A Man For All Seasons

Previewed 21 December 2005, Opened 3 January 2006, Closed 1 April 2006 at the Haymarket Theatre in London

A major production of Robert Bolt's play A Man For All Seasons starring Martin Shaw and directed by Michael Rudman.

Sir Thomas More is a scholar, ambassador, Lord Chancellor and friend of King Henry VIII's. Above all he is a man of integrity, loved by the common people and his own family. When he is forced to choose between his loyalty to the sovereign and to his own conscience he commits an act of defiance for which he eventually pays the ultimate price.

The great, powerful and dangerous figures who shaped English history are brought vividly to life in Robert Bolts Tony-Award winning play which inspired Peter Ackroyd's high-acclaimed biography of Sir Thomas More and was immortalised by the 1966 film starring Paul Scofield - which won six Oscars, including Best Picture as well as seven British Academy Awards.

The cast for A Man For All Seasons in London stars Martin Shaw with Paul Shelley, Alison Fiske, Clive Carter, Tony Bell and Daniel Flynn along with with Maev Alexander, Tim Daish, Gregory Fox-Murphy, Tim Frances, Clive Kneller, Brian Poyser, John Sackville and Sophie Shaw. It is directed by Michael Rudman with designs by Paul Farnsworth, lighting by Nick Richings, music by Ewan Anderson and sound by Colin Pink.

"Martin Shaw returns to the London theatre in a blaze of serious glory... Shaw understands More's irony: he uses it for sidestepping, protection, moral privacy... The Duke of Norfolk complains that More thinks only of his private conscience. Really? What else is conscience but private? Make it public and it becomes politics, self-betrayal or self- sacrifice. More knew this, and Shaw knows it too: that is what gives his performance its force, its dignity, its melancholy humour and its crusty, humane warmth... Michael Rudman's production [is] clear, unfussy, expertly paced, with a quiet mastery that is in short supply these days." The Sunday Times

"Martin Shaw is plainly talented and he has sufficient actorly weight to play a great man, in this case a politician ruled by his faith and his conscience... Shaw gives a powerful show of righteous stubborness, particularly in the second half of the play... you are with him all the way to the executioner's block... It is a high-class, deftly directed, well choreographed production, and Shaw turns in a sufficiently compelling and accomplished Thomas More." The Sunday Telegraph

"Martin Shaw makes a strong impression as a man content to lose his head when all about him are keeping theirs... Paul Farnsworth's versatile set of gilded panels, lit like a series of Old Master paintings, with lots of gold, red and black, successfully evokes handsome Tudor interiors, a prison, a scaffold and the bank of the Thames. Michael Rudman's intelligent production could move at more of a lick but it is Robert Bolt's fault that his play is competent rather than compelling and never as good as it looks." The Mail on Sunday

"It is perhaps just a little early to be talking about the performance of the year. But Martin Shaw's electrifying portrayal of 16th Century martyr Sir Thomas More is so good it even fogs the memory of Paul Scofield's Academy Award-winning performance in the 1966 movie. As Henry VIII's incorruptible Chancellor, the Judge John Deed star helps to make Robert Bolt's 1960 play as fresh as the New Year. When Shaw calmly opposes the King's divorce from Catherine of Aragon - England ceased to be a Roman Catholic country as a result - his nobility in the shadow of the executioner's axe is awesome. Also impressive is Clive Carter as Thomas Cromwell and Tony Bell as the Common Man, who links the courtly action with splendid drollery. But it is Shaw - long grey hair framing his dignified face as he plays out a life-and-death cat-and-mouse game with his captors - who makes this truly a play for all seasons." The Sun

A Man For All Seasons in London at the Haymarket Theatre previewed from 21 December 2005, opened on 3 January 2006 and closed on 1 April 2006.