Evening Standard, Friday, 12 March, 1993, Romantic
on a crowded stage
Surrey Comet, 23 April 1993, Colin has a chatsky, by David Brine
Times (Richmond), 30 April 1993, Polarizing audiences and critics, by Jenny Scott
|Evening Standard, Friday, 12 March, 1993
Romantic on a crowded stage
It will be a full house on stage as well as in the audience at the Almeida on Tuesday when the tiny Islington theatre premieres an unknown Russian classic with a 24-strong cast waltzing round the enclosed space to present the full array of 19th century Moscow society.
At the centre will be actor Colin Firth, in a leading role which has
been described as the Hamlet of Russian dramatic literature.
Jemma Redgrave and Dinsdale Landen co-star and the director is Jonathan Kent, back on his home patch where he scored two outright hits with The Rules of the Game and Medea.
Firth, tall, tousled and willowy, has put aside his transatlantic commuting and turned down all film approaches to return to the stage for the first time since he played an admired Aston in Pinter's The Caretaker in the West End two years ago.
It is 10 years since he was pulled out of of drama school on the strength of a student Hamlet to march straight on to Shaftesbury Avenue in Another Country. Since then he has led Richard Eyre's Tumbledown on TV and films like A Month in the Country and Forman's Valmont, in which he met his grlfriend and mother of his young son, American actress Meg Tilly.
He was in Canada when the call came for Chatsky. "I read the first five pages and it just got under my skin. I hadn't read language like that outside Shakespeare. It's rhyming couplets but so strong and vigorous you hardly notice."
He has come back to the theatre from making a film called "The Hour
of the Pig". Set in the Middle Ages, it concerns a pig hauled into court
on a murder charge and Firth is the defending lawyer. "The pig is accused
of killing a child. It was a half-wild boar, dark and bristly with huge
teeth, and when I met it for the first time the idea did not seem so silly."
|Surrey Comet, 23 April 1993
Colin has a chatsky
Despite the fact that controversy has seemed to follow Colin Firth throughout his acting career he claims that he doesn't go looking for deliberately provocative roles.
"When I see a script it interests me if it isn't simple — any script which ends up sorted out makes for boring drama," he maintains.
Firth is shortly to appear at Richmond Theatre in Chatsky, amusingly
subtitled The Importance Of Being Stupid, translated by Anthony Burgess
from a romantic verse comedy by Alexander Griboyedov.
He is probably best known for his television roles in Tumbledown, where
he played a soldier recovering from his injuries during the Falklands conflict,
and Hostages, in which he took the role of John McCarthy.
Firth is full of praise for Kenneth Branagh, with whom he worked in
the 1986 film, A Month In The Country. Firth describes him as enthusiastic,
tenacious, very funny and ultimately entertaining.
|Times [Richmond local paper], 30
Polarizing audiences and critics
"Playing to very mixed reception from audience and critics. That's not a euphemism for bad" said Colin Firth, who is playing the leading role in the Russian play by Griboyedov, Chatsky, which arrives at Richmond Theatre next week.
"Polarised! - It's quite extraordinary". Even in the sixth week at the
Almeida, Colin Firth seemed a little shaken by the reactions. "I don't
think I've ever been in anything that's been praised and damned like this.
Wasn't it much better to get such positive reactions, good and bad?
"Yes, it is better. The play's got an edge to it. It's only comfortable
things that are universally accepted and only dreadful things that are
It was becoming increasingly obvious that Colin Firth was enjoying his
He is probably known to millions of cinemagoers for films like Another Country, A Month in the Country, Valmont, Femme Fatale and most recently for Hour of the Pig and on television for Lost Empires, Tumbledown and Hostages.
His very first stage part was in Bennett's Another Country - straight
into the West End after training in what he calls "an unconventional drama
"Both film and theatre have their problems and appeal in different ways.
There's no question you're working with better texts in theatre - the scripts
are better. There never is a question of 'what a great film script, we'd
like to do that as well'. Once a film is done, that's it, unless someone
wants to do a re-make. You just don't have great classic film scripts around
that anyone can do.
"I've no plans whatsoever, but I hope at the end of the six week tour there will be something. When I'm not acting? I have a son and I like to spend as much time with him as possible".
Given his growing reputation as an actor, Colin Firth's periods of not
acting are almost bound to become strictly limited.