Yesterday was the first trilogy day for The Wars of the Roses, a very long and busy day for Rob and the cast. Today has been filled with so many wonderful reviews! I have listed some great quotes about about Rob’s performance below. He owned it!
– You can also have a peak at our Twitter to see what other great things people have been saying about the show! Absolutely go if you can!
The acting is sensational. With so many in the company playing multiple roles, it’s more trite than ever to single out individuals, but, well… I’m going to! Robert Sheehan (looking like a young Steve Coogan) has the enormous burden of the audience’s twelve hours investment culminating in his interpretation of Richard. He rises to the challenge magnificently, boyish and sly at first, then charismatic and brave, souring into a vicious murderous tyrant, before weakening into a miserable, defeated foe. I don’t care for awards for artistic endeavour, but this is award-worthy stuff from Sheehan.
…while Robert Sheehan’s superlative Richard, sporting a show-stealing limp, youthful impishness and an old-fashioned English accent of consummate affectation, craves only the crown.
Leaving aside the whole notion of deformity as a stereotype for evil, never mind Shakespeare’s Tudor propagandising character assassination of Richard III, Sheehan’s is a wonderfully refreshing take – the words tripping off his tongue with assurance, cunning, petulance and ultimately fear and conscience.
By Alys Davies | wonderlandmagazine.com
BAFTA-nominated Robert Sheehan takes a break from Shakespearean frills and velvety pants to share with Wonderland all about his new film The Messenger.
We all fell for Robert Sheehan and his Irish charm when he graced our screens as Nathan Young in Misfits – he’s had a busy few years since and the rising actor continues to make an impression with his latest role in The Messenger. The film is directed by David Blair (Best Laid Plans) and sees Sheehan playing protagonist Jack, alongside Joely Richardson, Lily Cole, Jack Fox, David O’Hara and Tamzin Merchant. His character is reluctantly tormented by the dead and has been in and out of psychiatric units all of his life – he is considered an outsider by others and branded delusional. The Messenger follows him on a haunting journey of coming to terms with his turbulent past and playing the intermediary between the dead and their beloved.
Below Sheehan talks with us about working with ‘Darth Blaider’, starring in a Shakespearean epic and very exciting upcoming projects involving Dustin Lance Black and our covergirl Hailee Steinfeld. Also, if like us you want to see him in action you can catch him at the Rose Theatre Kingston in The War of the Roses until October 31.
So I watched The Messenger this morning…
This morning? You might be the first person ever to watch it in the morning!
I know it made me think a lot for the morning.
It was like a strong cup of coffee was it?
Yeah exactly! What attracted you to this film?
Well I guess the same as what you’ve concluded there to some extent, I found it a quite thought-provoking script. I found that Jack the character was written very cleverly – it’s interesting actually because the writer Andrew Kirk – I eventually got around to asking where the idea came from and he said his mother, or possibly his partner’s mother, I can’t remember, had dementia and she started talking to relatives that had passed away as though they were in the room. Everybody was completely mystified at first but it happened consistently and weirdly enough out of that somewhat tragic setting this idea sprang forth about a young man who this is happening to. I just loved that, the fact that this idea sprang from so deep a root you know what I mean?
I think that definitely comes across that it came from somewhere like that. He’s a really complex character…
It’s funny isn’t it when you’re in a strange state of mind and you’re being challenged by adversity or tragedy or somethings going on in your life you can sort of go for a walk and all of a sudden become the most creative you can be… it’s an odd characteristic of us humans. Cyborgs. So that was interesting and yeah you’re right that kind of sang off the page and Jack was a very very strong character.
Robert Sheehan broke hearts when he departed E4’s cult series Misfits after two series five years ago, but it’s a decision he doesn’t regret today.
Since then, he has starred in the Irish drama Love/Hate and several movies including The Mortal Instruments and Killing Bono, and will next be seen taking on Shakespeare in Trevor Nunn’s production of Wars of the Roses.
Speaking to Digital Spy, he said that he was a rather precocious young actor and was desperate to try other things after Misfits.
“A lot of bollocks was chatted,” he said. “A lot of manure was coming out of my mouth during that time. It was very encouraged of us, the five main actors, to be irreverent and silly and f**k around and have a laugh. They never chastised us more than they absolutely had to. We were always encouraged to be disobeying little twits and I think that really helped the spirit of the show, we felt completely unshackled. It was a glorious time.
“I can’t say about where the show ended up, to be honest, because I haven’t seen it. I was absolutely quite happy about when I went off, it seemed like a no-brainer at the time, because I was just a restless fella who was trying to go off and do as much different stuff as possible; I’d done two good summers with that show, so was wildly impatient to do other stuff.”
Sheehan will be portraying Richard III in the West End production of Wars of the Roses, which includes adaptations of Henry VI Parts I, II & III and Richard III by John Barton in collaboration with Peter Hall, while the cast also includes Joely Richardson and Kåre Conradi.
