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Previewed 22 June 2012, Opened 3 July 2012, Closed 5 January 2013 at the Gielgud Theatre in London
A major stage adaptation of the Oscar-winning movie Chariots of Fire in London on stage at the Gielgud Theatre and featuring the original, hugely iconic Vangelis score.
Adapted from the legendary Oscar-winning movie, Chariots of Fire revolves around Eric Liddell's and Harold Abrahams' quest to become the fastest men on earth in a moving tale two men's rivalry, and their unwavering determination to conquer the world in the face of prejudice, immovable beliefs and overwhelming odds - the incredible true story of two British athletes whose honour, sacrifice and courage brought them glory and immortality on the greatest sporting stage of all.
The cast for this production of Chariots of Fire in London features James McArdle as 'Harold Abrahams' and Jack Lowden as 'Eric Liddell' with Simon Williams, Nickolas Grace and Nicholas Woodeson along with Mark Edel-Hunt, Leemore Marrett JR, Simon Slater, Tam Williams, Sam Archer, Joe Bannister, Gareth Charlton, Daniel Fraser, Savannah Stevenson, Henry Davis, Paul Tinto, David Newman, Lloyd Everitt, Natasha Broomfield, Matthew Pearson and Antonia Bernath. This stage production - based on the orginal screenplay by Colin Welland adapted for the stage by Mike Bartlett and featuring th original music by Vangelis - is directed by Edward Hall with designs by Miriam Buether, costumes by Michael Howells, stage movement by Scott Ambler, additional music by Jason Carr, lighting by Rick Fisher and sound by Paul Groothuis. This production transfers to London's West End following a successful season at the Hampstead Theatre in North London (previewed from 9 May 2012, opened on 22 May 2012 and closed on 16 June 2012).
James McArdle, who plays Harold Abrahams, explains about the difficulty of 'acting running' on stage:" "Anyone can run, but what we're trying to do is not just run, but to convey the essence of running. It's running not just as a physical act but as a form of self-expression - a mental feat as much as anything, but something made tangible, real and visible, too. We go through the mill and, because we do, I hope the audience will see what Harold and Eric are running for - and what they are running away from, too. I'm told that, as we run by, the audience should be able to feel the breeze on their faces. I hope that's true."
Edward Hall says about directing Chariots of Fire on stage that "on film all you can do is show the race, then maybe show it again, slowed down. In theatre you can take components of the story and analyse them narratively in different ways. So you can stretch or freeze a moment in a race. You can be deeply un-naturalistic because theatre's not about naturalism. In a funny sort of way it gives you more freedom. One reason for doing this is the physical choreographic excitement at putting it on stage. But the major thing is the story of the people: these two complete outsiders becoming Olympic heroes. That to me embodies Great Britain and the Olympic idea... and this year is a really lovely time to tell that story."
"Mike Bartlett has done an excellent job translating this for the stage, largely by staying close to the spirit of the original. We get eager, shiny-faced undergrads affectionately observed; we get Christians taken seriously; we get the original Vangelis music (cheap but potent), plus tasty slices of Gilbert and Sullivan; and we get Lindsay doing his thing with the hurdles and champagne glasses, live in front of us. With the victorious strains of Jerusalem at the close, we even get something you really don't expect to encounter nowadays: a swelling of genuine patriotic pride. It's Edward Hall's staging that's the real winner... My only reservation would be about some slightly hammy acting in the smaller roles. But the whole evening makes for a wickedly timed antidote to all that stuff going on out east, and with a transfer to the West End starting on June 22, this is surely one of the great treats of the summer." The Sunday Times
"It's impossible to think of the film Chariots of Fire without the music, and it's a measure of the confidence with which playwright Mike Bartlett and director Edward Hall stage this piece that Vangelis comes too. With just a few notes of the score, your heart swells, eyes well up and you are whisked back to 1924, as British athletes go for gold at the Olympics, but also to 1981, when the film conquered the Oscars. It's all about British pride, willpower - and achievement. And it still is, but this time with the addition of spectacular physicality and stunning theatricality in the stage version of Chariots of Fire... The actors race around in a blur of white vests and shorts. Scott Ambler's fabulous choreography has contests finishing with winners bustling through tapes, or riding triumphant on the shoulders of his rivals... The staging is a magnificent triumph for everyone concerned: gold medals for all. Do catch it if you can." The Mail on Sunday
"What is novel about Mike Bartlett's adaptation is that it allows the most blue-blooded character in the piece to shine the most. Tam Williams as Lord Lindsay - who nobly pulls out of a vital weekday race so that the devout Liddell doesn't have to run on the Sabbath - proves himself to be both an actor and an athlete of distinction. The show's most striking scene is when he has - three times - to clear a high-jump with glasses of fizz perched precariously on each end of the pole. James McArdle as Abrahams and Jack Lowden as Liddell keep pace, and Simon Williams and Nickolas Grace as, respectively, the Masters of Caius and Trinity, prove an amusing pair of stragglers. Technically accomplished, adroitly choreographed and with a pleasing jauntiness about it - as well as the great joy of Vangelis's score - it serves as a timely paean of praise to our country and the Olympic ideal." The Sunday Telegraph
Chariots of Fire in London at the Gielgud Theatre previewed from 22 June 2012, opened on 3 July 2012 and closed on 5 January 2013.