LONDON CALLING WITH IMOGEN LLOYD WEBBER: Eileen Atkins & Jonathan Pryce Talk THE HEIGHT OF THE STORM

LONDON CALLING WITH IMOGEN LLOYD WEBBER: Eileen Atkins & Jonathan Pryce Talk THE HEIGHT OF THE STORM


(upbeat music) – Welcome back “London Calling”, the latest lowdown for every Broadway buff about what’s happening on
the other side of the pond. Later, we’ll catch up
with theatrical legends Dame Eileen Atkins and Jonathan Pryce who are headlining Florian Zeller’s “The Height of the Storm” at MTC. But first, let’s take a
quick look at what shows the Brit’s are getting into one of their infamous queues for. (upbeat music) Speaking of Florian Zeller, his latest work “The Son”
is running to much acclaim at the Duke of York’s theater. Translated by regular
collaborator Christopher Hampton and directed by Michael Longhurst. Meanwhile, Tony nominee and
TV favorite Stephen Mangan is headlining a stage adaptation of the classic 1950s film
“The Main in the White Suit” over the Wyndham’s, penned
and directed by Sean Foley. William Finn and James
Lapine’s “Falsettos” is breaking hearts over
at the Other Palace and we would be remiss not
to mention that “Waitress” is still cooking up a
storm at the Adelphi. Plus, calling all dancing queens. The O2 is playing host to the immersive “Mamma Mia: The Party Experience” where over the course of four hours, guests enjoy a show, a four-course meal, and ABBA disco all in the
surroundings of the Nikos Taverna. The winner takes it all. (upbeat music) Thumb up, sir Ian McKellen, who was turned his 80th birthday into a very long and inclusive party. To mark the event, he
toured his own man show “Shakespeare, Tolkien, Others,
& You” throughout the UK and he has now taken up residence at the West End’s Harold Pinter theater. McKellen regales the
audience with anecdotes from his storied career
as well as performing extracts from some his most famous roles. Thumbs down on behalf
of goldfish everywhere. Just kidding, we think. An immersive theater production
of “The Wolf of Wall Street” directed by Alexander Wright
is playing in East London. Audience members can witness
the rise of Jordan Belfort over four floors with
the option of becoming a master of the universe broker type or signing up with the FBI to bring those afore
mentioned brokers down. “London Calling” is still in
the process of establishing whether there’s fish on the menu. (upbeat music) Did you know that the first
permanent theater in London was built in 1576 during the
reign of Elizabeth the First? James Burbage’s public
playhouse was called The Theater and it was swiftly
followed by The Curtain. Shakespeare’s company
tread the boards of both. The famous Globe was
built in Suffolk in 1599 using timber from The Theater. A theater district formed in the area, but then they got shutdown in 1642 by those pesky Puritans. Wonder what they’d have made of Broadway. And now, it was a huge privilege to speak to Dame Eileen Atkins and Jonathan Pryce about
their decades on the boards and why they’ve returned to Broadway for “The Height of the Storm” where a loving 50-year-long
marriage is faced with the inevitability of change. Thank you both so much for doing this. This is my first ever
“London Calling” with a Dame and a Commander of the British Empire. – Thank you.
– So thank you, thank you. You’re both at the height of
your careers, pun intended. What was it about this show,
“The Height of the Storm”, that made you say yes, we
want to come to Broadway and carry on what we were
doing in the West End that much longer? – I knew I liked Florian
Zeller’s work from “The Father” and I’d seen another couple of things and I read it and I was
very excited to read it and then after the first reading, very disappointed to read it because I didn’t understand it. – Thought-provoking. – It is but on the page
it doesn’t come alive. There aren’t many stage directions. I read it a second time and
began to understand it more. I read it a third time by which time I was
crying at the end of it. I completely understood it. Even though we did it in
London for three months, I’m still finding new things
here after a nine month break. – It’s a great gift to
come back to a play. To do it, leave it for a
year or six months, even. I love doing that. I love revisiting a play. And I was wanting to get
back to New York, anyway. – You’re playing a married
