You never know which of the cast is going to turn up for a post performance Q&A so it was such a treat to get Dame Judi Dench, Ben Whishaw and Peter & Alice director Michael Grandage at the What's on Stage event. MG kicked off proceedings while the cast were getting out of costume:
How did Peter and Alice come about?
Met John Logan (who wrote Peter and Alice) while working at the Donmar. JL had wanted to write something for that space and Red arrived perfectly formed. MG said he and the writer had a common bond, had a good collaborative working relationship and good friendship. Logan had suggested Peter and Alice while Grandage was winding down as artistic director at the Donmar. He went to Dame Judi with whom he had worked before and she was enchanted by it. Then went to Ben and he liked it "So I got my first choices".
Will he throw his hat into the arena for Nicholas Hytner's job at the National Theatre?
"Flattered to think my name has been mentioned in relation to National Theatre" but doesn't want to run a building again as he's done it before and said there are plenty of talented people out there.
Cast arrive, Dame Judi is drinking champagne and Ben Whishaw red wine both seem relaxed laughing and joking throughout.
Why did you take the part?
BW said he was very moved by the story. He'd had no idea about the real story behind the famous children's story and was shocked by the tragedy of it. He had an emotional reaction to it.
DJ "Michael Grandage read it to me and read it far too well and I said yes straight away." In 1960 she had been living in Eton Terrace and Sloane Square was her local tube so she remembered the death of Peter Llewelyn Davies [he jumped in front of a train at the station].