Don Carlos

Previewed 28 January 2005, Opened 3 February 2005, Closed 30 April 2005 at the Gielgud Theatre in London

A major revival of Friedrich Schiller's play Don Carlos in London starring Derek Jacobi and directed by Michael Grandage.

Don Carlos is passionately in love with Elizabeth, the French Princess to whom he was once betrothed. Carlos' tyrannical father, King Philip II of Spain, decides to marry Elizabeth himself. The young prince's hatred for his cold and distant parent knows no bounds. He enlists his oldest friend, Rodrigo, Marquis of Posa to act as go-between. But Posa decides to convert Carlos and Elizabeth's youthful passion into a full scale rebellion against King Philip's oppressive and bloody regime.

The cast for Don Carlos in London stars Derek Jacobi stars as Philip II of Spain with Richard Coyle as Don Carlos and Una Stubbs as the Duchess of Olivarez. Adapted by Mike Poulton and directed by Michael Grandage with set designs by Christopher Oram and lighting by Paule Constable. This production was originally seen at the The Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.

"This is a spell-binding production of an unjustly neglected masterpiece, and boasts one of the greatest performances of Derek Jacobi's long and distinguished career... In Grandage's production this historical drama possesses all the excitement of a first-rate thriller, full of sudden twists and unexpected turns. You lean forward in your seat, desperate to know what happens next... With the help of Mike Poulton's lean, eloquent translation, Grandage lays bare the tangled plot with lucidity, a hurtling dramatic pace, and an atmosphere of corruption and fear you can smell... Jacobi magnificently captures Philip II's cold, unyielding authority... Richard Coyle plays Don Carlos with exactly the right mix of anguish and fervour... This is a magnificent play, magnificently performed." The Daily Telegraph

"Written a couple of years before the French Revolution, in the late 1780s, Schiller's Don Carlos is a classroom classic more honoured nowadays on the page than on the stage. But the director Michael Grandage played the title role in Manchester 17 years ago, and now he brings the play back to London in his breathtaking rediscovery of a lost masterpiece. In the title role, Richard Coyle gives a brooding, poetic performance that marks him out for stage stardom for the first time, having rightly recognised the role and the play as the German Hamlet. As his relentlessly chilly, obsessive father, Derek Jacobi gives an equally starry performance, one which confirms him in all his still majesty as the Gielgud of our time." The Daily Express

"It's a very rare thing, these days, to find men in tights and bulging shorts (OK, doublet and hose) in Shaftesbury Avenue, but then, it's almost unheard of to find Friedrich Schiller, Germany's answer to Shakespeare, lighting up the West End. The magnificent staging of Schiller's great tragedy, which was also Michael Grandage's farewell production at Sheffield's Crucible Theatre, dazzled critics - and it is easy to see why. Christopher Oram's atmospheric design brilliantly visualises Schiller's ideas. A heavy thurible, belching incense, swings across the dark, oppressive, prison-like stage, pierced by mean shafts of light from high windows. Cowled monks sing the Kyrie Eleison. The stale air never moves unless pushed by a lady's feverish fan. This is the rigidly formal, repressively Catholic Spanish court where young, brooding Don Carlos, Hamlet-like, is not speaking to his father. Not that they have ever been close. Carlos didn't meet his pa until he was six; he says he never smiled and was always in terrifying rages, and, from what we see of Derek Jacobi's frightening Philip, as hard and unyielding as steel, nothing has changed... Grandage's tense, passionate and admirably clear production, and Jacobi's riveting performance, reveal Philip to be not just a monstrous megalomaniac but also isolated and lonely, surrounded by flatterers he doesn't trust and, in the end, just another cog in a bigger, more deadly machine: the Spanish Inquisition." The Mail on Sunday

Don Carlos in London at the Gielgud Theatre previewed from 28 January 2005, opened on 3 February 2005 and closed on 30 April 2005.