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WOS Radio: Leigh & Ecstasy Cast at WOS Q&A

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Over 120 Whatsonstage.com theatregoers joined us at the Duchess Theatre last night (5 May 2011) to see Mike Leigh's acclaimed revival of his Seventies classic Ecstasy. The play transferred directly to the West End for a limited 50-performance season from 12 April to 28 May following a sell-out run at the Hampstead Theatre.

The production marks the first time that the theatre and filmmaker has returned to one of his works and Leigh joined cast members Sian Brooke, Allen Leech and Craig Parkinson at Whatsonstage.com's post-show Q&A. Discussion focused on the director's actor-led development process, how each of the actors had embodied their characters and the play's incredibly dark subject matter.

Leigh revealed to theatregoers that reviving a play for the first time did not mean he had plans to return to any of his other works, saying: "There are only five plays of mine in existence. This is the only one I've got any interest in doing, that's the long and the short of it."

As well as telling audience members he revisited the play at the invitation of Hampstead Theatre's artistic director Edward Hall, Leigh waspishly said he simply "wanted to see a good production of it." Ecstasy, which centres on the desperation and frustrations of four friends living in Kilburn, premiered at the north London theatre in 1979.

Also in the play's cast are Sinead Matthews (who has worked with Leigh on the films Vera Drake and Happy-Go-Lucky), Claire-Louise Cordwell and Daniel Coonan. The production is designed by Alison Chitty who designed Leigh's original production. It has lighting design by Paul Pyant and sound by John Leonard.

To listen to the full recording of the Q&A, click the 'play' button below; or to subscribe and download from iTunes, click here.

For more photos and commentary from last night’s event, visit our Outings blog and for further information and booking for upcoming Whatsonstage.com Outings, click here.


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