5 January 2016
2015 was a busy and successful year for Abingdon's theatrical alumni with the Christmas period seeing several OAs coming to particular prominence.
Eddie Wilson, (stage name Eddie Eyre), OA 2005, has been steadily building his acting career since leaving university in 2008. Over Christmas, he joined the West End cast of The Mousetrap, Agatha Christie's long-running murder mystery play to cap a year in which he has also appeared in the hit TV series Game of Thrones.
Simon Evans, OA 2002, took the directing route after studying at Cambridge. A year ago, he won favourable reviews for his production of a little-known American play at the Park Theatre in Finsbury Park, but this Christmas he has scored a significant hit with his staging of the first UK production of another American play, The Dazzle by Richard Greenberg. Staged in the fabulously atmospheric attic of the former Central St Martin's School of Art on the Charing Cross Road, Simon's production features Sherlock and Spectre star Andrew Scott, and has won five star reviews from the Times, Observer and The Independent newspapers. Director of Drama Jeremy Taylor, who joined Abingdon at the same time as Simon, was fortunate to secure a ticket for the relatively short run and was in full agreement with the critics; this was a wonderful production.
Meanwhile, Mike Bartlett (OA 1999) featured in a recent BBC interview in which he was able to reflect on an extraordinarily successful year that has seen many leading critics hail him as one of the best dramatists in the country. Mike, who recently moved back to Oxfordshire from London with his director wife Clare Lizzimore, had been due to visit us in November to talk to a group of A Level English and Theatre Studies students, but was forced to cancel at the last minute as he had been summoned to New York to fulfil press duties in connection with the Broadway opening of his Olivier award-winning play King Charles III. While New Yorkers enjoyed his future history play about the royal family, Londoners were lapping up a second chance to see his acclaimed play Bull, about bullying in the work place, at the Young Vic. You can read the article here.
Actors Alex Mugnaioni, Huw Parmenter and Max Hutchinson (all OA 2007) have also been establishing themselves in a variety of roles. Alexhas been working with Shakespeare's Globe Company for more than a year, appearing in King Lear and Much Ado About Nothing both at the iconic London Globe venue and on an international tour. He is about to play Malvolio in a new production of Twelfth Night in London and on tour. Huw has become an international heart throb after appearing in several series of the History Channel's celebrated TV show Vikings. He also appeared in a well-reviewed play at the Park Theatre called Dark Tourism. Max has followed up his London appearances in the National's hit production of One Man, Two Guvnors and The Notorious Mrs Ebbsmith with leading roles in the all-male Propeller Company's “pocket” touring productions of Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors and Merchant of Venice. He starts rehearsals later this month for Propeller's final show, A Midsummer Night's Dream, in which he will be playing Titania. As and when his schedule permits, he will continue to offer current Abingdon drama students the benefits of his wisdom and experience by leading workshops as Abingdon's actor-in-residence.