Now showing at Croydon Fairfield Halls Park Lane,Croydon,Surrey CR9 1DG firstname.lastname@example.org 020 8688 9291
- Danny Collins
- NT Live: Hamlet
Danny Collins 3 stars
Irascible showman Danny Collins sacrificed his artistic integrity years ago at the altar of commercial success. For a birthday present, his straight-talking manager Frank Grubman presents Danny with an undelivered, handwritten note from John Lennon that makes the singer-songwriter realise he has squandered his talent. So he ditches his trophy girlfriend, attempts to rediscover his artistic mojo and summons the courage to rebuild bridges to his estranged and embittered son Tom.
- GenreComedy, Drama, Musical
- CastAnnette Bening, Jennifer Garner, Al Pacino, Bobby Cannavale, Christopher Plummer, Josh Peck.
- DirectorDan Fogelman.
- WriterDan Fogelman.
- Duration106 mins
- Official sitewww.bleeckerstreetmedia.com
A caption at the beginning of writer-director Dan Fogelman's cliche-riddled yet uproarious comedy reveals there is a germ of fact buried beneath the tears and cloying sentiment. "The following is kind of based on a true story. A little bit." The seed of Fogelman's script was British folk singer Steve Tilston, who received a supportive fan letter from John Lennon, more than 25 years after the death of the former Beatle.
The handwritten missive, penned in 1971, advised the then 21-year-old Tilston to cling to his dreams because "being rich doesn't change your experience in the way you think". Lennon added his telephone number and invited Tilston to call for advice.
Fogelman repurposes this cruel twist of fate as the catalyst for an ageing singer-songwriter's belated redemption in Danny Collins. Tales of triumph against musical adversity litter the Hollywood hills and are warmly received by Oscar voters, most recently in 2009 when Jeff Bridges won a golden statuette for his portrayal of a fading country music star in Crazy Heart.
Al Pacino delivers a similarly show-stopping turn as the irascible showman of the title, who sacrificed his artistic integrity years ago at the altar of commercial success.
For a birthday present, straight-talking manager Frank Grubman (Christopher Plummer) presents Danny with a note from Lennon that makes the singer-songwriter realise he has squandered his talent. "I haven't written a song in 30 years. I'm a joke," concedes Danny.
So he ditches his trophy girlfriend (Katarina Cas), cancels the remaining dates of a greatest hits tour and heads for the nearest Hilton to rediscover his artistic mojo. Hotel manager Mary Sinclair (Annette Bening) catches his roving eye, but steadfastly refuses his amorous overtures.
When Frank eventually catches up with his superstar client, he is pleasantly surprised by the object of Danny's affection.
"She's lovely," agrees Frank.
"And age-appropriate," dryly retorts Danny.
Thus Danny begins to compose songs again and he summons the courage to rebuild bridges to his estranged and embittered son Tom (Bobby Cannavale), who has a pregnant wife (Jennifer Garner) and a needy daughter (Giselle Eisenberg) to protect from celebrity-tainted ghosts of the past.
Danny Collins strums a familiar tune and as existential crises go, the lead character's is relatively brief and painless, but the onscreen rapport between Pacino, Bening and Plummer is irresistible. "You're a huge dinner tease," twinkles Danny after Mary shoots down one of his cheesy chat-ups.
Plot revelations involving Cannavale's working-class provider are emotionally manipulative, but it's difficult to hold back tears when the ensemble cast plays these archetypes with such gusto. Fogelman's picture is a guilty pleasure: a slick cover version of previous journeys of self-discovery that were undoubtedly more soulful but seldom more entertaining.
Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)
- Monday 12th October 2015
NT Live: Hamlet 3 stars
Benedict Cumberbatch takes on the demanding title role in this transmission of a live performance of Shakespeare's tragedy from the stage of The Barbican in London. The King of Denmark dies and his brother Claudius assumes the throne and swiftly takes his widowed sister-in-law Gertrude as his wife. During a night-time visit to the castle battlements, Hamlet meets his father's ghost, who reveals his true demise at Claudius' hands.
- GenreDrama, Special
- CastBenedict Cumberbatch, Karl Johnson, Anastasia Hille, Ciaran Hinds, Sian Brooke.
- DirectorLyndsey Turner.
- WriterWilliam Shakespeare.
- Duration240 mins
- Official sitentlive.nationaltheatre.org.uk/productions/ntlout10-hamlet
- Release15/10/2015 (selected cinemas)
In August 2014, when tickets went on sale for Lyndsey Turner's production of Shakespeare's tragedy starring Benedict Cumberbatch, fans of the British actor raced to snap up tickets for the play's 12-week run in summer 2015. One year later, the entire run is sold out but ardent fans can still witness Cumberbatch in the demanding title role with this transmission of a live performance from the stage of The Barbican in London. The King of Denmark dies and his brother Claudius (Ciaran Hinds) assumes the throne and swiftly takes his widowed sister-in-law Gertrude (Anastasia Hille) as his wife. Hamlet (Cumberbatch) is still in mourning and can scarcely believe the speed with which his mother has remarried. During a night-time visit to the castle battlements, Hamlet meets his father's ghost (Karl Johnson), who reveals his true demise at Claudius' hands. The old king demands revenge and fashions Hamlet as the instrument of his retribution. Young Ophelia (Sian Brooke) and her father, royal counsellor Polonius (Jim Norton), become poisoned by Hamlet's madness, with tragic consequences for both.