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Rufus Norris Named Director Of London’s National Theatre; Succeeds Nicholas Hytner

By | Tuesday October 15, 2013 @ 4:31am PDT

Rufus Norris’ feature helming debut, Broken, opened Cannes‘ Critics’ Week in 2012 and later nabbed the Best Picture Prize at the British Independent Film Awards. But Norris won’t have much time for movies in the near future. London’s National Theatre today named him successor to Nicholas Hytner as artistic director, a post that’s considered the biggest in British theater – and one that’s had its share of influence on Hollywood. Norris will officially take over in April 2015, after Hytner steps down in March. Hytner, whose film credits include The Madness Of King George, The Crucible and The History Boys, has presided over some of the most prosperous of the National’s years in London since he took over from Trevor Nunn in 2003. At the National, he’s directed or overseen hits that moved to Broadway and/or the movies including The History Boys, War Horse and One Man Two Guv’nors (with One Chance star James Corden). He also pioneered the NT Live initiative which broadcasts stage performances like Danny Boyle’s Frankenstein with Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller and Helen Mirren-starrer The Audience, to cinema screens around the country and abroad. Norris has been working with Hytner for the past two years as associate director and recently staged The Amen Corner. Among his numerous earlier credits are a 2006 revival … Read More »

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‘Frankenstein’ A Monster Hit, Say Critics

The reviews are in — and London’s critics are swooning after sitting through two nights of director Danny Boyle’s production of Frankenstein at the National Theatre. Boyle had actors Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller playing the parts of Dr. Frankenstein and the Monster on Tuesday night. Then the thesps swapped roles for Wednesday night. The Guardian called Boyle’s production “a bravura triumph … a stunning evening”, while The Times has called it “a theatrical coup”. Oscar-winner Boyle’s work, the paper continued, “is the equivalent of jamming your fingers into a plug socket”. Charles Spencer in the Daily Telegraph’s review concludes: “Boyle, returning to the theatre after his Oscar-winning success with Slumdog Millionaire, pulls off something truly spectacular here. The Frankenstein story has become so familiar that it might seem an impossible task to make the old story seem fresh. Yet somehow Boyle does just that.” The Daily Express struck the only sour note, saying that Nick Dear’s script “often dragged as badly as the Creature’s foot when he learnt to walk”. The National Theatre will use high tech to beam Boyle’s Frankenstein production from the London stage to the U.S. in hi-def to 85 cinemas on March 17th and then on March 23rd. Audiences in Los Angeles will be able to see it at the Mann Chinese 6 in Hollywood. (For more background, see Danny Boyle Does Read More »

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Danny Boyle Does Frankenstein On UK Stage

He wryly described his career directing films, including the Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire and the currently Oscar-nominated 127 Hours, as “a long distraction” recently. That’s because Danny Boyle made his name directing on the British stage, and his hot ticket National Theatre production of Frankenstein started previews tonight. It’s the first play he has directed in 15 years and his staging is unique: his actors will alternate the roles of Victor Frankenstein and The Creature. Starring Jonny Lee Miller (who starred in the recent season of Dexter as “Jordan Chase”) and Benedict Cumberbatch (star of the BBC hit Sherlock), Frankenstein will be broadcast via satellite live in hi-def to 370 cinemas globally on March 17th, including 85 sites in the U.S. The play also will be broadcast to the UK and Europe on March 24th. It is estimated that around 100,000 people worldwide will watch both shows with the idea they can compare and contrast the performances. Miller will play Frankenstein with Cumberbatch as the monster on March 17th, then they will swap roles on March 24th. It may be the only chance most people to get to see the show which sold out its initial 10-week run almost immediately. Now Frankenstein has been extended until early May, although tickets have not gone on sale yet.

The National Theatre started broadcasting theatre shows live in June 2009 when Helen Mirren starred as Phaedra. This is the 10th live transmission. Tomorrow, London’s Donmar Warehouse will broadcast Derek Jacobi as King Lear. As for Frankenstein, Boyle … Read More »

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