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.
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.
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
My new play A Critical Stage played at London’s Tabard Theatre from May 31st – June 17th and proved a hit with audiences and critics alike.
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.
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
During the last Lockdown I got my mojo back for performing my own sol0 show, Shylock, after a fifteen year gap. Since I re-launched the re-vamped version at The Playground Theatre here in London in 2021 I’ve had the pleasure of performing it countrywide. Gigs are lined up too for the rest of 2023 so it’s great to have the diary filling up.
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. Resurrecting Shylock and his only friend Tubal in their old age has also given me some new perspectives on my script 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
In the audio studios around London I completed my recordings of all Georges Simenon’s Maigret novels, with my producer, Paul Kent. I have also recorded a 24hr reading of James Pope-Hennessy’s biography, Queen Mary, for Heavy Entertainment – which was a lot more fun than it may sound. The epic The Great Book of King Arthur was also a fascinating read, as was The Lost Diary of Samuel Pepys. Audiobooks for Games Workshop, Heavy Entertainment, Rushforth and id Audio have kept me out of mischief, and recording audio dramas for Big Finish has been great fun.
I have directed the hugely talented Alison Skilbeck in her new one-woman show called Uncommon Ground which plays at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in The Assembly Rooms George Street throughout August. My second show at the Fringe this year is 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.