couple of 50 years. How have you enjoyed that relationship? Bringing that to life on stage? – Working with Eileen is a complete joy. We hit it off from day one. We met, you had forgotten that we met. – No, I hadn’t forgotten.
– We hadn’t? – Oh, see.
– I forgot the tea. – Married couple here. – 1976, we met here in New York. – In “Comedians”.
– Which was your Broadway debut, right? – Yes, I was in “Comedians”.
– I went to see him play the comedian. – And I met you for a cup of tea. – He says that we had a cup of tea. – It was a very British thing to do. We had a cup of tea in an
apartment in somewhere. – With Jean Marsh. She was with me and she
had a cup of tea with you. – There you go.
– I’m beginning to think you went of with Jean and not me. (Jonathan laughs) – [Imogen] And it’s an
intense show, isn’t it? There’s only an hour and 20 minutes, but you are putting the
audience through it. – It’s very intense, but
it’s also very satisfying, fulfilling to do. You don’t come out of the theater thinking I’ve been beating my head
against the wall for an hour, trying to get some sort of
reaction out the audience. You know the play works
and the play carries you and lifts your energy every time. – It’s about family, isn’t it, Eileen? I think everybody can relate to that and they relate to what
they’re seeing on stage. – Yes, surprised me terrifically how much young people love it and they do. A lot of people think
we’re in a two-hander. I think that’s a bit (drowned out by Imogen)
– Yeah, they do. – And they’re all good parts, which is always very satisfying
to have that in a company. Then everybody’s happy. – And you’re all–
– Came as a surprise to me because I thought I was
doing a one man show. – Oh, well, there you go, Jonathan. – But other people are around, apparently. – Now, I’m fascinated. Both of you have been attached to the biggest television
shows of recent times. You in “The Crown”. You in “Game of Thrones”. Has that changed who approaches you? I’ll start with you, Eileen. Have people come up to
you with Queen Mary? Have they spotted you there or not at all? Is it still “Cranford” if they’ve spotted you from television? – I still hear from
“Cranford”, long ago as that. I’m rather relieved I’m
not often recognized straightaway as Queen Mary,
which is rather a relief. – She’s an amazing character. She’s one of my favorite queens. – I loved playing it,
I did love playing it. But wonderfully, here in
America, one is mostly stopped by people who have seen
you in the theater. – Which is phenomenal. – Which is lovely. – But Jonathan, “Game of Thrones”. You played a horrifying character. He was. (laughs) High Sparrow. – No. – How was that? Because that level of fandom
is just extraordinary. Has there been a lot of
people asking you for selfies? – A lot of it, yeah. Because they love the show so much, they’re actually quite respectful. – And you are terrifying in the show. So that probably helps.
– I didn’t think I was. I thought I was a nice guy
doing good things for society. There you go. – There you go. – I don’t mind any of this recognition because the show is so good. I had a great time making
it and then they killed me. – They did. Final question. What do you hope audiences
take away with them from the show? I’ll start with you, Jonathan. – People find it incredibly moving and there’s laughter on the way, but you hope for tears at the end. – And for you, Eileen, what do you hope audiences
take away with them? – I just like to tell the story
of something that happened when we were on tour in London before we came into the Wyndham. One of the understudies went outside and into the audience to watch the show and in came an old couple and they were behaving as a
lot of old couples behave. Man had stopped talking to the woman. She was fussing about a program and being irritated with
him and he wasn’t speaking. Finally, he got her a program and they sat there and the play started. And at the end of the play,
he put his arm around her. It’s going to make me cry. And they walked out holding hands. I think that’s pretty wonderful for a play to have done that.
– It is. – It’s cheap marriage
guidance counseling, really. – And on that note, thank
you both so very much. It’s been a huge honor. – Thank you.
– Thank you. – Thanks. – See you next time. Cheerio! (upbeat music)

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