In this issue of the Bean Zine:
1. THEATRE REVIEWS
- Romeo and Juliet
2. MOVIE & TV REVIEWS
- Patriot Games
3. NEWSPAPER AND MAGAZINE ARTICLES
- VILLAIN of the year SEAN BEAN
Mail On Sunday (UK)
- THE LAD'S DONE WELL
Hot Press (Ireland)
- STRAIGHT AS STEEL
Sunday Express Classic Magazine (UK)
1. THEATRE REVIEWS
14 April 1987
ROMEO AND JULIET
Revival of the play by WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE
The Royal Shakespeare Company
Escalus's Aide..............Stan Pretty
Paris ......................Robert Morgan
Friar Laurence..............Robert Demeger
Friar John..................Stanley Dawson
Policemen...................Stanley Dawson, Patrick Robinson
Children....................Philip Dettner, Alex Hillman
George Thwaites, Andrew Tobias
Lady Montague...............Eileen Page
Lady Capulet................Darlene Johnson
Old Capulet.................Brian Moorehead
Sampson ....................Simon Cook
Gregory ....................Sean O'Callaghan
Ladies .....................Valerie Buchanan, Cornelia Hayes,
Caroline Lee Johnson, Bridget
Directed by Michael Bogdanov
Decor: Chris Dyer
Costumes: Alan Watkins, Ginny Humphries, Chris Dyer
Lighting: Chris Ellis
Music: Airoshi Sato
Fights: Malcolm Ranson
Choreography: Kenn Oldfield
Music Director: Peter Pontzen
Assistant Director: Jude Kelly
GUARDIAN 16.4.87 Nicholas de Jongh
Michael Bogdanov's revival of Romeo and Juliet, first seen last spring in
Stratford, is an astounding set of conjurer's tricks which obliterates
Shakespeare's Verona and whisks the play into a high-technology post-dolce-vita
Italy, where electric guitars, a real red sports car, a marble-topped desk and a
priest on a motorbike are the signs or icons of the times.
The prince, who seems more mafiosi than regal, and a big-business vulgar
Capulet, or a villainous drugs dealer replacing the apothecary, suggest the
quality of the thoroughly modern society in which Romeo and Juliet go down.
The production therefore can be seen as a series of short, sharp shocks by
which tradition is overthrown - sometimes with those extraneous dollops of
comedy which suggest that inside Bogdanov something quite vulgar is struggling
to get out and succeeding.
Yet you cannot deny the revival's abounding sense of excitement and vitality,
it's a high bid for young audiences, for whom Shakespeare is normally the sound
of boredom. It sometimes seems as if Bogdanov is trying to go the way of West
Side Story, but at least his production is underpinned by an idea. Bogdanov's
version emphasises how much erotic love is still subordinated to family concepts
of materialism and status.
The raw comedy of this society is chiefly visual, sometimes tangential, with
public display or joyfulness running in counterpoint to private grief: the
banished Romeo is caught up in a carnival procession and a wedding band salutes
the dead Juliet; the partygoers at the Capulet feast, who plunge fully-clothed
into a pool, and a Benvolio swigging alka seltzer in the piazza after the party,
show up hedonism at play.
And the concluding tableau, an interpolated funeral service with the lovers
now commemorated by gold statues, makes a final dramatic point.
But there are doubts as well. Chris Dyer's stage design, a bare marble
piazza with statue and pillars and a backdrop for brlown-up black and white
montage photographs, is indelibly Italian yet the cast are thoroughly Anglo-
Saxon, lacking Italianate temperament. The production is also far happier with
scenes of large scale communality, and misses the rising passion of the two
But these public scenes work quite brilliantly. I have never seen the brawl
in which Mercutio is killed so dynamically staged. Tybalt's arrival in the red
sports car precipitates a battle of knives and chains and strangleholds. And
Sean Bean's Romeo reacts to death in a sudden electrifying crescendo of energy,
spreadeagling Mercutio upon his cherished car and stabbing him to a nasty death.
You may wonder what the working classes are doing with such demotic
implements but there is no doubting the craft with which they are wielded.
On the other hand Bogdanov is less easy with the play's intimate scenes of
revelation and desire. Sean Bean's blond muscular Romeo is at first most
suitably the epitome of slow, simpleminded diffidence, but when love breaks he
is quite underwhelmed.
