Thursday, 21 July 2011

The playboy of the western world

photo from The Old Vic Website

Finally the poster is out and I can share this lovely job. A few weeks ago I was asked to do wardrobe on a photo shoot for London's Old Vic theatre. I have worked at the theatre a few times and blogged about it Here.
The current play is  Richard III with Kevin Spacey in the lead role. It is a stunning production and well worth seeing,  however we are talking about 3 hours of Shakespeare here so not to everyones taste. 
The following production starting in September is an irish play called The playboy of the western world. It dates from 1907 and was quite controversial when first  performed you can read why in an article from the Guardian  here.
This new production has a great cast, Ruth Negga plays Pegeen I saw her as Ophelia in the National's Hamlet some months ago so looking forward to seeing her in this. The amazing Niamh Cusack is Widow Quinn.  The main role is taken by Robert Sheehan the mouthy one from Misfits (a brilliant dark comedy gem of a TV series) As you can see from the poster Robert was the subject. He was so charming and funny and very obliging during the 3 hour shoot in the damp  Old Vic Tunnels. The tunnels are owned by British Rail and hired by The Old Vic for performance space. They have a huge variety of events there and I'm looking forward to going back as a punter one day soon.

blurry iphoto action shot
Robert Sheehan

some alternative pieces

We had a variety of outfits to try, the aim was to have a flavour of the era but not be time specific, the notes from the costume designer were pictures of typical antiheroes like Brando, James Dean and Sid Vicious. All in all it was a really enjoyable way to earn a days pay. I worked on a production of this play at the birmingham Repertory Theatre about 15 years ago and can't wait to see the Old Vic's version.

The final poster
One of the things a regular around London may notice is the common theme among theatre posters. At least 3 long running shows have similar pictures of the back of people, presumably to avoid having to change the poster when the cast change. There does seem to be a standard style for theatre posters. The Old Vic steps away from that and I think when you are traveling down those long tube escalators it pays off as their posters really jump out. Though I am rather biased!


  1. I wanted to see Richard III but it was totally sold out! Maybe I need to go back to London to see this one.

  2. The posters do look good, I never get time to see any shows must try harder!


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