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Both, Geraint and Nigel are currently on stage in Stratford, Ontario, and received excellent reviews.

Geraint Wyn Davies plays Sir Toby Belch in Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare and Sir Peter Teazle in The School for Scandal by Richard Brinsley Sheridan.

A collection of reviews is available here for Twelfth Night and The School for Scandal. The Globe and Mail wrote about School for Scandal that Ger gives one of his most charmingly permeable performances ever.

(Some links are wrong, but if you type the play's name into the newspaper's search box, you'll get there)

Nigel Bennett plays Kadmos in what has been called a jawdropping production of Bakkhai by Euripides and Ted in the novel mystery thriller The Virgin Trial by Kate Hennig. The character he portraits in the latter has been described as deliciously devious...

A collection of reviews is available here for Bakkhai and The Virgin Trial.

Other FK alumni currently appearing at the Stratford Festival are Lucy Peacock (The Human Factor) in Twelfth Night and Bakkhai and Joseph Ziegler (The Code) in Timon of Athens and The School for Scandal.
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Geraint Wyn Davies

Geraint is currently appearing at the Stratford Festival in "Breath of Kings: Rebellion" and "Breath of Kings: Redemption". The 2 plays are a new destillation of Shakespeare's 4 history plays "Richard II", Henry IV - Part 1", Henry IV - Part 2", and "Henry V". Geraint plays Sir John Falstaff, Captain Fluellen, and the Old Gardener.

Here's a trailer:


Both plays run through September 24.

Nigel Bennett

Nigel stars in the comedy/farce "Something Fishy" at the Lighthouse Festival Theatre.
June 29-July 16, 2016 Lighthouse Fesival Theatre, Port Dover, ON
July 20-24, 2016 Showboat Festival Theatre, Port Colborne, ON

Here's a nice article about him.

Joseph Ziegler

Joseph Ziegler appears in 3 plays at the Stratford Festival, Ontario:
- Macbeth (by William Shakespeare): Duncan
- All My Sons (by Arthur Miller): Joe Keller
- John Gabriel Borkman (by Henrik Ibsen): Vilhalm Foldal

Lucy Peacock

Lucy Peacock appears in 2 plays at the Stratford Festival, Ontario:
- All My Sons (by Arthur Miller): Kate Keller
- John Gabriel Borkman (by Henrik Ibsen): Gunhild Borkman
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With opening week coming up, it's about time to announce the FK-relevant highlights of this year's season in Stratford.

Geraint Wyn Davies:

Geraint plays Claudius and the Ghost in Hamlet by William Shakespeare (May 1 - October 11, 2015, Festival Theatre).

In Friedrich Dürrenmatt's comedy The Physicists Geraint plays Johann Wilhelm Möbius (May 12 - September 27, 2015, Tom Patterson Theatre).

Nigel Bennett:

Nigel appears as Sir Charles Marlow, sr. in the 18th century comedy She Stoops to Conquer by Oliver Goldsmith (May 16 - October 10, 2015, Avon Theatre).

In the classic Greek drama Oedipus Rex by Sophocles Nigel plays Teiresias and the Shepherd (June 30 - September 18, 2015, Tom Patterson Theatre).

Others:

Joseph Ziegler (Patrick Delehanty, The Code) plays Mr. Frank in The Diary of Anne Frank, Mr. Richard Hardcastle in She Stoops to Conquer and Henry in The Last Wife.

Lucy Peacock (Peggy Bolger, Human Factor) plays Mrs. Frank in The Diary of Anne Frank and Mrs. Hardcastle in She Stoops to Conquer.
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The previous Uncle-Unlimited.org featuring updates on Nigel's career has found a temporary new home at Uncle Unlimited. The previous site has been experiencing technical difficulties and is no longer available.

Nigel is currently on stage in Toronto. The Last Confession, written by Roger Crane, explores the mystery sorrounding the sudden death of Pope John Paul I who was found dead only 33 days after his election in 1978. Nigel plays Cardinal Villot, the secretary of state.