Similarly Niamh Cusack's Juliet looks all flaming and modestly voluptuous in
red, but maintains an obstinate calm, even on that snatched night when the
lovers keep their cool and, surprisingly, their clothes.
The play's chief antidotes to romanticism, Michael Kitchen's alcoholic
Mercutio, obviously infatuated with Romeo, or Dilys Laye's genteel Nurse are
curiously muted. And it is Hugh Quarshie's pantherlike Tybalt, vibrating with
danger, who provides the right kind of exhilaration and passion. This is a
revival to draw the young.
PLAYS AND PLAYERS June 1986 Kenneth Huran at Stratford
I confess to a sinking of the heart, and to spirits less than buoyant, on
merely entering the theatre for the RSC's first production of the Stratford
season. There is, of course, no concealing curtain, and there on a stage all
simulated white marble - flooring, pillars, vertical rectangles, skeletal
staircases - assorted specimens of æ80s youth hang about: a couple of shiny
motor-scooters pass by, a black guy on roller-skates glides idly around; on a
side-balcony a rock band prepares to assault the ears of an audience already
teeming with American visitors, foolishly hopeful of seeing æShakespeare at the
source' as tradition decrees. We wait gloomily for the opening lines: 'Two
households, both alike in dignity,/In fair Verona, where we lay out scene...'
But we don't have to accommodate that: not yet, anyway. The Prologue, neatly
adapted with a change of tense, is now the Epilogue. In between, director
Michael Bogdanov offers a not unexciting version, occasionally quite fun, of the
story of the star-crossed lovers adapted to his modern scene. The Prince with
his severe view of street affrays is a sort of benign Godfather in shades,
overcoat draped across his shoulders, and the heads of those households æalike
in dignity' are the bosses of rival factions within his mafia.
Capulet has plainly made it bigger than Montague. His place is all high-
security trappings - burglar alarms, searchlights sweeping the grounds, guard
dogs on patrol around orchard walls harder than ever to climb (though there is
no sign of the orchard). The thrash he throws is, inevitably, a disco-dancing
session whose high-spot, aside from gatecrasher Romeo's encounter with the
host's adolescently sex-mad daughter, is the spectacular leap by Mercutio
(Michael Kitchen, a laid-back wino) and his dance partner into the swimming
pool. Juliet's Nurse, incidentally, is no distasteful old crone but a tippling
matron bubblingly played by Dilys Laye wearing a spangled pink number, not quite
top-drawer, more suburban dinner-dance; still, it is a bit surprising to hear
her refer to her 'dugs'.
This is not the only surprise about the Capulets, who clearly have a more
interesting history than Shakespeare was prepared to let on about. Juliet's
luckless thug of a kinsman, Tybalt, for instance, is black - something you can't
help noticing, since this leather-clad, chain-brandishing menace is in the
excellent hands of Hugh Quarshie, giving the production's most striking (if
regrettably short-lived) performance. His fatal fights, with knives not swords,
first with Mercutio than with Romeo, are brilliantly staged and given added
tension by the side humour of Tybalt's fastidious concern lest his gleaming red
sports car, in which he has arrogantly arrived with a couple of flashy birds,
should be damaged in the rumble.
The young lovers - Niamh (pronounced Neve) Cusack as Juliet, Sean Bean
(pronounced Shawn Bhawn?) as Romeo - are sweetly romantic and ultimately
touching, but do not really find the consuming passions their poetry can yield.
I suspect your response to the show will depend on how tolerantly you can
view the way it looks. For me, modern-dress Shakespeare always creates
distracting problems of anachronism and although Bogdanov gets away with much,
he can't solve them all. I can be indulgent of the mafiosa (this milieu might
easily be the latterday equivalent of the Verona Shakespeare imagined), and I
can just about take the wilfulness of the street-circus wedding-parade with its
massive, Spitting-Image-type puppets of Thatcher and Reagan. But this modern
world without the telephones that would have averted the tragedy? And so much
hanging absurdly on a magic potion that puts Juliet into a death-seeming trance
for a couple of days? It won't do.
However, Epilogue apart, it all ends amusingly, with the papparazzi surging
forward to snap the mourning party and concentrating particularly on the Nurse -
doubtless with an eye to illustrating next day's tabloid revelations: 'I WAS IN
ON THEIR SECRET, ADMITS NANNY.'
