Tag Archives: Peter Hall

Peter Hall was also co-director, albeit a mostly absent one, with Alan Ayckbourn for the latter’s hit comedy play, Bedroom Farce, in which Michael Kitchen was one of the six original castmembers. In this marvelous video from the National Theatre Ayckbourn talks of rehearsing the play and how all the actors doubted their own abilities in the weeks leading up to the premiere:

By the time we got to Birmingham, the cast was suicidal…

I think every single one of them, including Joan Hickson, the great Joan Hickson, and Michael Kitchen – wonderful cast – they all came up to me and said, “I know I wasn’t the first choice*. Uh, but, uh, I want you to know that I’m- I’m rotten at comedy. I’ve never- I’ve never liked doing comedy. Uh, and uh, I was so sorry, I’m letting down your play, and uh, I’m rubbish.”

*Ralph Richardson and Peggy Ashcroft were on the original wish-list.

Hard to imagine that Michael Kitchen with his superb comic timing once thought he couldn’t do comedy. It hadn’t occurred to me that Bedroom Farce was indeed his first major foray into comedy. Thank goodness the Birmingham audience went barmy on opening night and Michael Kitchen went on to many more roles that showcased his comedic talents.

(Also on the photostage.co.uk site, photos of Michael Kitchen in Romeo and Juliet.)

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Michael Kitchen acted in two Harold Pinter plays directed by Peter Hall, No Man’s Land and Family Voices. Reading about Hall’s lifework today, I was intrigued by what he had to say about the pauses written into Pinter’s plays and the difficulty John Gielgud and Ralph Richardson had with them. I wouldn’t be surprised if Michael Kitchen was able to handle Pinter’s pauses with ease from the get-go.

Caricature art by Sam Norkin listed on eBay: