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Gareth Armstrong in front of bookcase

A theatre practitioner with five decades of experience as actor, director, voice artist, teacher, writer and playwright.

Passionately pursuing a career that has taken me to over sixty countries, offered opportunities to play Shakespeare at Stratford, direct in the West End, and perform solo shows worldwide. Now focusing on nurturing other artists through mentoring, writing original work and dramatisations. And after recording over two hundred audiobooks I still love the microphone.

 

This video introduces you to my show Shylock and who to contact if you would like to see a full 75 minute performance.

Worldwide Press Acclaim for Shylock

Armstrong is nothing short of incredible… it is an exceptional piece of theatre. Everyone should see it.

The Independent on Sunday – London

It’s all fascinating, a nimble analysis of the thorny, much-abused character and the great, troublesome play.

The Washington Post

It delights enlightens and dazzles, With a leer, a wink, a shrug, he expresses more than words can say. In a word, brilliant.

Jewish Bulletin of North California

Shakespeare fans will kneel in homage and raise their arms to shout ‘Hallelujah’.

The Dominion, Wellington NZ

This performance that deserves to be sold out. It is theatre for thinking men and women, it is theatre of the imagination, of liberating emotions and, also, of bold thinking.

Kurier, Vienna

Gareth Armstrong is magnetic throughout… You need not be Jewish nor and Eng Lit expert to appreciate this: you need only be human.

The List, Edinburgh (5 Stars)

This is as good as theatre gets.. It was undiluted joy and a privilege to watch.

Liverpool Daily Post

 
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News

Fondly Remembered starts rehearsals at the end of April, and has a really cracking cast:

In order of appearance:

Donald Sowerby …………..Robin Kermode

Rev. Thomas Haldane……Jeremy Booth 

Cressida Brent………………Barbara Wilshere

Zoe Seymour…………………Rosemary Ashe

Barry Dumont……………….Michael Relton

The play was briefly staged in 2015 but this revival will open at The Tabard Theatre in Chiswick on May 22nd and play through to Saturday June 15th.

It’s billed as a wickedly funny play full of revelation, rediscovery and revenge. 

Is a man’s memorial service the right time to tell the truth?Reunited for the occasional a group of friends gather to celebrate a life. But who are they remembering? A creative genius, a former lover, a bitter rival – or the man who deceived them all? 

Meanwhile I contine to tour Shylock  and hope there might be some foreign travel with the show this year. There has been much controversy around a recent touring production of The Merchant of Venice because of political events in the Middle East and this provokes some lively discussions in the Q&A sessions I always offer after my performances. The enduring power of Shakespeare to engender debate is a reason why performing his work and related scripts is such a privilege.

I am hoping that more schools and colleges will take up the show as I think its theme of anti-semitism is all too relevant now. Revisiting Shylock after Lockdown after a gap of over a decade  has also given me some new perspectives on my play and Shakespeare’s matchless text. I now also include a workshop (A Wilderness of Monkeys) with schools performances.

Currently the brilliant and indefatigable Gerard Logan, who performs in my productions of Shakespeare’s epic poem The Rape of Lucrece, and Wilde Without The Boy, my dramatisation of Oscar Wilde’s De Profundis, is touring his two shows of  supernatural tales by E.F. Benson: Night Terrors  and Hauntings, and selling out all over the country as well as recently in Milan. We are about to start work on a new trilogy of supernatural tales, as yet untitled.

With my recordings of all Georges Simenon’s Maigret novels I am getting very gratifying feedback from listeners, so  audiobooks continue to play a big part in my working life, and recording audio dramas for Big Finish is  great fun.

I had the pleasure of directing the hugely talented Alison Skilbeck in her new one-woman show called Uncommon Ground . The play won high praise at the 2023 Edinburgh Fringe and is now touring. My second show at the Fringe was rather nostalgic for me – the revival of a solo play I first directed over 20 years ago starring the late Roger Llewellyn Sherlock Holmes The Last Act. The part is now played beautifully by Nigel Miles-Thomas, a Fringe veteran, and it is also touring domestically and internationally.

My last  play, A Critical Stage, played at London’s Tabard Theatre from May 31st – June 17th 2023 and proved a hit with audiences and critics alike. Her are some details:

A CRITICAL STAGE

Egos clash against a background of conflict, prejudice and a poignant love.

1942 and in a wartime London of blackouts, rationing and the Blitz, James Agate, famous author and theatre critic, refuses to change his lifestyle. But if the bombs can’t curb his passion for hard work, high living and illicit encounters, there are soon some bombshells threatening to blow his world apart.

Agate has written a damning review of Gwen, a prominent actress who confronts him in a lively battle of words. He is looked after by Smike, a young and tolerant houseboy and he also has a volatile relationship with his secretary, Leo, an Austrian Jewish refugee. Agate’s increasingly careless behaviour is not going unnoticed with his bosses at the Sunday Times newspaper…

The play is based on real life events; James Agate was a hugely influential English writer, theatre, music and literary critic in the mid-twentieth century. A self-educated polymath, prolific author and indiscreet homosexual, his impact on the theatre, arts criticism and the cultural life of Britain was enormous.

A Critical Stage is an amusing and provocative exploration of the roles of critic and artist. 

National and online reviews.

http://www.chiswickw4.com/default.asp?section=info&page=evtabard271criticalstagereview.htm

★★★★★ https://www.thereviewchap.blogspot.com.thereviewchap.com/2023/06/a-critical-stage-truly-stylish-new-drame.html

★★★★
https://www.express.co.uk/entertainment/theatre/1777997/theatre-review-a-critical-stage-Armstrong/amp 

★★★★ https://loureviews.blog/2023/06/02/review-a-critical-stage-theatre-at-the-tabard/

★★★★ https://www.theatrereviews.design/a-critical-stage-4-stars/

★★★★https://www.jacktheladmag.com/theatre-reviews/a-critical-stage

https://chiswickherald.co.uk/a-critical-stage-is-a-critical-success-p17950-95.htm

Aside from the intriguing details of Agate’s work/sex life, Armstrong brings fresh insight into the dog-eared art v criticism debate, particularly in the stand-off between Agate and his friend, actress Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies (Barbara Wilshere), who finally snaps at his torrential pompousness.

Pithy opinions and witty ripostes ricochet around Hazel Owen’s set as Agate attempts to justify his lifestyle to all, including his gay Jewish secretary Leo (David Acton): “Have you ever tried bondage?” “No, we gave that up when Moses led us out of Egypt.”  Well worth seeking out. ★★★★ The Daily Mirror (Neil Norman)

A Critical Stage is beautifully conceived with a huge depth of knowledge informing the story and realisation onto stage.  ★★★★★ The Review Chap

With four on-point performances complementing each other perfectly, allowing Gareth Armstrong’s script to freely flow, the writer also directs with an eye to place, props, and pacing. ★★★★ Lou Reviews

A very witty script that lands squarely with a couple of surprises supported by larger than life character actors! A must-see production of great entertainment. ★★★★ Theatre Design Reviews

A Critical Stage is a gentle, but nonetheless highly enjoyable, witty and surprisingly layered production ★★★★ Jack the Lad Magazine

A charming, period piece, which perfectly evokes war-torn London, and gives us a fascinating insight into Agate’s lifestyle…well worth the trip to Turnham Green –  UK Theatre Web

 Enjoyable, sharp, and immaculately acted
 The Reviews Hub

A short  play I wrote for the Dylan Thomas Society about an imagined meeting between Dylan and Thomas Hardy won a playwriting competition and had its world premiere last November in Poet’s Corner at Westminster Abbey. It has also been audio recorded with John Griffiths as Hardy and Wayne Foreseter as Dylan, both  giving superb performances. You can hear this audio via a link on my  AUTHOR page.