2. MOVIE AND TV REVIEWS
Newsday, 02-09-1996, pp B09
Prowling, Once Again With Alienated Teens
* 1/2 (one and a half stars) SHOPPING. (U) Nihilistic youth trash England and
each other. Kinetic and stylish, but you might think you've seen it before. With
Jude Law, Sadie Frost, Sean Pertwee, Jonathan Pryce. Written and directed by
Paul Anderson. 90 minutes (adult situations, violence, vulgarity).
SO BILLY, what have three months in prison taught you? "Don't get
caught," he says. You could see it coming.
And you can see where he's going. In "Shopping" - which, in the street
parlance of Billy (Jude Law) and his fellow Joyriders translates as "crash and
carry" - restless, directionless, alienated youth find satisfaction, status
and meaning in car theft, assaults and vandalism.
While director/writer Paul Anderson's debut feature may be a moody, stylish,
noirish romp, one cannot avoid the fact that disenchanted teenagers have been
done, and done to death.
Still, there are worthwhile performances, by Law and by Sadie Frost. As the
feral Jo, Billy's partner in crime, Frost exudes a tough sexuality - even
though her character is asexual, which makes her extraordinary in the annals of
gun molls. She wants to run away with Billy, but it's not clear if she wants to
be his lover or his mother.
Fresh out of prison, Billy reasserts himself as king of the
ram-raiders (who drive cars through store windows to do their
"shopping") and re-establishes his acrimonious acquaintance with Tommy (Sean
Pertwee), a local fence who finds Billy an unpleasant fact of life. And vice
versa. When Tommy plans a heist of a department store in order to supply hot
merchandise to a hood named Venning (Sean Bean), Billy crashes the store first,
ruining Tommy's scheme. The ante has been upped.
Anderson has a gripping visual style, and the action sequences are hot.
There are several notable cameos - Bean, Marianne Faithfull as a video arcade
manager and Jonathan Pryce as a cop left bewildered by Billy and the violence he
sees around him. He's not alone. What's a little troubling about "Shopping" is
the cognitive dissonance created by the director's matter-of-fact portrayal of
Billy's aspirations - to be the best at what he does, which is stealing and
destruction, and to live on a constant adrenaline rush. Certainly, youth devoid
of hope turns nihilistic, but Anderson seems to have bought into his character
to a point where irony, or even perspective, is lost. For all its positive
attributes, there's a sense of waste about the film, and it's not all coming
from Billy and his pals.
Time Out New York:
February 7-14, 1996 Issue No. 20
Shopping - This British export will make you want to cancel your credit
Dir. Paul Anderson. 1993. N/R.
86mins. Sadie Frost, Jude Law, Sean Pertwee, Fraser James,
Sean Bean, Marianne Faithfull, Johnathan Pryce.
When asked what he was rebelling against, The Wild One's motorcyclist
Marlon Brando slurred, "Whaddaya got?" And that's the whole point.
From Rebel Without a Cause to A Clockwork Orange, nihilism has always
signaled true cinematic cool. Joining the pack is Shopping, the debut film from
director Anderson (Mortal Kombat), an intriguing, slick but shallow British
Billy (Law) is the cocky 19-year-old leader of the Joyriders, a band of bad
boys who "ram-raid" - steal sports cars and crash them through storefronts to
purloin merchandise they can sell to dealers. Some "shop" for the money, but
Billy, the sexy little lad, does it just for kicks. His partner-in-crime, the
sassy, slightly older Joe (Frost, Law's real-life-girlfriend) wants out of the
crime biz. But she'll endure one last heist at the megamall called Retail Land.
Anderson has a kinetic directorial style, although sometimes his smokey,
vacant lots look like the sets from a Pat Benatar video. In the UK, the film
was controversial because of its glamorous depiction of crime, but actually it's
as moralistic as a B western. There's also a fairly obvious critique of
consumer culture. (Love of money has nothing over plain old love.) Ignore it
and rev up on the ravey soundtrack featuring such groups as the Utah Saints and
the acting appeal of hot commodity Jude Law.
