Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Aidan Turner on Stage

One of the things I'm most looking forward to this summer is seeing Aidan Turner make his West End debut in Martin McDonagh's The Lieutenant of Inishmore. Aidan returns to the stage after a break of ten years. Back in 2008, when he played Paris in Dublin's Abbey Theatre production of Romeo and Juliet, he probably had no idea that his career would take him away from live performance for so long and since 2012 he has been saying he would like to get back to his roots. As he told ARTICLE magazine recently, "It's gone beyond something I want to do at this point; it's actually something that I need to do."

Aidan Turner, The Lieutenant of Inishmore, Martin McDonagh, Noel Coward Theatre, Michael Grandage
The Lieutenant of Inishmore
Photo: Johan Persson
A while ago I was lucky enough to talk to Aidan about returning to the stage. As he says, "Going to the theatre is such a different experience than, say, watching TV.  It's like, well, it's the reason I started acting. Performing in theatre is just something that's completely different. You're on stage for two hours and it's just electric and anything can go wrong. It's that fear. Nothing can go wrong on a TV set and, if it does, you call cut and just go again."

Aidan plays Mad Padraic in The Lieutenant of Inishmore, a terrorist deemed too violent for the IRA, who loves his cat and is determined to find out how it met its end. Padraic can go from being brutal to disarmingly nice and fans familiar with Aidan's television work will have no trouble bringing to mind the roles he's brought both charm and menace to. Just think Philip Lombard in And Then There Were None which Variety describes as, "...the best work of his [Aidan's] career." But it's worth remembering that The Lieutenant of Inishmore is first and foremost a comedy, be it ever so black. And here, perhaps, Aidan's work in the theatre comes into play as he's no stranger to comedy on stage.

Aidan Turner, Crock of Gold
Crock of Gold Photo: Liam Halligan
Aidan played several parts in the fantasy play Crock of Gold (2006) which was noted by critics for its strong performances. From a cast of 30, reviewers sought out Aidan for the humour he brought to one his roles saying, "You have characters beautifully played such as Pan by Aidan Turner. His strutting around the stage is hilarious." Part of the fun of the theatre is having players interact with the audience which is just what Pan did, even at one time offering someone a cup of tea!

Aidan Turner, Cyrano
Cyrano Photo; Patrick Redmond
Later in 2006 Aidan played Christian in the comedy Cyrano. Reviewers praised the sharp writing of this funny play and called Aidan a "fabulous young actor who really stole the show," despite playing a "priapic lughead". As Christian, Aidan had the audience with him as he talked to Cyrano about never having been with an older woman, "except for that one time with my Aunt", responded to Roxanne's question about what makes him angry with "Britney Spears" and likened sex to paintball. There was plenty of visual comedy too with reviewers finding the sword fight with leeks inspired!

Although Aidan has been in many productions over the years the plays have often had short runs (Cyrano was eight days) with Romeo and Juliet at Ireland's national theatre The Abbey, having the longest run of 47 shows. The Lieutenant of Inishmore will run for over 100 performances. Aidan is realistic about the repetition whether it be for Poldark or on stage telling WWD magazine, "When you're anchoring a show there's some responsibility to take the lead and not to let boredom settle in. It happens in every job, it happened when I was on stage for years. After opening night, or a few weeks after, you begin to think it's old hat, that there's nothing new to discover. But it's just about re-engaging with the role, the experience and the project. I'm still having a lot of fun."

Aidan Turner, Romeo and Juliet, Abbey Theatre
In rehearsals for Romeo and Juliet Photo: Ros Kavanagh
Of course, Aidan and the cast are in the very capable hands of Michael Grandage, one of our finest directors. Aidan has not worked with Michael before but it seems they share the same ethos. Michael likes his actors to be happy and, as we know, everyone who joins the cast of Poldark says it's a lovely show to work on; Michael expects the cast to arrive at the first rehearsal knowing all their lines and Aidan's advice for auditions is to "get off book as quick as you can"; Michael hopes that, by the end of rehearsals, every line of a play will have been examined and Aidan says, "With theatre you’re kind of four-to-five weeks locked down in the room with the guys figuring stuff out. It’s back to play school.That’s what I miss the most — almost. There’s nothing like an opening night or like the curtain going up and having a full house, but also having weeks and weeks to work with your director and cast members and try to crack the play."

