The Crown

The Crown
Alex as the Duke of Windsor

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Collaborators in The Olivier

The National Theatre announced today that once the current run in the Cottesloe theatre has concluded, Collaborators will transfer to the Olivier Theatre, where it will open the 2012 Travelex £12 Tickets Season for a limited run from 30 April. 

Booking for new performances opens at 9.30 a.m. on Wednesday 23rd November.  

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Time Out Review

Time Out gives the play 4 stars out of 5. Caroline McGinn says the following about the character and performances:

"...the dying liberal writer (played by a patrician Alex Jennings) is haunted by his country's devilish Master Josef Stalin (Simon Russell Beale), a papa-tyrant who claims to be his 'Number one fan'."

"...Half reality and half dream, it's a cat-and-mouse game between Jennings's mild, elegant writer and Russell Beale's cuddly but sinister tyrant. Hytner's production even opens like a Soviet 'Tom and Jerry', in which Russell Beale's plump and growling Stalin leaps out of Bulgakov's wardrobe and chases him round the room."

"...Russell Beale has a wonderful talent for portraying the banality of evil but never seems really dangerous here. But 'Collaborators' is designed to neuter him. Bulgakov evades his thick-whiskered pursuer precisely because the conflict between art and power is restaged on Bulgakov's ground: the bloodless arena of the imagination."

Full review at: Time Out

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Sunday Reviews

Susannah Clapp in the Observer has the following to say about Alex's performance:

Still, the wings of the play are Alex Jennings and Simon Russell Beale.

As Bulgakov, Jennings is reed-like, glistening with anxiety: the embodiment of febrility and ill-fated aspiration.

Full review at the website: Observer

In the Telegraph's Seven Magazine Tim Walker writes: "Simon Russell Beale’s well-upholstered, bewigged Stalin has something of the air of a salt-of-the-earth northern farmer out of All Creatures Great and Small, and this contributes greatly to the sense of the surreal. There is a splendid chemistry between the old brute and Alex Jennings’s bookish, bow-tied and somewhat fey playwright."

Full review: Telegraph

Claudia Pritchard in the Independent has the following to say: "Playing cat and mouse in this gradually darkening burlesque are Simon Russell Beale as Stalin, rugged and coiffured, limping and threatening, playful and steely, and Alex Jennings, airily courageous, bohemian and correct. This star casting coupled with the 24-carat direction of Nicholas Hytner made the show a sell-out before it opened."

Full review at: Independent

Sarah Hemming in the Financial Times: "Simon Russell Beale and Alex Jennings deliver these scenes superbly. ... Jennings’s tense, waxy Bulgakov suggests his character’s appalled fascination with his tormentor and his ghastly realisation that he has been played."

Full review: Financial Times

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Front Row Review

"Collaborators" was reviewed on BBC Radio 4 Front Row on 2 November. If you want to listen, the episode is available as a podcast to download on BBC Podcasts.

Thanks to Penny!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Collaborators Programme and Playtext

Both the programme and the full text of the play are now available from The National Theatre shop on the website.

See NT Shop for more information.

Evening Standard Review

Henry Hitchings praises the performances of Alex and Simon Russell Beale:

"And Nicholas Hytner's agile production is illuminated by fine performances from two of the National Theatre's stalwarts, Alex Jennings and Simon Russell Beale."

"Jennings eloquently conveys the pain of Bulgakov, whose circumstances improve as he turns into an apologist for Stalin's politics."

See: Evening Standard for the full review.

Collaborators Pictures

NT Live has posted a series of pictures from the production on Facebook:

NT Live

Fascinating pictures. So, who's going?

Collaborators: The First Reviews

The Guardian's Michael Billington has the following to say about Alex's performance:

"While I may question Hodge's arguments, his play has a nightmarish vivacity well captured in Nicholas Hytner's freewheeling production on Bob Crowley's zig-zagging traverse stage. And, if Bulgakov is seen as a reluctant victim of a brutal system, Alex Jennings memorably endows him with an extra-textual complexity. He plays him as a man ineluctably drawn into a pact with the Devil, who slowly awakens to the horrors of the bargain he has made, and who is filled with a sense of self-betrayal."

Billington gives the production three stars out of five.

Full review at: the guardian

The Daily Mail's Quentin Letts feels Simon Russell Beale's Stalin dominates the production but:

"Bulgakov is done with amiable dreaminess by Alex Jennings. Mr Jennings is always lovely to watch, even if he lacks some intensity."

Full review: Daily Mail

In the Telegraph Charles Spencer feels "this production will be best remembered for its dream-casting of Alex Jennings as the harassed, haunted Bulgakov and Simon Russell Beale as a Stalin who delights in playing cat-and-mouse games with him.

Jennings’s sweaty anxiety as Bulgakov finds himself traped by his tormentor’s devious wiles is superbly caught. Better still is Russell Beale’s Stalin, all peasant joviality, man-of the world practicality and sudden moments of unctuous flattery, until his eyes suddenly go dead and you see the cold calculating monster that lurks beneath the fa├žade.

This is a truly tremendous double act which thrills chills and makes you laugh out loud - even though you know you shouldn’t."

He gives the production four stars out of five.

Full review at: Telegraph