The play runs at the Royal Alexandra Theatre, Toronto until June 1, 2014.

Then the production goes on a world tour visiting Los Angeles and Australia.

Tour dates:

June 10-29, 2014: Los Angeles (Ahmanson Theater)
August 2-16, 2014: Perth (His Majesty's Theatre)
August 20-24, 2014: Brisbane (Lyric Theatre QPAC)
August 27-31, 2014: Adelaide (Her Majesty's Theatre)
September 3-14, 2014: Melbourne (Comedy Theatre)
September 24-October 5, 2014: Sydney (Theatre Royal)

In an excellent review, The Toronto Star gave the production 4 out of 4 stars and wrote "The less saintly crew are led by Nigel Bennett, who does a splendidly forceful job as the close-minded Cardinal Villot, holding his own with [David] Suchet in a wonderful climactic scene where they pull out all the stops in a battle between good and evil."

Read the full review here.

The world tour is the reason why Nigel is not appearing in the 2014 season of the Stratford Festival. There we have Geraint Wyn Davies playing Antony in Shakespeare's "Antony and Cleopatra" (August 3-September 20) and the Cook in Bertold Brecht's "Mother Courage and her Children" (May 15-September 21).

Source: Mirvish.com, Chichester Festival Theatre
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It's been a while since my last post. So it's about time that I share my impressions on this year's season in Stratford, Ontario. I've seen 4 plays in total: The Thrill, The Three Musketeers, Mary Stuart and Measure for Measure. Let's start with a review of The Thrill which I had the pleasure of seeing twice. When someone in the B&B I stayed in heard that I was going to see it twice, he asked if I enjoy stomping my foot with a pole. Well, all I can say is, although it was not a light topic, it was well worth seeing it twice. Of course, the wonderful cast contributed a lot to that effect.

"The Thrill" is a new play written by Judith Thompson. It was commissioned by the Stratford Festival and had its world premiere at the Studio Theatre during the 2013 season. The cast included Lucy Peacock as Elora, Nigel Bennett as Julian, Patricia Collins as Hanna and Robert Persichini as Frances. They were all brilliant!

Set in Charleston, "The Thrill" focuses on Elora, played by Lucy Peacock, who is confined to a wheelchair since her birth because she is suffering from a degenerative muscle disease. However, this handicap doesn't stop her from enjoying life to the fullest within her limitations. Elora has become a successful lawyer. Her best friend and confidant is Frances, her gay caregiver, played by Robert Persichini.

When Elora reads about the upcoming visit of activist Julian, she becomes very upset. In her view he is the impersonated devil because he advocates giving parents a choice to decide the fate of their children when they are born with an incurable disease. He is on a tour promoting his book "Wheelbarrow" in which he describes the fate of his sister who died in childhood after years of suffering from a painful disease. Elora regards him as a threat to her existence because she wouldn't be alive had her parents acted according to Julian's view. She plans to interrupt Julian's book-reading at the university with a protest of her own.

In the next scene we learn that Julian, played by Nigel Bennett, is not the devil as he was described by Elora. He is caring deeply for his mother Hanna, played by Patricia Collins, who is suffering from dementia.

In the lecture hall, when Julian is talking about his sister and explains his views, Elora runs him over with her wheelchair. In the next scene he visits her at home bringing a cake as a gift. Much to her surprise he apologizes and asks her to join him in a panel discussion. She refuses at first but when Frances asks her which scarf she intends to wear it's clear that she would accept the challenge.

During the debate Julian and Elora both point out their views. Later they meet in a restaurant. She is fashionably late. She convinces him to join her in her campaign to get "her" people out of nursing homes which she calls "gulag" and enable them to receive appropriate homecare. He is clearly struck by her beauty and her spirit and she by his charisma. He admires her eyes and her hair and asks for permission to kiss her which she allows. Passions rise and his hand finds his way under her skirt. The following passionate scene was very effective. The lights went down and only their silhouettes were visible in front of a screen. Her accelerated breathing implied what was going on. Then it went completely dark and it was intermission.

