‘Endeavour’ Star Roger Allam On The Joy Of A Good Glass Of Red

Caroline Frost – HuffPost Entertainment
29th January 2017


 

A long-time stage actor, Roger Allam’s face has become familiar to TV audiences in ‘The Thick of It’ and ‘Game of Thrones’.

He showed a darker side in recent crime drama ‘The Missing’ and can currently be seen, Trilby to hand, in period crime show ‘Endeavour’, where he plays young Morse’s senior colleague, DI Fred Thursday. As his character continues to worry about his missing daughter, Roger Allam sat down for a chat with Huffington Post UK…

Roger Allam plays a troubled DI Thursday in ITV show ‘Endeavour’

What do you do to switch off from the world?
I have a glass of wine. Red. Generally when I’m cooking.

How do you deal with negativity?
Ignore it.

When and where are you happiest?
Probably having the glass of wine while cooking.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
When someone asked Jimmy Cagney what the secret to acting was, he said, ‘Never relax and mean what you say.’ I think that’s quite good.

What has been the hardest lesson you’ve learned?
Your mind makes appointments that your body can’t keep.

What would you tell your 13-year-old self?
Work harder and try to know what you want. I could be wrong.

What 3 things are at the top of your to-do list?
I’ve never been to Barcelona, I’d like to go there; also South America.

‘Endeavour’ sees Roger Allam co-starring with Shaun Evans as a young Morse

What do you think happens when we die?
Nothing.

When do you feel a sense that we live in the presence of something bigger than ourselves?
Whenever you see a spectacular view, or just when you’re out in nature. I live near a beautiful park, and when I walk around it, the beauty of it can take your breath away. It makes you realise there is something bigger, certainly bigger than me.

What do you try to bring to your relationships?
Humour.

What keeps you grounded?
The weight of my body.

What was the last good deed or act of kindness you received?
Something terribly simple, somebody opening a door, asking me if I’d like to sit down, offering a chair. That’s all I need. I remember once about 10 years ago when I was injured, having to rehearse, and I was walking with a stick. And I was terribly touched by the amount of people willing to give up a seat. You often hear that London is so brusque and rude, but the grace with which people negotiate incredibly crowded spaces is something rather nice.

Roger Allam cast in Limehouse at the Donmar Warehouse

Will Longman – What’s On Stage
20th January 2017


 

The play is about a group of politicians who broke away from the Labour party in the ’80s

Roger Allam
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

Roger Allam has been cast in Steve Waters’ new drama Limehouse which opens at the Donmar in March.

Limehouse imagines what happened when the so-called ‘Gang of Four’ met in 1981 to break away form the Labour party and form the Social Democratic Party. The four politicians were Roy Jenkins, David Owen, Bill Rodgers and Shirley Williams, and the play gets its name form the Limehouse Declaration which the group issued to signal their intent to break away from Labour.

Allam, who won an Olivier for his role in Privates on Parade at the Donmar, will play Jenkins. Tom Goodman-Hill will play Owen, Paul Chahidi plays Rogers and Debra Gillett will play Williams.

The cast also includes Nathalie Armin as Owen’s wife Debbie.

The play will be directed by Polly Findlay (The Alchemist, RSC) and it will open on 8 March.

‘The Hippopotamus’: Film Review | Palm Springs 2017

Sheri Linden – The Hollywood Reporter
18th January 2017


 

Roger Allam plays a whiskey-swilling washed-up poet in a comedy that marks the first screen adaptation of Stephen Fry’s work as a novelist.

 

Courtesy of Electric Shadow Company

 

Should a Christopher Hitchens biopic ever arise, Roger Allam would be the perfect actor to play him. Ted Wallace, the lapsed poet he portrays in The Hippopotamus, has never occupied the same literary heights as Hitchens, and his tumble down the writerly food chain finds him turning “whiskey into journalism” as a theater critic. But Ted’s crackling observations — the fuel that drives the movie — have the fluency and rapier wit of a diligent, erudite mind. The role is a welcome lead turn for Allam, who’s more than up for the plummy putdowns, as well as the dashes of slapstick, in director John Jencks’ hit-and-miss screen translation of Stephen Fry’s 1994 novel.

