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THEATRE TALK: Tennant Takes Over The Airwaves

A Christmas treat

Few could begrudge David Tennant the success he's achieved in the last few years. His name was unfamiliar to me, and countless others, when he joined Doctor Who, with his roles in Casanova and Blackpool interesting but not successful enough to make him massively visible to the general public. He's become a bit of a national treasure since his stint as the Doctor, and it seems fitting that as the end of his tenure approaches, his bravura performance in Hamlet and his eagerly awaited final episode of Who will combine to make many a teenager and/or theatre lover's Christmas.

While in Hamlet, he suffered a nasty back injury that left him in hospital for much of the production's London run, disappointing many theatregoers who believed they had paid to see him, and only him, in the role. Although understudy Ed Bennett did a great job covering the role, it's testament to both the strength of the RSC ensemble and the passion felt by Tennant's fans that the RSC decided to film the production - properly.

The advert for next week's show has just been released and, to be quite frank, it looks blimmin' amazing. I am, however, rather biased on this, since I absolutely loved the production and even queued for cheap 16-25 tickets at a particularly godawful hour in the freezing cold, but it does appear to have nicely mixed the original feel of the stage version with some beautiful filming. Don't be fooled when it says 'today' on the advert - the show won't be on till Boxing Day. I know where I'll be. Do you?

Christmas creeps up

It's almost upon us now - just a week to go until Christmas hits, but shows are still opening thick and fast, though the five million Christmas Carols that seem to be littering London don't really appeal. Whether it's Matthew Bourne's all-male Swan Lake at Sadler's Wells, the RSC's transfer of Twelfth Night or the thought-provoking Rope up at the Almeida, there's still plenty of choice for the discerning theatregoer. Recommended this week is Darker Shores at The Hampstead Theatre, which has been going since December 3, but would be perfect for a pre-Christmas theatre hit.

Originally starring Mark Gatiss, who had to pull out for personal reasons, Tom Goodman-Hill, most recently in Enron and, for those less aware of his stage work, who played the vicar/giant alien wasp in a wonderful Agatha Christie-themed Doctor Who episode, took over the role at short notice and is by all accounts doing a wonderful job.

Some pleasing news

I must correct a previous blog - where I wrote about Doug Hodge being the sole member of the La Cage cast to go with the show to Broadway. As I had been told previously, Nick Cunningham (who plays Hanna) WILL be accompanying Hodge overseas, which is wonderful news and very exciting, if slightly terrifying for Cunningham, who is the only Cagelle to be heading Stateside.

I have just seen the show for the final time - it closes on January 2, so get in quick if you haven't experienced this wonderful production yet - and really found myself warming to Hodge. His Albin/Zaza is very different from the lovely Roger Allam's interpretation, but it's certainly crowd-pleasing and, if not quite holding the emotional depth that Allam managed to evoke, still a fantastic, enjoyable and very sweet performance. Best of luck to the boys for the transfer!

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From This Author Miriam Zendle

Miriam Zendle is a freelance journalist specialising in arts, music and showbiz journalism. She has written for everyone from the Guardian to the Times and (read more...)