I’ve been quite on here for a while, but that’s partly because I’ve been so busy. I haven’t been to the theatre that much (trying to recover after a glut), but did get to see The Railway Children at Waterloo Station. It’s really, really good, but must put my thoughts together more coherently on that one…
I have written one or two things as part of my day job, though. Arthur Darvill, popularly known to BBC1 viewers as Rory Williams in Doctor Who, is currently playing Mephistopheles in Doctor Faustus at Shakespeare’s Globe. I interviewed him for The Stage:
“We have giant puppets that are going to take over the whole space and small puppets that are devils. It’s hilarious. There are people walking around on stilts all morning trying not to fall over. What Matthew’s done brilliantly is to bring all those elements in immediately. I think if those things were just added on, it’d feel like they weren’t serving the story. But everything is geared towards telling the story in the most concise, interesting, entertaining, brilliant way.
“It’s quite lucky for me because I’m just playing Mephistopheles. There are so many other people who are playing numerous parts. They can turn up as a monk, a demon goat, a fiery devil. There’s going to be a lot of running around. I spoke to the costume department and they said that, for the 16 of us in the cast, there are over 110 costumes. I’ve only got two.”
Away from the Globe, it is difficult to broach the subject of Darvill’s future plans without running into problems with Doctor Who spoilers. Such is the secrecy around future storylines that the actor can’t discuss whether or not he will be returning to Cardiff. One newspaper interview started parsing the tenses in which Darvill talked about his role in Doctor Who to try to determine whether he was done with the show. Darvill finds the situation hilarious, saying all he has to do to fuel more speculation is “just keep my mouth shut”.
Also Doctor Who-related, today I wrote a piece in praise of the latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine, which is a wonderful and highly emotive issue celebrating the joyous life of Nicholas Courtney:
One of the sadder duties of working at The Stage is occasionally having to report on the death of an actor whose work you have loved. But when it’s someone who evidently was adored, not just as a character, but as a person by just about everybody who ever met them, the loss can be immeasurable.
If we devoted as much space to the recently departed, their legacy and a commemoration of the lives they touched as those people deserved, we wouldn’t have the time or space to devote to anything else. So I think it’s only right that we should commend another publication for producing a marvellous tribute to a man who, as actor, Equity councillor, husband, drinking partner or friend, has left a profound hole in the acting profession by leaving us: Nicholas Courtney.
Do buy the latest issue of DWM: it’s a wonderful memorial to a man who quite clearly touched the lives of everyone he met.