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Stage:

Geraint Wyn Davies is currently on stage in Liv Stein at the Bluma Apple Theatre, Toronto. The German play by Nino Haratischwili about a world-class concert pianist who gives up her career after her son's death had its English-language premiere last week, runs through Feb 12.

Nigel Bennett is currently on stage in The Audience at the Royal Alexandra Theatre, Toronto. The play about the Queen and her prime ministers runs through Feb 26. Nigel plays PM Harold Wilson.

Screen:

Nigel can currently be seen in 3D in the movie xXx3 - The Return of Xander Cage.
I've seen it last night, in 3D, but only in German. It's a brief appearance, but it's nice to see him on the big screen.
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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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Geraint Wyn Davies is playing Prospero in The Tempest in Washington, D.C. from December 2, 2014 to January 11, 2015.

Broadway World has a preview article with a very nice picture.

Wish I could see this production.
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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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Written by Joe DiPietro, The Last Romance is a bittersweet romantic comedy that I've seen in Hamilton's Theatre Aquarius (Ontario) earlier this year.

Agile widower Ralph (played by Jamie Farr) is in his 80's when he meets the elegant but distant Carol (played by Joan Gregson) on a stroll in a dog park. Carol is in her 70's and feels too old for love. She’s convinced that she'd spend the rest of her life giving all her affection to her Chihuahua, Peaches.

Ralph attempts to woo her with boyish charm and finally succeeds despite her reticence and his lonely sister's jealousy, and they become friends. They share a love for the opera. Ralph tells her that he once wanted to become an opera singer himself, he had even auditioned for the Met, but his career was cut short when he missed the recall. He and his wife had often visited the Met. They always wanted to go to the Scala in Milan, but life always got in the way. They kept postponing it until it was too late and his wife passed away. Carol encourages him to make the trip after all.

When they decide to see an opera performance, either in the Met, or a local student production, Carol surprises him with tickets for the Scala. On the eve of their departure, Ralph's sister Rose (played by Moira Wylie) warns him that Carol is not the woman she seems to be. Ralph doesn't want to hear it and asks Carol to marry him. She confesses that she is not a widow as Ralph had assumed. Her husband is still alive although hooked up to life supporting machines.

Ralph refuses to accompany her under these circumstances. He remains at home with his sister who confesses that she was the one who didn't forward the phone call about the audition to him. He forgives her because he has had a happy life the way it was. Carol flies on her own to Milan, something she wouldn't have dared before she met Ralph.

There was a fourth actor completing the ensemble, a young man (Michael Nyby) who sang beautiful arias between the scenes. Directed by Ron Ulrich, the play was a pleasure to watch. It was a rollercoaster of laughter and tears, wonderfully life-affirming and heart-warming. It was a joy to see Jamie Farr capturing the stage with a lot of energy. I never watched M*A*S*H, so I had no clue who he was. My friend kind of dragged me along and I am glad I got the chance to see the play.
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Blue/Orange is a play written by Joe Penhall which I had the pleasure of seeing performed in Kingston, Ontario earlier this year. It's about a patient of African origin (Christopher, played by Ayinde Blake) who has been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and who claims to be the son of an African dictator. His physician Dr. Bruce Flaherty (played by William Matthews) wants to keep him in the psychiatric hospital, but Dr. Flaherty's supervisor, senior consultant Dr. Robert Smith (played brilliantly by Nigel Bennett) insists that Christopher be released because of a bed shortage, and also because he feels the young man is neither a health risk to himself nor to others. What begins as a professional debate between the two doctors evolves into a thrilling Darwinian struggle for power.

Directed by Alan Dilworth, the entire play is set in the narrow consultation room which makes it very intimate and intense, especially in a small venue like the Baby Grand Theatre in Kingston with its 80-seat auditorium. The first act begins with Bruce and Christopher facing each other in the consultation room. Bruce reminds him why coffee is not good for him. Later Dr. Smith joins them, entering with a coffee mug. We learn that Bruce had asked him to sit in on the session in order to back up his assessment of the patient. Dr. Smith hands the coffee over to Christopher and lights a cigarette. He also passes on several to Christopher, thus undermining all that Bruce has accomplished. In the first act Dr. Smith wears a cardigan which gives him an air of the good natured doctor who cares about his patient. As the play continues we learn that Dr. Smith is currently writing a book, a continuation of his thesis. He believes that people are biased and treat Christopher as a result of his skin colour. The book is almost finished except for one chapter, for which he is looking for something special, and Christopher's case would just provide the kind of research he requires.

Act 2 begins with Dr. Smith and Christopher alone in the consultation room. Dr. Smith has discarded his cardigan. The light is dimmed and this scene is very intimate as we listen in on the conversation. It starts with a monologue which is wonderfully delivered by Nigel. In fact, it contains a quote from Last Knight: "Life is a gift". It becomes apparent that Christopher's case is exactly what Dr. Smith is looking for. He wants to take over the case and monitor Christopher from outside the hospital.

In the third act, Dr. Smith is wearing a posh suit jacket with his name tag attached to it and a bow-tie. The tag showed a cute photo from Nigel's website. He's all his authoritative self that he does so well. We learn that there has been a board meeting to which Bruce was oblivious. A complaint has been filed against Bruce by Christopher for influencing him, and Bruce is basically fired from the hospital.

Ayinde Blake portrayed the young patient very well, believably switching from eager to get home to completely out of sorts. William Matthews was appropriately soft in line with the character he played. And Nigel was brilliant, playing the role of Dr. Smith with smug superiority. There was one scene in which he suddenly shouts at Bruce, causing the entire theatre to fall silent at his outburst. It was a delight to see him in a leading role again.
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The National Theatre, London, has established a wonderful method to reach a greater audience by broadcasting live performances to cinemas around the world. I was fortunate to live in one of the four German cities included in this programme. On January 17, 2013 Arthur Wing Pinero’s farce "The Magistrate" was broadcast, starring John Lithgow.

"The Magistrate" is set in Victorian London. When the widowed Agatha Posket (Nancy Carroll) meets a respectable magistrate (John Lithgow) and agrees to marry him, she knocks five years off her age. In consequence, her 19-year-old son, Cis (Joshua McGuire), is made to pass for an unusually forward 14-year-old.

And this has unfortunate repercussions when the smoking, gambling Cis takes his upright stepfather for a dinner to a slightly shady hotel only to find his mother and aunt turning up at the same establishment. A police raid on the place forces the magistrate to make a narrow escape. When he turns up at court the next morning, battered and bruised, he has to pass judgement on his partners in crime which turn out to be his wife and sister-in-law.

I’ve known John Lithgow from the comedy show "Third Rock from the Sun", which I enjoyed very much. He didn’t disappoint my expectations on stage. He was outright funny in the role of the Magistrate with perfect timing for the punchlines. Nancy Carroll was also wonderful as the wife who ends up in distress by her own doing.

The stage design was marvellous. The four sets were arranged like a pop-up book and there were musical interludes while the stage was switched to the next set.

During intermission a short film was shown about the rehearsals and preparation of the play. While that offered interesting background information, it also showed parts from the second act, which gave way a bit of the surprises yet to come. There was also wine and snacks offered in the lobby during intermission just as if you were really attending the theatre. Overall, a great opportunity to experience British theatre without having to travel.

The next play that will be broadcast live is Alan Bennett’s "People" on March 21, 2013. I’ll probably go again.

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