Aidan Turner, The Lieutenant of Inishmore, Martin McDonagh, Noel Coward Theatre, Michael Grandage
The Lieutenant of Inishmore
Photo: Johan Persson
The Noel Coward, where The Lieutenant of Inishmore will be staged, is a pretty Rococo style  theatre dating from 1903.  Aidan is certainly familiar with it as a member of the audience having seen Judi Dench and Ben Whishaw there in Peter and Alice and Sarah Greene in The Cripple of Inishmaan (which he went to with some friends from The Hobbit) - both Michael Grandage productions, The Cripple of Inishmaan being a Martin McDonagh play.  I've been to the Noel Coward several times (I particularly enjoyed The Cripple of Inishmaan). The seats have a comfortable amount of leg room and there is air conditioning during the performance. A word of warning though. The Ladies loos are few in number and the foyer ones are tiny!

The Lieutenant of Inishmore  runs from 23 June to 8 September.  Follow the link tickets and more information.

Please remember to credit Poldarked when reposting this article.

Related links:
Aidan Turner's Career

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Poldark's Uniform goes on Display at Gainsborough Old Hall

Poldark unifrom, exhibition, Gainsborough Old Hall
Photo: Gainsborough Old Hall

See Ross Poldark's uniform for yourself at Gainsborough Old Hall's Historical Hall of Fame exhibition this spring/summer! The uniform, as worn by Aidan Turner in the BBC One TV series, is one of  twelve costumes from film and television to go on display along with outfits worn by stars such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Judi Dench and Daniel Craig.

The Old Hall's public engagement manager, Jon Hogan told the Gainsborough Standard"Many of these costumes are period pieces, and, of course, as a 500-year-old building, the Old Hall would have witnessed many of these fashions the first-time round. That makes it the perfect venue to showcase them, giving visitors a glimpse into life back then."  

The exhibition runs from Friday 30 March to Sunday 2 September at Gainsborough Old Hall, Gainsborough, Lincolnshire. Follow this link for more information.

Relevant links:
Get Close to Poldark's Uniform

Monday, 19 February 2018

Nine Snippets from 'Poldark on Stage'

Poldark on Stage, Rebecca Keane, Debbie Horsfield, Damien Timmer, Karen Thrussell
Rebecca Keane, Debbie Horsfield, Damien Timmer and
Karen Thrussell
Poldark on Stage was a chance for fans to find out more about the show from screenwriter Debbie Horsfield and Executive Producers Karen Thrussell, Damien Timmer and Rebecca Keane. Now-familiar stories such as how Aidan Turner and Eleanor Tomlinson were cast, were mixed with new tales to make an interesting evening topped, wonderfully, by a look at some film from series four. Fans were treated to a three minute clip from episode one of Ross and Demelza sitting and talking by the fireside. First, though, we saw a preview of S4 as shown to the cast and crew at the wrap party back in January. It looks fabulous!

Here are some snippets from the evening:
  • Damien said that the fifth series of Poldark was 'in discussion'.
  • Mammoth Screen do not know when series four will be aired but say it may be a little earlier than last year. S4 will take us to the end of The Angry Tide.
  • Damien said: There are plans afoot for an American fan event: that's certainly been discussed.
  • Debbie uses an 18th century Cornish lexicon to ensure that the Cornish dialogue she writes is as authentic as possible. She is convinced Winston Graham used this lexicon too, as all the phrases from the books are in it. Debbie invented the word 'skillage' - a favourite from the show.
  • There is a scene in S4 where Ross and Demelza are racing their horses across the sand and, during the filming, Eleanor's horse edged in front. Aidan, looking over and getting a bit cross about this, urged his horse on but couldn't catch up. When Karen spoke to them afterwards Eleanor was quietly smug while Aidan was all "Well my horse isn't as fast..."
  • The BBC have a standard amount of money they pay for an hour of drama and don't pay any more because it's an historical drama filmed in Cornwall. The production company has to work out how much money they need to raise, outside of the BBC licence fee and tax credit, to make the show. They overspent on the first series of Poldark because it was a much bigger production than anticipated but now the show comes in on budget. Despite claims by the press that 'no expense has been spared' there is always scrimping and saving. Debbie is very strict about the finance and is good at finding the dramatic purpose of a scene within the confines of the budget. 
  • Talking locations, Rebecca said Nampara is the beating heart of Poldark and they sometimes go and sit in the set and think "We're in Ross's living room."
  • Karen nearly resigned over the exterior of Nampara! She felt it should be bigger.  The original plan had been to build an extra wing on the end of the house but then, because they were over-budget, that became impossible so they had to make the house work as it was.
  • Poldark is a happy ship! It has one of the happiest, most bonded teams and people care passionately about it.
Poldark on Stage was a fundraiser for the INK Festival which supports the new writing of films and plays in East Anglia. An auction of photographs signed by Eleanor and Aidan raised £340 on the night and the bidding is still open on the auction for one of Ross's waistcoats. Check out the details here.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

First Look at 'Poldark' Series 4

Here's our first look at Poldark series 4, courtesy of BBC One, with glimpses of Dwight and Caroline, Elizabeth and George and, of course, Ross and Demelza. Enjoy!

Bid for Poldark's Waistcoat!

Aidan Turner, Poldark, auction, INK Festival, waistcoat

Here's your chance to bid for one of Ross Poldark's waistcoats as worn by Aidan Turner in the television series Poldark!

The waistcoat (I'm sure it has a name - see the video below!) has been donated by Poldark producer Mammoth Screen to help raise funds for the Ink Festival. The Festival showcases new writing for film and plays from East Anglia.

The auction ends on 20 February, 2018.  

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

6 RTS West of England Nominations for 'Poldark'!

Aidan Turner, Eleanor Tomlinson, Poldark, RTS West of England Awards


Poldark series three leads the Royal Television Society West of England Awards for drama with a massive six nominations including best Drama and Director!

Poldark is up against Three Girls for best Drama while Director Joss Agnew faces competition from Philippa Lowthorpe for Three Girls and Bryn Higgins for Access All Areas.

The shortlists for the other categories with Poldark S3 nominations are:

Nick Dance Poldark
Matt Gray Three Girls

Ronald Bailey and team Poldark
Owen Shirley, Andrew Wilson, Scott Hazell, Dave Mackie Breakdown 
Ian Bown, James Burchill, Richard Hinton, Graham Wild Prime Suspect 1973

Una Ni Dhonghaile Three Girls
Jo Smyth Poldark

Natalie Holt, Three Girls
Timo Baker, Wonderful You
Anne Dudley, Poldark
Will Goodchild, Rise of the Warrior Apes

A full list of nominees may be found here.

The RTS West of England Awards will take place on Sunday March 11th at the Bristol Old Vic. Tickets are available from the Bristol Old Vic box office price £47.50. Call 0117 987 7877.

Well done Team Poldark!  Good Luck!

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Aidan Turner talks 'Poldark' Series Four Air Date and Series Five

Aidan Turner, Poldark, Radio Times Covers Party
Photo: Radio Times

Poldark Series Four will air in the UK earlier than last year according to Aidan Turner.

In an interview with the Radio Times at the Covers Party last night he said it would return, “Sooner rather than later, I imagine. I think it’s probably a different time to last year, it’s probably earlier from what I can gather. They need to finish post production and all of those sorts of things so that’s when I step out.”

He also confirmed that a fifth series has been green lit saying,“Definitely we’re going to do season five, we’re going to shoot the fifth one. After that, I don’t know. We’ll have to see how it all goes, but definitely for five. It’s kind of one step at a time.”

Aidan was at the Radio Times Covers Party to collect the award for the Poldark cover along with writer Debbie Horsfield, executive producer Karen Thrussell and Aunt Agatha herself, Caroline Blakiston. It was great to see stills photographer Robert Viglasky there as well, as he produces the photographs for so many fine covers. Here are some pictures from the night.

Aidan Turner, Caroline Blakiston, Debbie Horsfield, Karen Thrussell,Poldark , Radio Times Covers Party
Aidan Turner, Caroline Blakiston, Debbie Horsfield, Karen Thrussell Photo: Official Poldark

Aidan Turner,Robert Viglasky, Radio Times Covers Party
Aidan with Robert Viglasky  Photo: Robert Viglasky

With GBBO Photo: Kate Lyon

Photo: Radio Times