Our Beautiful People

I’ve been one manic stress monkey over the past month as all the elements of writing, directing and producing a touring production fall on my head like so many peanuts. Now that rehearsals proper have started that’s all I really want to think about, though working with our production designer, Amanda Godley, is always fascinating as well. She’s wonderful at turning one of my vaguely described visual ideas – “I want it to look like a comic strip”, for example – into a gorgeously detailed sketch or lighting plan. We’ve also got a new lighting designer/technician, Rob Mills, who has delighted both of us by being a master of that phrase which is music to a producer’s ear: I can sort that out. Particularly wonderful when it’s something diabolically difficult like radio operated practical lights rewired from existing period reproduction lanterns. Bless him.

So my mind is whirring – but that’s not what I want to talk about, mostly because I don’t want to give away any of my plots and plans before the play is seen. What I am going to tell you about is a few things that our wonderful cast members have been up to. First up, Robert Jezek’s newest film, Last Chance Harvey, is currently in theatres here in Britain. When Robert told me about this film, he said his was a non-speaking part until the final credits.  So I didn’t expect him to make the impact he does in the film. He plays the Polish neighbour whom Emma Thompson’s mother suspects is a mass murderer, and his qualities of warmth, roguish charm and intense physical presence come through very strongly.

Emma Thompson and Robert Jezek at the Last Chance Harvey Wrap Party
Emma Thompson and Robert Jezek at the Last Chance Harvey Wrap Party

Apart from the two leads, Emma Thompson and Dustin Hoffman, he is one of the most memorable characters in what is a very nice and under-rated film – and no, I’m not biased! Here’s a photo of him with the lovely Ms Thompson…

Meanwhile, he’s been filming another new film in Roumania with Robin Hood star Jonas Armstrong (see pic below), and in-between acting as co-producer for Hayton, which he was instrumental in developing.  He’s also performing this weekend in the new writing Hotbed Festival at the Junction theatre here in Cambridge. Busy guy.

Jonas Armstrong, Robert Jezek and Richard Albrecht
Jonas Armstrong, Robert Jezek and Richard Albrecht

And he’s not the only busy member of the cast. Our youngest actor, Lizzie Muncey, graduates this year from the MA programme at the Birmingham School of Acting. Check out the 18 June issue of The Stage newspaper to see a glowing review of her student showcase performance.  Two experts – playwright David Wood and Bruce Wall of LSW – made Lizzie their expert’s choice from her school – only one other student from any of the 10 schools featured was chosen by two of the experts. In her review of the showcase, Susan Elkin picked Lizzie out as her first highlight.  “Elizabeth Muncey…had casting directors and agents rustling their programmes and scribbling notes as soon as she appeared…” she wrote. Well, we always knew she was great.

Lizzie Muncey as Madame Valerian
Lizzie Muncey as Madame Valerian

Here’s a picture of her as Madame Valerian in Hayton…

…and because the rest of the pictures recently taken by dear friend and amazing photographer Chris Boland  of Sky Blue Photography are so nice, here are a couple more, featuring Mark Philip Compton and Sarah Kenyon…

Mark Philip Compson and Robert Jezek
Mark Philip Compton and Robert Jezek
Robert Jezek and Sarah Kenyon
Robert Jezek and Sarah Kenyon

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