After the intermission 6 months had passed. Julian and Elora have stayed in contact via skype while he went on a world tour to promote his book. However, Elora's state has deteriorated during this time and she's now on a feeding tube. Hanna has also taken a turn to the worse, leaving Julian no choice but to send her to a nursing home in order to prevent her from harming herself at home. Elora is angry at him because he made hardly any progress with their mutual project and her time is running out. She asks sarcastically if anyone bought his book in Sansibar. She feels used by him as if he had merely studied her to gain material for a new book, but Frances assures her that Julian's feelings for her are honest.

Meanwhile Hanna has passed away. She comes on stage with a walking frame and talks in a chilling monologue about her ordinary life.

When Julian visits Elora again she asks him to kiss her deeply until she suffocates. He refuses at first but she begs him to do for her what he couldn't do for his sister. Finally he gives in and, kneeling in front of her, initiates the "kiss of death". After a while she begins to struggle, but he continues. After what seems a gripping eternity, he lets go, saying he can't do it. Elora recovers and thanks him for not making her the exception. He wants to stay with her, but she refuses, telling him that Frances will stay with her until the end and see her out. In the final scene she's with Frances alone on the stage. Music is heard through the window. For a while she moves with her wheelchair in tune to the sounds. Then she asks Frances to pour a little bit of wine into her feeding tube.

"The Thrill" is certainly one of those plays that stay with you long after the performance is over. It touches topics which everyone is reluctant to talk about. What I liked in particular about the play is the balance of conflicting emotions. While there was a lot of drama the dialogues were interlaced with lots of humour, prompting the audience to laugh which felt like a relief from all the pent up emotions.

And the cast was exceptional. Lucy Peacock gave a stunning portrayal of a strong-willed woman confined to a wheelchair. The joy for life she exudes in the first scene is clearly palpable. Her labouring breathing after an asthma attack was as believable as the posture of her limbs that wouldn't always respond the way she wished. Nigel Bennett gave a very emotional performance as Julian. He was the loving, caring and patient son in the scenes with his mother. He conveyed despair when he talked about the fate of his sister, and he was utterly charming in the scenes with Elora. Since his character was of Irish origin, he used an Irish accent throughout the play. I certainly wish he would get more major roles in Stratford.
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Here's an interview with Geraint Wyn Davies. He talks a lot about FOREVER KNIGHT. I was astonished that, after 20 years, he still remembers so many details about the show and what happened backstage. He also talks about his current roles in Stratford.
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This week was the first opening week at the Stratford Festival. A compilation of the reviews for all plays is provided by the Festival here. GWD received a lot of praise for his roles as Duke Vincentio in Shakespeare's Measure for Measure and as the Earl of Leicester in Schiller's Mary Stuart.

In particular I liked this phrase from the Toronto Star: Geraint Wyn Davies has the ability to charm one moment, then go for the throat in the next and that quality is on splendid display here. Couldn't help but finding this very inspiring for the story I'm currently writing for [community profile] fkficfest. :) A precise description of how I like Nick best. :)

Production photos of Measure for Measure and Mary Stuart are offered here (Nigel is seen in one, too) and here, respectively.

A video of Mary Stuart with GWD in it (although he doesn't say anything in this scene) is available here.

The third FK-related play The Thrill featuring Nigel Bennett opens in August.
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The 2013 season at the Stratford Festival of Canada is worth travelling to again.
Geraint Wyn Davies will appear in Schiller's Mary Stuart and Shakespeare's Measure for Measure.
Nigel Bennett will appear in The Thrill, Mary Stuart and Measure for Measure.

Here's a preview of the season. I think it's very well done.

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