Rave reviews for Kenneth Branagh's West End return
Branagh's return to West End heralded as "performance of the year"
Also In The News
Manchester United have got the defence of their Champions League crown off to a disappointing start following a 0-0 draw with Villarreal at Old Trafford.
Thursday, 18, Sep 2008 03:51
Kenneth Branagh's first performance on the London stage in five years has already been heralded as the "performance of the year".
The actor takes the lead role in a revival of Anton Chekhov's Ivanov and earned five-star reviews from the Daily Mail, Guardian and Independent newspapers.
The Mail's theatre critic Quentin Letts spoke of Branagh's "world class talent" while the Independent's Paul Billington said the first-night of Michael Grandage's production could "scarcely be a more auspicious launch" for the Donmar Warehouse's year-long residency at the Wyndham's theatre.
While his run as Ivanov concludes on November 29th, he will return to direct a production of Hamlet, with Jude Law starring as the Dane.
The parallels between Hamlet and Ivanov were noted by the Daily Telegraph, whose Charles Spencer said the character's "despondency and self-loathing" would be labelled clinical depression in the modern era.
Spencer also drew comparisons between Ivanov and Jimmy Porter from John Osborne's Don't Look Back in Anger, adding: "His cruelty, his weariness and his self-disgust are all unsparingly caught and yet Branagh also suggests the blighted beauty in the character that makes two women love him."
The 1887 play also stars Kevin McNally, Gina McKee as Ivanov's devoted wife and Andrea Riseborough as his heiress mistress.
Branagh was last seen on the London stage in David Mamet's Edmund in 2003 while he worked with Grandage in a 2002 production of Richard III.