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Leigh & Cast Discuss Reviving Ecstasy at Outing

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The chance to see Mike Leigh's first (and possibly only) revival one of his plays is just too good an opportunity to miss – so we and 120 Whatsonstage.com theatregoers headed to the Duchess Theatre on Wednesday (4 May 2011) to see the director and filmmaker's Hampstead Theatre transfer of Ecstasy.

The show certainly didn’t disappoint; with the harrowing storyline powerfully played out by an incredibly strong cast of Sinead Matthews, Sian Brooke, Daniel Coonan, Claire-Louise Cordwell, Allen Leech and Craig Parkinson. The sombre mood left at the end of the play was quickly eradicated as theatregoers headed back into the auditorium for the highly anticipated Q&A session – where cast members Brooke, Leech and Parkinson were joined by Mike Leigh himself.

Set in Kilburn, Ecstasy follows Jean and her friends as they struggle drunkenly through the hardships of life. Premiered in 1979 at the Hampstead, Leigh revealed that the set is almost exactly the same today as it was in the first production, having insisted original designer Alison Chitty join the team for the revival.

Theatregoers also discovered Leigh hadn’t gotten the taste for reviving his plays, revealing this was the first and only time we would ever see him return to one of his past works; simply explaining that the reason he returned to Ecstasy in the first place was to "see a good production of it."

Leigh and the cast discussed the motivations behind the play and the performances, from accents to writing and performing methods – but you’ll have to listen to the podcast to hear more about those!

Please do feel free to email your comments and thoughts about the play and the evening through to [email protected], we love to hear from you.

Thanks for joining us for this event, and do check the homepage to keep up to date on all of our upcoming Outings.

- Rowena Betts


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