Lady in the Van

Lady in the Van
Opens 13 November in the UK

Friday, December 08, 2006

The State Within - Episode 5 and 6

Well, not great episodes for Alex fans. It did all, more or less, make sense in the end.

After a season of Alex appearances on stage, film and television it looks like it's getting a little quieter now. No announcements for new appearances yet, has anyone else has any idea where we will see Alex next?







Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Queen, At Last

Well, I finally got to see "The Queen". I enjoyed the film, Mirren's performance and Alex. It must have been tough for him playing a man people know so well, and not really looking like him. The voice was good, though, and he sometimes had me taken in. The expression was pretty good too. Oh well, he is a pretty good actor, really.

Monday, November 27, 2006

The State Within, Episode 4

I'm still not sure I understand anything about what is going on, but I like Alex's performance, as well as some of the others. Two more episodes to go.





Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Second State Within

The reviewer at The Stage is a fan of "The State Within" and mentions a possible second series:
The Stage

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Murray and Sinclair

There is an unusual new angle on the character of James Sinclair. On the "Atlantic Free Press" website there is a piece by former British ambassador Craig Murray who claims that the character of James Sinclair was based on him.

See: Atlantic Free Press

Friday, November 17, 2006

State Within, Episode 3

The third episode of "The State Within" had more Alex, and Alex, or James Sinclair in trouble. I don't want to go into the series too much or post any spoilers for people who will watch it later.





Monday, November 13, 2006

More State Within

A little more Alex in the second episode, just wondering in how many more he will be.




Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Sound of Alex

Apparently, the new production of "The Sound of Music" has lost its leading man. "The Stage" has a suggestion for a possible replacement:

"Intriguingly, Alexander Hanson who has now gone into the role of Captain von Trapp appeared in a workshop of the show earlier this year. So he was obviously always in the frame, but didn’t quite have the telly credits that Shepherd has. Pity, of course, that another Alex – Jennings – is otherwise engaged at the National, since he too might make an ideal von Trapp….."

see: The Stage

Monday, November 06, 2006

The State Within, Episode 1



The first reviews of "The State Within" that I've been able to find so far are pretty favourable. Not much about Alex in there though. He did appear in a few scenes in the first episode but I have a feeling there is much more to come. The pace of the piece does seem to get some people confused. Contrary to what Julia said on the reviews page of the official BBC website, it wasn't Alex having "a gay snog", but two other characters, neither of whom looked remotely like Alex.

The BBC has updated the official website to include the viewers review page and a synopsis of episode one. There also are interviews with some of the actors, but Alex isn't in there (yet). For anyone hoping to catch the series later, reading the reviews might not be a good idea, there are a few spoilers in there.




Friday, November 03, 2006

Babel


The IMDb credits Alex with a part in "Babel", and he mentions the film himself in the "Time Out" interview (see 29 October). The film opened in the Netherlands on November 2, and got very good reviews.

I went to see it and liked it very much. The announcement said the film lasts 143 minutes, but it was over before I realised. You get to live through four different stories, more or less related, and you need to keep your concentration, but it is worth it. The film is beautifully made, you can relate to the characters and even though it moves through continents, histories, languages and generations it all seems part of the same story, somehow.

As for Alex, I am glad he mentioned in the interview he would be in the helicopter scene, because the tiny bit turned out to be very tiny. I got a glimpse of him twice, just a few frames and not a single line. What a waste to use a wonderful actor as an extra. But that is my only criticism of the film.

Or maybe just one more, maybe I wasn't concentrated enough, but didn't the bullet come from the wrong
side?

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Interviews

There are two fairly recent interviews with Alex on-line.

Theatre.com has an interview with both Alex and Simon Russell Beale talking about their careers. They talk about being associate artists at the National Theatre:

Alex: "And then you can do script meetings as well, which is really good to do, but it’s hard. I can’t judge a script for love or money. I quite like to go, though, because I think it’s good to have an actor’s take on things represented sometimes, but having said that, I’ve not been for ages."