Speaking about taking on the role, he said: “It has been challenging. There was genuine panic, first and foremost, around whether or not I could see myself retaining all the lines. That was genuinely the first concern.”So I tried my best to quash that concern as much as possible by spending a week in Stratford-upon-Avon before we started rehearsing. I saw Shakespeare’s grave, his birth site, saw Trevor’s previous play with the RSC and in that time tried to spend every hour of the day learning a piece of the script. So by week two or three I was fairly off book.
“But then the challenge was trying to make it sound as current and as understandable as possible. I realised: the more you chant Shakespeare like you’re in f**king church the less people are willing to listen or engage. You have to make absolute sense of what you’re saying and then you have to make it as natural as possible.”
On whether he had studied past actors who have played Richard III, he said: “I’d seen Kevin Spacey’s Richard, which I thoroughly enjoyed, because he was able to make the language completely communicable and engaging and he was very funny – I loved his performance, I saw him twice actually. That was the only Richard I’d seen on stage.”Out of curiosity I watched the Ian McKellen movie, which was fantastic – I loved it – they’d captured the spirit of it so fantastically. They were the only two interpretations, previous, that I’d seen.
“The thing about our Richard is there’s a broader arc, in the sense that when you first meet him he’s a little youngster who’s quite in awe of his dad – he’s just one of the middle brothers – you get clues as to where he’s going but not that many.”
The Wars of the Roses will be staged at the Rose Theatre Kingston in London until October 31. Robert Sheehan can also be seen in the movie The Messenger, which is in cinemas now.
By Imogen Greenberg | londoncalling.com
Robbie Sheehan is probably best known for his television appearances, as the sarcastic young offender Nathan in Misfits, and Darren in Irish gangland drama Love/Hate. After a break from the theatre, he’s back on the stage at the Rose Theatre, Kingston in a mammoth production of three of Shakespeare’s history plays, The War of the Roses. London Calling spoke to him as rehearsals came to a close, about returning to the stage and why Richard III is a great character.
London Calling: Hi Robbie! So you’re in the middle of rehearses for The War of the Roses at the Rose Theatre…
Robbie Sheehan: We are indeed. We’re almost beyond that point now, we’re in tech rehearsals and there are lots of people with scary looking equipment, all sort of shouting. The horse has bolted! There’s no turning back now.
LC: Have you enjoyed getting to grips with the three plays, and the sheer volume of the material?
RS: Yeah. There’s a certain ambivalence, because some days you leave the rehearsal space utterly adrenalized and positive, full of good feeling thinking I’ve made five leaps forward today, great. Other days you come and think I’m an absolute fraud and a charlatan and I don’t know what I’m doing. You can’t predict what day will be what. But it’s been more positive than the latter, so it’s good.
LC: Richard III is fairly notorious, as English kings go, particularly at the moment with his recent re-burial. Are you trying to embrace the old stereotypes or approaching the character with a fresh pair of eyes?
RS: Because of my ignorance towards Shakespeare, having never done any Shakespeare before, I can only approach it with fresh eyes and be guided and stewarded by Trevor Nunn [director]. I learnt before we even started how much you don’t understand. You skate over the imagery and the density of the imagery sometimes gets washed out. There’s mixed metaphors left right and centre, and you just keep reading it. There are points where you don’t feel like you’re actually absorbing the genuine meaning. One of the great things about working with Trevor is you have an encyclopaedic brain, that can pick apart meanings in words people haven’t said for 300 years. But I think I try to bring along instinct to any role I do.
LC: It’s being billed as Shakespeare’s Game of Thrones. Does this version make Shakespeare more accessible to audiences?
RS: I think that was the intention of billing it like that. It also suggests Shakespeare was a reverse plagiarist, who ripped off that George Martin fellow about 500 years ago! But a lot of the structures of Game of Thrones come straight out of English history.
LC: One of the Game of Thrones effects is that you root for unlikely people. Will the audience be rooting for Richard III?
RS: Absolutely. How could they not? He’s got all the best lines. Not that I’m biased! I suppose he’s one of the most unlikely people close to the crown to actually end up usurping and wearing the crown. The interesting thing about the play Richard III is it has the most direct narrative, as opposed to the other two plays where seeds are being planted, and there are three or four different intentions. Much like Game of Thrones I suppose, where they take in that sprawling, seed-planting, story-building structure. Richard III is more like a 100-yard dash. The main guy comes out right at the beginning and he explains his reasons why he’s going to be absolutely mischievous and villainous from the get go. You can’t help but love him. But there’s a tipping point in Richard III, where it just becomes deeply uncomfortable for the audience to continue rooting for him.
Rob was a guest on Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch on the weekend. If you missed it, you can [watch] the full episode available on the C4 official website!
Here are a couple of photos (x4) that came through social media;
(Photos courtesy of C4 and Anita Rani)