Screenwriters Tom Hodgson and Blanche McIntyre have compressed and streamlined the densely populated source material, yet the mystery that serves as the story’s engine, involving a series of miracle healings at an English country manor, never really gets humming. Against the rich, voluminous linguistic calisthenics of the central character (subtitles in other languages would be a challenge), the rest of the story tends to blur. And Allam pretty much compensates for the missing dramatic oomph.

Jencks and his collaborators do, however, invent a few juicy details, beginning with the atrocious beefcake production of Titus Andronicus that provokes a mid-performance protest from the besotted Ted, which promptly gets him sacked from his newspaper job. Almost as promptly, an unusual and very lucrative business proposition arrives from an ex-girlfriend’s daughter. Jane (Emily Berrington) claims to have been cured of leukemia while at Swafford Hall, the estate of her uncle, who was once Ted’s closest friend. She wants him to investigate the “miracle” — a notion he finds preposterous, but it would be hard to find an unemployed writer, especially one with a taste for single malt Scotch, who could resist the £100,000 paycheck that comes with the assignment.

At Swafford, Ted finds his old pal Michael Logan, played by a miscast Matthew Modine, less than happy to see him. Meant to be a robust man of the world, Michael is instead a recessive cipher, as indecisive as his accent. He’s still unforgiving over Ted’s public humiliation of Michael’s sister Rebecca (Geraldine Somerville), a televised offense that’s eventually revealed in a flashback worth waiting for. By contrast, Michael’s wife, Anne (Fiona Shaw), offers a warm welcome, and confides in Ted that she’s concerned about the mildly transgressive behavior of her younger son, David (Tommy Knight). To Ted’s profound dismay, the sex-obsessed teenager, who is his godson, fancies himself a poet and, worse, the possessor of a gifted soul.

Even though the filmmakers have significantly reduced the book’s dramatis personae, the relationships take their time coming into focus, and some never quite do. Into the mix, which includes David’s good-natured older brother, Simon (Dean Ridge) — who has none of his sibling’s pretensions — guests arrive, as they inevitably do at an English manor. French socialite Valerie (Lyne Renee) takes every opportunity to belittle her ugly-duckling daughter (Emma Curtis), while over-the-top theater director Oliver (Tim McInnerny) flails and shares lewd reminiscences over the dinner table.

As it emerges that David has convinced the entire household of his “gifts,” the story pits Ted’s blunt pragmatism against the New Age wishful thinking of everybody else. The theme also plays out in a concise exchange between Ted and his godson, the latter subscribing to the romantic notion of writing as an expression of pure spirit, while the poet who hasn’t written a poem in nearly 30 years insists that literary output is the result of not just inspiration but hard work. The screenplay crystallizes this idea effectively, even amid the comic busyness — pratfalls, fellatio interruptus and equine molestation among the doings.

Between drinking bouts and Skype chats with Jane (updating the novel’s epistolary passages), Ted conducts his half-hearted detective work. The puzzle pieces consist of stories of David’s healing touch as the antidote to his mother’s asthma, Oliver’s angina and even the mysterious ailment of a horse named Lilac — all of which culminates in a semi-sendup of the classic case-solving climax, with Ted confronting the concerned parties in a room, like a non-debonair Nick Charles.

Other than a couple of well-chosen tracks by Louis Armstrong, nothing in the film comes close to the snap and spark of Ted’s profanity-laced verbal pyrotechnics. Even the grand Italianate architecture of the 18th-century villa West Wycombe Park feels a bit drab beside the wordplay. In both voiceover and dialogue, whether he’s dismissing Wordsworth, Byron or social niceties, Allam delivers every mellifluously malign morsel with such unforced conviction that it barely feels like a performance.