale Rooks, the promenade performance begins at the Minerva Theatre then progresses through the streets of the West Sussex city, culminating with a battle at Chichester Cathedral.
Other casting confirmed for the 2004 Chichester season is Anne Reid (The York Realist, Wild Oats on stage, Dinner Ladies, The Mother on screen), who will play goddess Juno in the British premiere of Cole Porter’s 1950 musical Out of This World, in which Golden Age Hollywood collides with Ancient Greece. Directed by Martin Duncan, designed by Francis O’Connor and choreographed by Vanessa Gray, it runs from 29 April to 25 September.
- by Terri Paddock