THE FIRST SEASON
Back in October I briefly mentioned the Trafalgar Transformed theatre season that took place at Trafalgar Studios – directed and curated by director extraordinaire Jamie Lloyd, the inaugural season kicked off with a particularly bloodthirsty Macbeth starring James McAvoy. It was so bloody that if you were sitting on the front row and wearing dry-clean-only clothes it was suggested you moved seats. Pretty messy stuff.
Macbeth was followed by the brilliantly mad The Hothouse, starring theatre-great Simon Russell Beale and current star of Prey John Simm. The highlight for me though was seeing John Heffernan and Harry Melling live on stage for the first time – they are both so incredibly talented.
Harry played Dudley Dursley in the Harry Potter films and, I have to admit, I had no idea he was such a talent. Immensely passionate about his craft his aptitude for finding the subtle nuances in an exaggerated character is astounding. Check out what he has to say about playing dangerous characters here about his recent stint in King Lear in New York.
And John is a downright comedy genius. Brilliantly camp with mischief glittering in his eyes, he’s a stage-force to be reckoned with. Check out this interview he did at the end of last year, just before taking on his first London lead role.
The final play in Season One was The Pride. Set in two time periods, the 1950s and the present day, it showed the changing attitudes towards homosexuality. Check out the trailer here. This incredibly moving show was bought to life by Captain America’s Hayley Atwell, Mathew Horne (of Gavin and Stacey fame), National Theatre regular Harry Hadden-Paton and another of my major talent crushes, Al Weaver. Next time Al is in a show I thoroughly recommend grabbing a ticket.
My flatmate and I saw this show twice actually and it was the first time she had made a repeat visit to a play. It was heartbreaking and had a wonderfully strong message.
And why is it called Trafalgar Transformed? Well, they transformed the theatre didn’t they! Check out the snazzy time-lapse video here.
THE NEW SEASON!
So, yes, Trafalgar Transformed is back! And it’s opening in July with an absolute corker – Martin Freeman in Richard III. Yep, the Hobbit is gracing the stage, Watson is treading the boards, Tim from The Office is doing the Bard! It’s going to be epic.
The cast also features a wonderful actor called Phil Cumbus – he was in Romeo and Juliet at Shakespeare’s Globe when I worked there back in the day, and he really is a marvel. I've followed his progress through the theatre world ever since. Come to see Martin, but keep a big eye out for Phil. I'd love to know what actors you guys follow that aren't perhaps in the centre of the limelight so let me know in the comments!
East is East
Next up, in October, the wonderful Jane Horrocks is descending on the Trafalgar Studios in the cult classic East is East. Y’know, Bubbles from Absolutely Fabulous! She was most recently in Sunshine on Leith which is the brilliant musical movie that I mentioned in my post about the Electric Cinema.
Set in 1970s Salford, East is East is Ayub Khan Din's take on British Asian life. Married to an English woman but maintaining strong Muslim values George struggles to keep his children in line and stop them straying from the strict religious path he intends for them.
The play was made into a film in the late 90s but it started it's life on the stage of course so I'm mega excited to see it back in it's original home. And what's even more exciting is that Ayub, the playwright, is taking on the role of the George, the father. I can't wait to see him onstage at George given that the play is semi-autobiographical.
So there you have it folks, a big ole’ heads up that some excellent theatre is on it’s way. You can buy tickets for both shows here. Or if you want to chance it, all tickets on Mondays are £15 but are not released until the first Monday of each month so put it in your diary and grab a pair.
Follow Trafalgar Transformed on twitter for the latest news or follow me because I tweet about it a lot! Apologies that this post has been a sort of theatre geek expolosion - it's just really bloody exciting work!