Sunday, February 07, 2010

THE PRIDE of Ben Whishaw

Yay! Ben Whishaw is coming to Off-Broadway:

BEN WHISHAW threw a series of jersey tops and skinny jeans on and off his wiry body like a juggler tossing scarves in the air. He stood before a full-length mirror, head cocked, his petite frame topped by an explosion of thick black hair, a boyish yet chiseled face and the eyes of a pixie.

Mr. Whishaw, 29, was in a Midtown rehearsal studio at a costume fitting for "The Pride," a play about gay identity and the price of sexual liberation that is now in previews at the Lucille Lortel Theater. He tried on a striped pullover that caught the eye of his director, Joe Mantello.

"I don’t think we should transform him into Gidget," Mr. Mantello said to Mattie Ullrich, the costume designer.

Not that the versatile Mr. Whishaw couldn't play a surfer girl from Malibu if he wanted. On film he's metamorphosed into John Keats ("Bright Star"), Keith Richards ("Stoned") and Bob Dylan ("I'm Not There") as well as an 18th-century man with a killer nose in "Perfume: The Story of a Murderer," Lord Sebastian in a remake of "Brideshead Revisited" and an unhinged teenager in "My Brother Tom."

But it was a stage role that brought most acclaim. In Trevor Nunn's 2004 production of "Hamlet," at the Old Vic in London, Mr. Whishaw, then 23 and six months out of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, played the title character as an overprivileged brat.

Critics were jubilant. Charles Spencer, writing in The Daily Telegraph, said that Mr. Whishaw "earned his place in such distinguished company" as Gielgud and Olivier. Ben Brantley of The New York Times has listed Mr. Whishaw among his most memorable Hamlets, alongside Mark Rylance and Simon Russell Beale.
more at the NYTimes

Alas he won't be wearing Regency era clothing for this play, but I'm still looking forward to the production at the Lucille Lortel.