Simon Russell Beale on Alex and Nick Hytner working together:
"There was a very funny moment when Alex did something and said, ‘That feels a bit…’ And Nick went, ‘Yeah!’ And I had no idea what they were talking about, but they knew exactly what each other meant."

On being an expert:
Simon: "You know, Alex is an expert as well."
Alex: "Yes, on theatre history. I write pieces for the Dictionary of National Biography."

On musicals:
Alex: "I would love to have done The Music Man, but I’m too old for it now. But I love to think I could do Sweeney Todd one day, but I don’t know—I keep thinking I have to start work now."

The full interview: Theatre.com



In a Time Out interview he talks to Jane Edwardes about the Alchemist, working with Simon Russell Beale and a year away from the stage:

"He used to say that he was too noisy for the box and he didn’t know how to do it, but after appearing as a surprisingly inscrutable George Bush in ‘Stuff Happens’ at the National, he decided to turn down all theatre offers for a while and waited to see what would happen.
‘For the first few months I thought: Oh God, what have I done? Why didn’t I stay where I’m wanted? But then things did get better, perceived blacklists didn’t exist, and I did some episode television and a thing about the Ballets Russes in which I played Diaghilev. Then a tiny bit in “Babel” in which I got to go in a helicopter with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, and Prince Charles in “The Queen” [he gets a definite thumbs-up for this from our own Film section]. I do feel I’ve made advances over the last year and I’ve been quite pleased with some of the things I’ve done. Some of it’s been very seductive and hasn’t really felt like proper work.’

What he hasn’t missed away from the theatre is the build-up to the press night, particularly acute in this instance when anything short of a triumph will be seen as a failure. He and Beale have tried to cope by writing their own reviews: ‘How disappointing to see…’; ‘We were looking forward to this so much, what a shame…’; ‘Expectations were not realised…’"

Full interview: Time Out

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Soon On BBC1

The first episode of "The State Within" will be broadcast on 2 November at 9pm. The latest information can be found on the BBC's "State Within" website: BBC Official Website

Monday, October 23, 2006

Babel

Alex appears in the new film "Babel" starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, playing the part of Ken Clifford. The film was shown at the Cannes Film Festival this spring and will be on general release in the US on 10 November, in the UK on 5 January.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

James Sinclair

The BBC have created a website for their new series "The State Within". The site now has character files, with photographs, including one on James Sinclair, the character played by Alex:
James Sinclair

James Sinclair is the ex-ambassador to Tyrgyztan and he is given the following profile:

An out-spoken critic of President Usman and the human rights abuse he encountered in Tyrgyztan. After his wife Saida's death, became even more vociferously opposed to Usman. As a result he was recalled and subsequently fired from the job of ambassador. Seen an embarrassment to the UK Government, who support Usman and have many strategic and commercial interests in the country. Now determined to turn Western public opinion against Usman. And to force both the UK and US administrations into withdrawing their support for him.

"The State Within" is a six-part series to be shown this November on BBC One.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Queen in Canada

The Queen has opened in Canada and the review of Canadian press is good to Alex:

"And another: a constantly wincing Prince Charles, played brilliantly by Alex Jennings, reminding the Queen as she continues to dig in her heels that Diana was a magnificent mother unafraid to show love and affection to her boys, a clear rebuke of Elizabeth's own mothering skills. Perhaps a flight of fancy in a film that is otherwise said to be remarkably factual - Frears says the Queen's best friend saw the movie and gave it the thumbs-up - it's a painful scene to watch as Elizabeth is clearly stung by the comment."

Full review:
CTV.ca

Monday, October 09, 2006

Spooks

Alex played a part in the 4th episode of the 5th season of "Spooks", broadcast on 2 October. He played the part of James Allan. More information, and a small clip, can be found on the official BBC website:
Spooks

Friday, October 06, 2006

More Queen and Alchemist

The reviews for "The Queen" still keep coming in:

From the Washington Post:
"And as Prince Charles, Alex Jennings may not be a dead ringer but he's memorable as a benevolent manipulator, moved by Diana's death yet resolved to use it to curry favor with his future subjects."

