There’s no doubt that TV and film make-or-break a performer. If a show or movie is a critically panned flop, then the likelihood is that you won’t see that artist on your household screen or in your nearest multiplex any time soon. On the other hand, if its a hit, you can bet your bottom dollar that you’ll see that actor’s face on a movie poster on the underground almost immediately. But the theatre is where the performing arts separates the weak from the strong. The stage is where an artist can truly illustrate their performing potential, and it’s a platform for which decent actors can be determined as sublime. London is home to some of the most spectacular and thrilling performances in the world, and here are five upcoming theatre productions that star some of your favourite on-screen talent.
Damien Lewis and John Goodman: American Buffalo
Homeland’s Damien Lewis is back on British soil and is set to take the lead American Buffalo, a story about three small-time crooks who plan one last heist. The Emmy and Golden Globe winner will perform alongside Coen Brother’s favourite John Goodman and Tom Sturridge at Wyndham’s Theatre, in a narrative that will see the characters spiral into tragedy, rather than triumph. Often regarded as Mamet’s masterpiece, and with a stellar cast, director Daniel Evans’ production looks promising, and we’re excited to see it.
Chiwetel Ejiofor: Everyman
After winning a Bafta for his incredible performance in 12 Years a Slave, Chiwetel Ejiofor returns to the stage for a performance of Carol Ann Duffy’s Everyman. The Olivier Award winner in the titular role must face-off with Death, leaving his success and popularity to crumble as he searches for companions to support him. This allegorical play has been revitalised and updates from its beginnings in medieval Britain.
Bradley Cooper: The Elephant Man
Time for a West End debut! After consolidating his Hollywood power with three consecutive Oscar nominations, most recently for American Sniper, Bradley Cooper is cutting his theatrical teeth. Based on the true story, Cooper will play Joseph Merrick, a man whose intelligence, passion, and faith mesmerised his carer, Dr. Treves. Director Scott Ellis has already had a run on broadway with his adaptation, and Cooper has received critical acclaim for his heartbreaking and tremendous performance. Some of us are already familiar with the life of Merrick, having seen David Lynch’s film adaptation earn John Hurt an Oscar nod. How will Cooper compare? We can’t wait to find out.
Benedict Cumberbatch: Hamlet
Whether he’s using his superior intellect to solve mysteries in Sherlock, or he’s breaking the enigma code in The Imitation Game, Benedict Cumberbatch is a global phenomenon. The British actor is a must-have for any director planning to make a movie right now, and it’s obvious to see why. Good news for all then, as the wickedly talented performer is making an imminent return to the West End for a performance of Hamlet. The Shakespearean tragedy about a man avenging his father’s death is set to be an absolute hit, with Olivier Award winner Lyndsey Turner helming the project. Expectations have never been higher.
Kenneth Branagh: The Kenneth Branagh Company Season
Cinderella has been a monumental success this year, and it has raked in a sizeable amount of money at the global box office. Now Branagh is taking his directorial and theatrical expertise back to the theatre, for a season of plays which all appear mouthwateringly superb. Kicking off with The Winter’s Tale in October with Judi Dench, Branagh will kick-start a season of plays including the likes of Rob Brydon, and Cinderella stars Lily Tomlin and Richard Madden.
The Kenneth Branagh Company Season, The Garrick, October 2015 – November 2016