NME (New Musical Express)(Australia)
26 September 1992
Director: Philip Noyce
Starring: Harrison Ford, Richard Harris, Sean Bean, Patrick Bergin
GOOD OLD Harrison, eh? Nice and noble, with his handsome chops and his
honest eyes. Hard to rouse but, like a cheapo Gary Cooper, he'll eventually
pull out his shooter and drop the bad guys. As CIA man Jack Ryan, Harrison Ford
is just as you'd expect; manly, impeccable, a bankable dullard.
Forget Harrison, the wildest thing about Patriot Games is Sean Bean, who
plays this king-hell terrorist, blamming his way through Ulster, London, America
and Libya, coming out of the water, airborne, in your attic, nursing a
monumental grudge, utterly scary. As a review of the Irish situation, the film
doesn't rate, but with Sean Bean you've got a fierce study of a blood-hungry
fanatic, beyond rules and ideologies. The point where "ordinary" terrorism
turns into a swampy body-count that won't be contained.
So Harrison, retired intelligence man on holiday, spoils a group of IRA
fringers trying to kill off a prominent Brit, and gets messed up in the
runnings. He rejoins the CIA, collars Irish fund-raiser Richard Harris, pulls
out the intelligence hardware and defends his family as the pulpy old plot comes
around to the bullet-strafing showdown.
If there's to be a run of these Jack Ryan movies (The Hunt for Red October
also drew on the character from Tom Clancy's books), I wouldn't get especially
excited. But watch out for Sean Bean: he's absolute murder.
3. NEWSPAPER & MAGAZINE ARTICLES
VILLAIN OF THE YEAR
is now on The Compleat's Press Archive:
THE LAD'S DONE WELL
Is now on The Compleat's Press Archive:
STRAIGHT AS STEEL
Is now on The Compleat's Press Archive:
Subject: Bean Zine Extra - Issue 4 May/96
May 01 1996 The Times of London
Sharpe: Sharpe's Regiment
As ever, we are asked to believe that British officers ¡ especially those
serving in the fleshpots of the Prince Regent's England ¡ were self-serving
dandies at best, sadistic bullies, even murderers at worst. But never mind
¡ it makes Major Richard Sharpe (Sean Bean) all the more heroic as he
towers above them and ¡ in this first of three two-hour films ¡ exposes the
illegal selling of soldiers to other regiments as if they were chattel. In
fact this story, from the Bernard Cornwell novels, is magnificent. Sharpe's
machinations with yet more ladies (Caroline Langrishe, Abigail Cruttenden)
may irritate Boys Own viewers, but the action ¡ filmed in Turkey and
England ¡ is well up to standard and the sight of our hero marshalling a
new regiment and leading it onstage, thereby ruining the foppish Prince's
theatricals, is television to cheer for.
ACTRESS ABIGAIL CRUTTENDEN ON TV MARRIAGE
12:08pm, May 3rd, 1996
ACTRESS Abigail Cruttenden claims her on-screen marriage to Sean Bean felt just
like the real thing.
The 27-year-old plays Bean's new wife in popular swashbuckling ITV drama Sharpe.
She told TV Times: 'It was weird. I was very nervous and it felt just like I
imagine a proper wedding would be.
We even had photos taken as if it was for the family album. 'I've never been
married on-screen before - or in real life - so it was a rather odd experience.
'As for the kiss at the end, well, I'm ashamed to say that I can't remember it.
"I think it wasn't a huge passionate kiss but we do have lots of those at other
The wedding can be seen in Sharpe's Siege at 8pm on Wednesday night.
ACTRESS `MARRIES' TV HUNK SEAN BEAN
11:40am, May 8th, 1996
ACTRESS Abigail Cruttenden will rouse the jealousy of thousands of Sean Bean
fans tonight when she marries the rough and ready heart-throb on screen.
Viewers of tonight's episode of ITV series Sharpe see the couple get married
in a romantic open-air ceremony which was filmed in Turkey.
The actress, currently touring with the Royal Shakespeare Company, described
her co-star as a 'lovely' man to work with.
She told This Morning that the marriage soon runs into trouble though.
'She finds that he's not into poetry and literature enough and he keeps going
Cruttenden's brother is also an actor and her late father joined the
profession a year before his death six years ago at the age of 50.
The actress is currently appearing as Olivia in Twelfth Night at the Theatre
Royal in Nottingham. The production moves on to Belfast next week.