Full review: Washington Post

From the Villager:
"The royal family, except for the ineffectual, sly, and emotionally vulnerable Prince Charles (Alex Jennings in an understated, nuanced performance), is unwilling to defer to the people’s treatment of Diana as a popular icon, and refuses to hold a public funeral."

Full review: The Villager

And one more for the Alchemist from London SE1:
"Both Alex Jennings and Simon Russell Beale speak their somewhat grandiose lines with obvious delight and play their con-man roles as broadly as possible. However, Beale's 'cor blimey' accent, interspersed with the 'feigned' speaking voice of his alter ego, the Captain tends to waver. An air of artificiality may have made the Captain's lines even more amusing and after a time, Beale's exaggerated mockney accent tended to grate. In some of his more ridiculous scenes, it almost seemed as though he'd escaped from an Igor (you rang?) audition. Such over the top posturing was highly comical, especially from a renowned actor like Beale, and gave strong indications of his comedic prowess, but nonetheless seemed out of place here.

Jennings' fares better with his attempt at the notoriously difficult London working class accent. However, his 'stereotypes on parade,' characterizations, which range from a California hippy dippy queen, through a ranting and raving Scotsman to all knowing, new age alchemist lose their novelty somewhat as the performance goes on. Only Lesley Manville, in her role as prostitute Dol Common acts with real conviction within the context of her role, right down to her ostrich featured heels and the ladders in her tarty black stockings. Manville somehow manages to keep the feel of her lines referenced with the time they were written, whilst dressed in the sixties toned fashions assigned to her character, and assuming contemporary mannerisms to good comic effect. Despite all the modern trappings, the only thing missing is a strategically placed beauty spot. It is as if the actress had been swept into the present day from the seventeenth century unflinching, whilst batting her long eyelashes.

However, despite the overall unevenness of their performances, it is still great fun to watch Alex Jennings and Simon Russell Beale, who've never acted together before, savour their ferocious bantering, like a couple of great cats hissing at one another across the stage."

Full review: London SE1

Thursday, October 05, 2006

State Within

Alex will appear in a new BBC conspiracy thriller this autumn. He will play the part of James Sinclair. From the BBC press release:

"State Within" is due to broadcast on BBC ONE later this year. The new six-part series takes place over 17 days in the life of the British Ambassador to the USA. Ambassador to Washington is the pinnacle of success in the Foreign Office and only the brightest and best succeed to this post. However, Mark Brydon (Jason Isaacs) soon finds he is tested to the limits of his foreign diplomacy skills as he grapples with a world of tangled relationships and conflicting interests following a major diplomatic incident."

The IMDb gives the release date as 1 November 2006. The series was filmed in Canada earlier this year.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

And There's More

"Jennings' performance is superb, stretching beyond caricature. No matter that Charles' ex-wife had infuriated and frustrated him: The guarded pain he shows upon learning of her death envelops all of those complicated feelings, as well as the reality that she's the mother of his children."

Full review: salon.com

"The most interesting characterization is Prince Charles. Seen here as a deviously manipulative wimp, fearful of his mother and beholden to his own selfish concerns, Charles superficially cares about the death of his ex, but is more paranoid that others will want to shoot him as an act of retaliation for his martial woes. Actor Alex Jennings really has his work cut out for him with this iconic role, yet he digs in there bravely to portray Charles's less than noble intentions, along with inhabiting his pressed speaking style and tightly wound face."

Full review: axcessnews

Monday, October 02, 2006

Mixed Messages

Matt Wolf at The International Herald Tribune prefers Russell Beale to Alex in "The Alchemist", and isn't that keen:

"But painful though it is say, the show turns out to be a triumph for Russell Beale rather more than it is for Jennings, who perhaps has the disadvantage of not having acted Jonson's tricky language on the imposing Olivier stage."

"In T-shirt and suspenders one minute, Russell Beale's Face is all slicked-back officiousness the next, at another point appearing in goggles only to be cradled by Jennings's Subtle (note the character names) as if he were an untamed dog. Jennings's accents - a cringemaking American one included - somewhat hamper a play about artifice that, paradoxically, has to look easefully managed. Betray the effort involved, as is the case here, and you have a momentous pairing that isn't quite the expected exercise in mirth."

