There were ructions at the first night of Terrence Rattigan's Cause Célèbre at The Old Vic Theatre. Atonement actor James McAvoy was in the audience to proudly cheer on his wife Anne-Marie Duff in the lead role, in her first theatrical performance since St Joan at The National in 2007. The auspicious evening was somewhat marred however by a strange sound emanating all the way through the first half of the show. Paul Taylor, the drama critic from The Independent had fallen asleep and was very noticeably snoring. Come the interval, an informant for the Telegraph newspaper reveals that an enraged McAvoy was "absolutely furious" as he confronted the renowned critic. The next day The Independent said they would send someone else to review the show, one who would actually be watching it. They did add however that Taylor "has a medical condition, is under the case of a doctor, on medicine [and] was ill during the performance." It does still beg the question why he would be sent to review the show on such a high profile evening, if they were aware there may be disruptive issues...
McAvoy and Duff met on the set of the first series of Channel 4's long-running comedy-drama Shameless in 2003. They married in October 2006 and Duff gave birth to a son, Andrew, in June 2010. McAvoy is well known from his blooming film career. As well as starring with Keira Knightley in well-received Oscar-bait Atonement, he wowed audiences opposite Forrest Whittaker in The Last King Of Scotland and sizzled with Angelina Jolie in assasin thriller Wanted. He currently lends his voice to Gnomeo alongside Emily Blunt's Juliet in the hit animated 3D movie Gnomeo & Juliet, a reworking of Shakespeare's similarly titled classic. Duff was BAFTA nominated as best actress for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth I in the 2005 BBC miniseries The Virgin Queen and played John Lennon's mother in the film Nowhere Boy.
Cause Célèbre is Rattigan's final play, and one rarely produced. It's current incarnation at the Old Vic, directed by Thea Sharrock, is part of the Terrence Rattigan Centenery year's celebrations. These also include Flare Path which has recently extended it's run at the Theatre Royal Haymarket after unexpected glowing reviews for star Sienna Miller.
Nobody dared fall asleep during her press night!
[posted by James 01/03/2011]