Tennant, Duff & McCrory Star in Look Back TributeDate: 28 April 2006
It’s hard keeping up with the all the star-studded goings on at the Royal Court of late with the various activities surrounding its year-long 50th anniversary celebrations (See News, 11 Oct 2005). The latest announcement sees David Tennant, Helen McCrory and Anne-Marie Duff starring in the one night only tribute to Look Back in Anger on Monday 8 May 2006, 50 years to the day after John Osborne’s classic had its world premiere at a then two-month-old Court under the English Stage Company.
Credited with changing the face of British post-war theatre by shifting the focus to the drama of real domestic life, up close and unpleasant, Look Back’s articulate working class anti-hero Jimmy Porter was dubbed an “angry young man”, a title which was also attached to Osborne himself as well as the new generation of playwrights that emerged in his wake.
In an urban bedsit, Jimmy lives with his upper crust wife Alison and his best friend Cliff. Sexual tensions rise as the frustrations of daily life and a dead-end job mount.
Tennant (The Pillowman, Lobby Hero, Push Up, TV’s Doctor Who, Blackpool, Casanova - pictured at a Royal Court anniversary gala earlier this week – See News, 27 Apr 2006) is Jimmy Porter, a part he played last year in Edinburgh and Bath (See News, 3 Mar 2006). Duff (Days of Wine and Roses, The Daughter in Law, Collected Stories, TV’s Shameless) is Alison and McCrory (As You Like It in the West End, Old Times, Five Gold Rings, Platonov) is her best friend Helena. Further casting has not yet been confirmed.
As part of the tribute, directed by Royal Court artistic director Ian Rickson, selected scenes from the play and other reflections on the playwright will be performed. This will be preceded in the Royal Court Theatre Downstairs on the evening by playwright David Hare’s presentation of his lecture, “I Have a Go, Lady, I Have a Go”, which he first delivered in June 2002 at the Hay-on-Wye literary festival. Hare’s polemic mounts a spirited attack on revisionists who seek to downplay the significance of Osborne’s debut and also offers a personal salute to Osborne’s generation of dramatists.
Next week, the week before the Look Back in Anger event, the Royal Court is holding a star-studded tribute to another of the famous premieres from its history, The Rocky Horror Show (See News, 26 Apr 2006). Amongst those taking part in the one-off performance of the cult musical on Wednesday 3 May 2006 are Michael Ball, Anthony Head, Toyah Wilcox, Stephen Gately, Jamie Theakston and the show’s creator Richard O'Brien.
This summer, the Peter Hall Company will present a full-fledged anniversary production of Look Back in Anger during its annual repertory season at the Theatre Royal Bath (See News, 3 Mar 2006). Directed by fellow Royal Court veteran Peter Gill, it runs from 16 August to 2 September 2006 ahead of a possible London transfer. No casting has yet been announced for that revival.
- by Terri Paddock