Review: International Herald Tribune


And more reviews for "The Queen":

"Along with the imperiously indignant Cromwell, the supporting cast is brilliantly rounded out by Alex Jennings as a skittish Prince Charles, Helen McCrory as Blair’s wily wife, Roger Allam as the queen’s diligent aide and Sylvia Syms as the queen mother, who is often hilarious in her regal dismissiveness of the outside world." (David Germain)
Review: NBC

But the film also has some wonderful performances from Alex Jennings (who's Prince Charles is surprisingly weak and sympathetic -- who knew the man was fearing for his life that week?) (Erik Davis)
Review: Cinematical

Andrew Stuttaford in the New York Sun describes Alex's performances as "splendidly twitchy".
Review: New York Sun

USA today doesn't have a review but a different story:

Prince's pals perturbed by portrayal
The Queen screenwriter Peter Morgan says friends of Prince Charles are not pleased with his portrayal in the movie. In it, Charles (Alex Jennings) is portrayed as trying to please his mother, Queen Elizabeth (Helen Mirren), after the death of his ex-wife, Diana, while working behind the scenes with Prime Minister Tony Blair to urge the queen to publicly express her grief. Queen opens the New York Film Festival Friday and expands in October.
USA Today

Monday, September 25, 2006

Body Language

David Benedict in Variety likes the production and is full of praise for Alex's performance:

"The prize, however, goes to Jennings, constantly switching between a plethora of superbly sustained characters. One minute he's a dour, suited Scotsman, the next a pious, white-robed mystic. Best of all is his default position as a New Age guru in beads and a fluting voice not a million miles from Rufus Wainwright."

Full review: Variety


And New York Magazine has the most to say about Alex's performance in "The Queen" so far:

"Even Charles (Alex Jennings) is a figure more to be pitied than censured. He’s always piping up about changing times and the need to be flexible—and you see him through his mother’s eyes, not so much flexible as boneless. I’ve rarely seen body language more amusing than Jennings’s when he directs his chief of staff to make overtures to Blair behind his mother’s back (“The prince feels that you and he are modern men”); he leans away from the phone as if afraid it will turn into Mummy and whack off his head."

Full review: New York Magazine

Friday, September 22, 2006

One More Review and Something Else

The Guardian Leader on 21 September is all about the play and its relevance today:

The National Theatre's revival of The Alchemist - a truly great English play about
confidence tricksters - is as relevant in today's age of supposedly health-giving bottled waters as it was during the South Sea Bubble. The play is not about alchemy but about criminals who cash in on it by inducing the gullible to part with money.


Full leader: Guardian










Rosie Millard in the New Statesman writes another good review of the Alchemist:

"It's difficult to know who the star of The Alchemist is, but Alex Jennings and Simon Russell Beale, as Subtle and Face, respectively, have huge command of the stage and pass the baton generously between each other. Russell Beale grabs the tricky Jacobean text (there have been only a few minor rewrites) and wrestles it into comprehension. Meanwhile, Jennings dives into a dizzying array of amusing personages: a white-robed mystic, an American feng shui expert, a Scotsman in tweed, each more convincing than the last. As Subtle and Face take more and more money from an ever-growing queue of fools and the action begins to whirl, Jennings and Russell Beale chop and change accent, costume and style without resorting to cliché."

Full review: New Statesman

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

All Sorts

The Alex Jennings Picture Gallery has been updated to include Alex's work over the past couple of years. Details on "The Queen", "The Alchemist", but also on "Riot at the Rite" and other recent appearances.
See: Alex Jennings Picture Gallery



Ashenden
The British Film Institute has an online film and television archive with cast lists, synopses, pictures and video. They have a page on Ashenden, the 1991 series in which Alex played the lead. The page has a full episode and several short fragments on video, but the video is only accessible to UK students, professors, and archivists, unfortunately.
See: British Film Institute



RSC picture archive
The RSC has an online picture archive where you can find some 20 pictures of Alex in various RSC productions, including the early ones (Hyde Park, Taming of the Shrew):
See: RSC

Monday, September 18, 2006

More Alchemists



In The Stage, review by John Thaxter:

"Simon Russell Beale, following triumph as Galileo, gives a superbly inventive performance as Face, house-sitting while his landlord is in the country, teamed up for villainy with Alex Jennings, master of accents and disguises, as the charlatan alchemist Subtle, together with their high-class tart Dol, played for stylish glamour by Lesley Manville."

