Missing Simon Russell Beale

18 Jan

September 29, 2008 was the last time I saw Simon Russell Beale on stage, in the Pinter double bill of A Slight Ache & Landscape at the Lyttelton. I knew then that he was off to New York in preparation for The Bridge Project, a transatlantic partnership that unites The Old Vic with Brooklyn Academy of Music and Neal Street Productions, and that I wouldn’t see him on stage again until mid-May, and by then I would have been utterly miserable and inconsolable. The night I saw him last, was also the second time I met him, and this came about after a lot of deliberating whether I should say goodbye so he wouldnt forget me and all (HAH!) So like a school girl who had this huge crush on the cutest guy in campus, I stood outside waiting for nearly three quarters of an hour by the National Theatre’s stage door with a card to boot and now I dont even remember if I kissed him or what! All I can recall was how he lovingly held my hand for about a minute, listening intently to what I was trying to say like assuring him I would book the two plays when it comes to the Old Vic and I am sure I fumbled through it all after which he said, ah, you are always so kind, with those dreamy and expressive eyes of his. YAY!

So here I am, four months later and really missing him like crazy. And as promised I have booked my tickets for The Bridge Project alright but that wouldnt make him come home any sooner would it? As I am updating my blog and browsing through theatre news I decided to check on how The Cherry Orchard is doing and although the play itself is geting mixed reviews, I am really pleased about what the critics have to say about SRB.

According to Ben Brantley of the NY Times, Mr. Russell Beale, one of the greatest British stage actors, doesn’t disappoint, registering every ounce of guilt, joy, fear and wonder that comes from Lopakhin’s realization that it is he, the parvenu, who will inherit the earth.

Brian Scott Lipton from Theatre Mania shares the sentiment about SRB as the peasant-turned-wealthy landowner Lopakhin, brilliantly embodied by the suitably ordinary yet completely extraordinary Simon Russell Beale.

The evening belongs to Simon Russell Beale, who is magnetic as Lopakhin, a serf-turned-merchant with money and a plan to save the estate. This British star’s inherent comic quality and expressive, plummy voice rightly push the play toward comedy, says The New York Daily News.

This comment really got me though and I couldn’t stop thinking about it, and please dont ask me why! Simon Russell Beale gracefully captures the graceless Lopakhin’s conflicts between his serf upbringing and his upper-class ambitions. His final scene with Varya (the equally skilled Rebecca Hall) is a heartbreaking vignette in which the two are unable to speak their true feelings as they chatter about the weather. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!! Enough, I can’t do this anymore! Anyway, here’s some production photos to share courtesy of the NY Times and NPR.



Well, it has to be said that I do feel a little bit better now, knowing that everything is going great for SRB across the pond. Just please come home soon! x

7 Responses to “Missing Simon Russell Beale”

  1. Abigail at 9:17 am #

    Ah, me too, Simone! I’m gagging to see the CO and WT. If you haven’t seen it, you might like the piece on the NPR website – there is even a bit of footage of the play to watch!


  2. feignedmischief at 12:11 pm #

    Oh you’re a star Abigail, thanks for visiting and sharing that link!

    Watching the clip truly made my day, thank you very much!

  3. Abigail at 4:16 pm #

    Thank YOU for telling the tale of your second meeting, I loved reading about it. You are much braver than I am!
    Did you hear about the new Alan Bennett play at the National? And did you, like me, instantly think – “ooooh, THAT would be something I’d like to see the great SRB in!”?

  4. feignedmischief at 12:20 am #

    I didnt sound obsessed there did I? I really admire and respect his work, and I am pleased that you feel the same way too. Have you seen a lot of his plays, I only started last year so I know I have missed a lot of the good ones. By the way, I am seeing The Cherry Orchard on 26/05 and The Winter’s Tale on 08/06, what about you?

  5. Abigail at 5:47 pm #

    Everyone is obsessive about something – more fun to be obsessive about seeing a great actor perform than about watching Neighbours or having a clean kitchen!
    I’ve seen most of the plays he has been in over the last four or five years – really regret not seeing his Hamlet, which was on before my regular theatre-going started.
    Like you, I think, I’m really fond of the NT and see most things that are put on there. Even when I’m not seeing anything, it’s nice to stop off there for a glass of wine or a cup of coffee on my way to somewhere else (my train goes into Waterloo so it’s easy to get to) – I love the building and the South Bank location.
    I’m seeing WT on 12 June and CO on 15 Aug – however my appetite is so whetted that I may be booking extra tickets so I don’t have to wait till summer! So if you plan to do that as well, perhaps we could coordinate?

  6. feignedmischief at 10:30 pm #

    Oh Abigail, youre a mind reader! Of course I am planning to see WT and CO more than once, I saw Major Barbara 7 times if you may know! I actually sent you an email, we can talk more about organising seeing the plays again there. 😉

    Well, I am jealous if you have been going to the theatre for 5 years. I only really took up the hobby properly in 2007-08, and have definitely missed a lot of SRB – Hamlet (one of the greatest I heard!), Macbeth, Humble Boy, The Alchemist, Life of Galileo, Uncle Vanya, Candide and I should stop writing now ’cause I feel even worse! But better late than never huh? I assume you have seen him in Much Ado About Nothing? Wasnt he just amazing as Benedick? I reviewed that somewhere and oh my!!!


  1. Theatre trotting in March « Feigned Mischief -

    […] with back to back plays, it’s really going to be a day out at the National, missing SRB like crazy, but also looking forward to meet […]

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