3 London theatre stories that caught my attention this week - and some belated actor spots
Review: Stories, National Theatre - Nina Raine's desperate for a baby drama fails to deliver

The shameless Ben Whishaw birthday post - my favourite stage performances

Shh, it's a rainy Sunday afternoon... it's Ben Whishaw's birthday so in 'celebration' here are the stage performances of his that are my favourites.

Ben Whishaw Hamlet programmeHamlet, Old Vic

Ok so technically I didn't see him perform it live but I have seen the V&A video recording a couple of times.

His Hamlet made so much sense. He was young, clever, inexperienced, fragile and at times immature and petulant.

Basically, he was a young adult thrown into an extraordinary situation and ill-equipped to cope. 

And he snot cried.

The full review is here which also includes links to related interviews and other tidbits.

Baby in Mojo, Comedy Theatre - now the Harold Pinter

Don't ask how many times I saw this, it was a lot.

It was a move away from the sensitive souls he's very adept at playing, something more akin to Sidney in the film Layer Cake. 

And I liked that, I like to see his versatility, his wilder performance side.

While underneath the surface there is a tragedy to Baby, he presents as someone wildly unpredictable and is dangerous as a result.

He also did a brilliant dance which was a mix of impish, wild abandon and menace.

Read my first thoughts plus links to more detailed reviews.

The Crucible Walter kerr playbillJohn Procter in The Crucible, Walter Kerr Theater

Director Ivo Van Hove cast against type, normally John Proctor is a more manly man but Ben played him with a gentle, sensitive, caring edge that made the story all the more tragic.

It was a production that drew gasps from the audience and not just for having a 'wolf' cross the stage.

Dionysus in Bakkhai - Almeida Theatre

Sexually charged, seductive, flirtatious and dangerous - this was Ben playing the god of wine and carousing.

Encouraging freedom and celebration - but at a price. I can still vividly picture his stage entrance.

Full description of his performance in my review here.


Just in case you were wondering, I've seen him in 12 different plays - I missed The Seagull and Mercury Fur early in his career, I'd particularly have like to have seen the latter.

It's a great play - I'm a huge fan of Philip Ridley's writing and his penchant for the grubbier side of humanity.