Full review: The Stage

Philip Fisher for the British Theatre Guide has some reservations about Alex's performance:

"Alex Jennings is Subtle (anything but), The Alchemist, a conman who sports the Michael Gambon drawl amongst friends but constantly reinvents himself for his public. This requires quick changes of both clothing and persona as he switches from Californian hippie to beguiling Scot or posh Englishman. Eventually, there is a feeling that at times he is sending up his roles to a rather greater extent than is entirely necessary."

Full review: British Theatre Guide

And so does Michael Coveney in What's On Stage:

And the much anticipated performances of Alex Jennings as the spurious alchemist, Subtle, and Simon Russell Beale as the chameleon housekeeper Face, are brilliant, but strenuous, exercises in “character.”

Full review: What's On Stage

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Sunday and Other Reviews For the Alchemist


In the Evening Standard Nicholas de Jongh turns to the contemporary and political content of the play. He has some comments on Alex's performance:

"What's more The Alchemist's hopeful deceivers - Simon Russell Beale's endearing butler-turned-housekeeper, who goes by the name of Face and convincingly puts on three different ones, Alex Jennings's deliciously amusing freelance pimp, Subtle, with his little repertoire of false identities, and Lesley Manville's Dol Common, who comes packed with sexual promise and promises - are all involved in the defunct art of alchemy."

And:

"An artful brand of deception and role-play rises initially in a comic spiral of complexity. The modern-dress performances brim with vitality. Jennings's estuary-accented wide boy Subtle sets the deceptions going in a comedy classic performance. Hilariously got up as an American hippie, with headscarf, beads and a voice of glazed, camp affectation, or white-gowned and tranquil, he oozes a grave, misleading sincerity."

Full review: Evening Standard

Kate Bassett in the Independent isn't that keen:

"This production will, I suspect, get funnier. At the final preview which I attended, Ian Richardson's Sir Epicure Mammon, luxuriating in wanton fantasies, kept falling disappointingly flat and Jennings's gamut of accents (from American to Scots) isn't all that hilarious. Nonetheless, Tim McMullan is splendidly silly as a swishing mock-Spaniard and Russell Beale is, as always, outstanding, with dry comic timing and moments of terrific flamboyance - staggering like Frankenstein's Igor out of an exploding laboratory. He also imbues Face with disturbing psychological depths, almost Iago-like festering jealousy and unloved misery."

Full review: Independent

Christopher Hart, in the sunday Times, is impressed though:

"The two leads — Alex Jennings as Subtle and Simon Russell Beale as Face — are excellent, but so are their satellites, not one of them ever threatened with eclipse. And how hard they all work, not only delivering complex verse at full pelt, but managing a dazzling array of daft accents and silly costumes. Sometimes the accents obscure the verse, but it seems a fair exchange. Jennings is one moment a camp hippie guru, then a tweed-suited Scotsman with a ludicrously strangulated accent."

Full review: The Times

The London Theatre Guide, like most reviews comments on the way Alex and Simon Russell Beale work together:

"It is the colour and character of this pair in particular that give Jonson’s comedy the flair that it demands, though all members of the large cast contribute to the sense of craziness in Hytner’s fast-paced production."

Full review: London Theatre Guide

Susannah Clapp in the Observer has only praise for both actors:

"There is Subtle, the chancer who will impersonate (if it's possible to impersonate a fiction) a wizard who can convert the base into the precious, and make people's fortunes: Alex Jennings, lolling in his dressing-gown, packs dandified scorn and low-life shrewdness into one lift of an eyebrow."

