When asked about the reasoning behind their decision to forsake the bright, sunny climes of LA, in favour of a gruelling three month run in front of unforgiving London audiences in equally unforgiving weather, many of these actors respond with the usual platitudes – a desire to return to their ‘acting roots’, a yearning to get in touch with real audiences, a longing for the credibility reserved only for stage actors …. All of these explanations may be to a greater or lesser extent true, but one can’t help but feel that the real reason for this mass exodus to London lies squarely with one man – Kevin Spacey.
Back in 2003, when Spacey, a hugely successful Oscar-winning actor, all but abandoned his glittering Hollywood career to take up the position of Artistic Director at the Old Vic,
And so, a new golden age of theatre was born – and 2011 is proving to be its best year yet…
Currently, dotted around the West End, celebrities such as Keira Knightley, Elizabeth Moss, Matthew Fox and Sienna Miller are busy trying to prove their theatre-acting chops. However, the most exciting of all the current batch of big name productions has to be Frankenstein, the National Theatre’s blockbuster dramatisation of Mary Shelley’s classic gothic novel.
Directed by none other than Danny Boyle (who brought us Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours and Trainspotting), it also stars Jonny Lee Miller (another Trainspotting alumnus and ex-husband of Angelina Jolie) and Benedict Cumberbatch (fresh from his success playing Sherlock Holmes in the BBC’s eponymous drama). With such a cast of characters on board, this show could not fail to hit the mark. In fact, even before the show was previewed, whispers abounded that this would be a show not to be missed - a prediction that proved to be true.
Thanks mainly to Boyle’s unique re-imagining of a now-familiar tale, and the astonishingly visceral acting of his leading men(Cumberbatch and Miller alternate between the roles of Victor and Creature), the show has proved to be an astounding success.
The outstanding success the production has, in accordance with Spacey’s vision, proved to be a boon for British theatre.
All hail the genius that is Kevin Spacey.
For further information on cinema screenings of Frankenstein, see the National Theatre's website: