An actor’s life | Criticisng the critics

Thanks to all the readers of this column who came and experienced our production of Edward Albee’s ‘The Zoo Story’. Everyone involved and everyone who saw it has taken part in an adventure examining in essence what it is to be human. “To be or not to be,” according to Hamlet, or “What’s it all about Alfie?” according to Michael Caine.

A 16-year-old Danish boy who came reluctantly to see us, dragging his heels unwillingly as t’were, waited to see me in the foyer after the play one night. He shyly said that he had forgotten where he was as the play unfolded, and that he had no idea theatre could have such an effect on him. The 30 performances were worth it just for that one short sentence and a reminder to me of why I persist in this strange game called show business.

Good theatre has the power to do that. Thank goodness for good writers such as Edward Albee – the life-blood of, well, life itself.

To the Danish critics who told me that they wouldn’t be coming in to review us because they couldn’t “prioritise That Theatre Company this season”, I ask when have you actually ever done that? You obviously don’t care if your readers know about me, or what I’m trying to do here. That message has been delivered very clearly during my time in this country. What to do then? Keep doing excellent work with excellent people is my answer.

We perform in English but are proud to have worked with many Danish actors in our productions. The critics or members of something called The Reumert Committee (a bit like the Olivier Awards) who didn’t witness Adam Brix as Jerry in ‘The Zoo Story’, despite my encouragement, should feel embarrassed that they didn’t make the effort. He is quite simply one of the best actors I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with and hopefully will have the luck to really make a name for himself, both here and abroad.

All this showbiz tattle and reflection pales into insignificance when I think of the many far-more-important real-life stories being played around the world as I write this. A matter of life and death, for example, concerning a family member of some good friends of mine. My thoughts are with them and anyone else who is hanging on by a thread to this thing called life. Take a deep breath and enjoy doing that for as long as you can.