"But it is of course the double-act at the centre which makes or breaks the play. It's unlikely that this one will be bettered for the next two decades. The range is tremendous. Jennings turns himself in seconds from a cross-legged, beaded Californian hippie to a furrowed squint-eyed dominie. Russell Beale plums it out as a moustachioed blazer, and scuttles around limping like a broken tripod. Forget Marks & Spencer, Ant and Dec, Posh and Becks: it's Russell Beale and Jennings - working together for the first time - who are the essential new combo."

Full review: Observer


On its website the National Theatre has added a reviews page:
National Theatre

And some pictures of the production:
National Theatre

and one more for The Queen:

Cosmo Landesman in the Sunday Times:
"Alex Jennings looks nothing like Prince Charles, but conveys the man and the mummy’s boy perfectly."

Full review: The Times

Saturday, September 16, 2006

The Alchemist Exposed


To accompany the new production of the Alchemist the National Theatre has published a book called "The Alchemist Exposed" by Robert Butler.

"An essential guide to Ben Jonson, the play and its background, The Alchemist Exposed follows the company and creative team of Nicholas Hytner’s new NT production as they strip back the years to reveal the true nature of The Alchemist. In this new book in the ‘National Theatre at Work’ series, Robert Butler explores Jonson’s world and everything that makes his play bang up-to-date. Published by the NT with Oberon Books. Priced £10"

Friday, September 15, 2006

More Queen Reviews

There are new reviews for "The Queen":

Ryan Gilbey in the New Statesman has a less favourable review than most:

"There is no shortage here of crowd-pleasing impersonations. Alex Jennings makes an anguished Prince Charles, with his characteristic lockjawed grimace."

Full review: New Statesman

The Independent is more enthusiastic, Robert Hanks starts with a general statement:

There's a grand journalistic tradition of bragging, whenever a British film or a British star snags a gong or a statuette, about the "strength in depth" of British acting. Helen Mirren's Golden Lion at Venice for playing Queen Elizabeth II offers a perfect opportunity to start the celebrations; but watching the parade of talent in The Queen - Michael Sheen, Roger Allam, Alex Jennings - I felt a surge of glum anger at the terminal crumminess of the British film industry. "Strength in depth" is a nice way of saying that actors who by rights ought to be international stars are stuck in secondary roles.

And on Alex:
"And they are human beings. After McCrory's performance, the boldest here may be Alex Jennings' Prince Charles who, on hearing of the death of his former wife, the mother of his children, lets out an involuntary cry of agony - as any man would."

Independent


James Christopher in the Times Online:

"The Prince of Wales (Alex Jennings), a Blair supporter, wrings his hands and fumbles around in his kilt, willing his stubborn mother to do the decent thing."

Full review: The Times

First Alchemist Reviews

Last night was the press night for "The Alchemist" and the first reviews are out.

Michael Billington in the Guardian gives a very favourable review. He says about Alex:

"Alex Jennings's masterly Subtle is a Blackfriars bamboozler who can turn himself at the drop of a coin into a camp American guru, a white-robed saint or a canny Scottish accountant; he gives you the feeling that Subtle gets even higher on role-playing than he does on daylight robbery."

FUll review at: Guardian




Paul Taylor also gives a favourable judgment in the Independent:

"Quick-change artistry is the kind of transformation at which the charlatans are genuinely adept. Playing together for the first time in their distinguished careers, Alex Jennings and Simon Russell Beale are a joy as Subtle and Face, the mutually resentful duo who, with sidekick-whore Dol Common (excellent Lesley Manville), turn the house that Face is looking after in his master's absence into a crazy dream factory. Tailoring his act to each victim, Jennings dazzlingly shuffles identities that range from a Haight-Asbury-style hippy to a pious New Age guru and a fluting Scot."

Full review at: The Independent


Benedict Nightingale in the Times Online is equally enthusiastic about the production and Alex's performance:

"Each appearance gives Russell Beale and Jennings the chance to prove not only that they are slick collaborators in crime but that there is no funnier or more adroit double-act on the London stage.

In a series of twinklings Jennings is a beaded Californian guru manipulating dupes in a singsong bleat, then a grave Indian mystic in virginal white, then a crabby, rumpled Presbyterian."

All three praise the way Alex and Simon Russell Beale work together.

Full review at: Times

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

First Queen Reviews

The Moviefone review by Kirk Honeycutt states:
"Prince Charles (Alex Jennings, stiff but correctly so) comes off as the voice of modernity in the family, but also a bit wimpy as he fears assassination in the days following his ex-wife's death."

Peter Whittle in the Sunday Times of 2 September describes Alex's performance as: "Jennings’s all-at-sea Prince of Wales".

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Quentin Blake

Alex will be one of the readers at the Royal National Theatre's platform "Quentin Blake and Friends" on Friday 22 September. The other readers will be Simon Russell Beale and Lesley Manville.

From the RNT's announcement:

"Roald Dahl Day

In celebration of the inaugural Roald Dahl Day, a special appearance by Quentin Blake, Dahl’s principal illustrator and the first Children’s Laureate. He presents a unique insight, through talk and live drawing, into working with Dahl.

Alex Jennings, Lesley Manville and Simon Russell Beale perform a selection of some of the much-loved work that Dahl and Blake created together."

The talk will start at 6 o'clock.

More information: National Theatre

Monday, September 11, 2006

First Glimpse Of the Alchemist


Alex has just started previews for "The Alchemist" at the National Theatre in London. The play opens on September 14. There is an intriguing short film advertising the play on the National Theatre website:
National Theatre

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Queen in Venice

"The Queen" got a good reception at the Venice Film Festival. Alex plays Prince Charles in this drama about the aftermath of Princess Diana's death. Helen Mirren won the best actress award for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth.

The Telegraph has a review of the film by David Gritten and a picture gallery, with some pictures of Alex:

"The obvious temptation to caricature, say, Prince Philip or Prince Charles (painfully troubled, in Alex Jennings's portrayal) is admirably resisted."

Full review: Telegraph



Variety has a review by Derek Elley and another picture, just a short mention of Alex here:

"Supports are all on the button, with often creepily accurate body language -- from Yank Cromwell's blithe Prince Philip, through McCrory's snide Cherie, to Baze-ley's cocky Campbell and Jennings' contrite Prince Charles."

Full review: Variety

Friday, September 08, 2006

First Alchemist Interview

The Independent (7 September) has a short interview with Alex and Simon Russell Beale on the upcoming production of "The Alchemist".


The interviewer is Paul Taylor, who describes Alex as tall and debonair. In the piece Jennings states that: "my career has been based entirely on seeing Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines at an impressionable age."

On The Alchemist:
Yes, you're about to get my nearly-50-year-old Eminem," threatens Jennings. There are dizzying changes of tack. "We've played around with the idea of getting muddled and suddenly swapping performances", he explains.

On his absence from the theatre for a while:
"Nowadays, I suggest, the clients would all long to be made famous. "Yes, fame is the modern drug of choice," agrees Russell Beale. And fame (in the sense of becoming a household name) is something that has managed to elude these two superb actors. "Well, we've been slogging away in the theatre, I suppose," says Jennings. After Stuff Happens (the David Hare drama in which he portrayed George W Bush), Jennings decided to have a break from the stage and get in front of a camera again. He has played Diaghilev in a television drama about The Rite of Spring, and he is Prince Charles to Helen Mirren's monarch in the forthcoming The Queen."

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Riot pictures

Some pictures of Alex playing Sergei Diaghilev can be found at Rachael Stirling's website. Rachael Stirling played Marie Rambert in the tv film "Riot at the Rite".



An interesting background article on the production can be found at:Ballet Magazine.

No real mention of Alex, but information about a production and a good picture of Alex as Diaghilev.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Welcome


These are the Alex Jennings diaries. Just a way to keep up with what Alex is doing, where he can be seen, and what news there is on the internet. He appears in the new Stephen Frears film "The Queen" as prince Charles. This film is all about the aftermath of the death of Princess Diana, with Helen Mirren playing the queen. And Alex is rehearsing at the National Theatre for the new production of "The Alchemist" with Simon Russell Beale and Lesley Manville.