Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Sher Class; Entertainment Editor GORDON BARR Chats to Anthony Sher Ahead of His Return to Newcastle in the National Theatre's Travelling Light

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Sher Class; Entertainment Editor GORDON BARR Chats to Anthony Sher Ahead of His Return to Newcastle in the National Theatre's Travelling Light

Article excerpt

Byline: GORDON BARR

SILENT movies seem to be all the rage these days.

But it's not just on the big screen courtesy of The Artist that you can enjoy the genre.

Nicholas Wright's new play, Travelling Light, is a funny and fascinating tribute to the Eastern European immigrants who became major players in Hollywood's golden age.

It's enjoyed a successful run at the National Theatre and stops off at the Theatre Royal Newcastle from April 3 to 7. I caught the production in London and, to tell the truth, found it more enjoyable than The Artist - although it is probably unfair to make comparisons.

In a remote village in Eastern Europe, around 1900, the young Motl Mendl is entranced by the flickering silent images on his father's cinematograph.

Bankrolled by Jacob (Sher), the ebullient local timber merchant, and inspired by Anna, the girl sent to help him make moving pictures of their village, he stumbles on a revolutionary way of story-telling.

Forty years on, Motl - now a famed American film director - looks back on his early life and confronts the cost of fulfilling his dreams.

"Whenever Ior gay parts something It is purely fictional, but writer Wright has interweaved some wonderful elements into the script including takes on the casting couch and focus groups, while director Nicholas Hytner merges on-stage action with film footage to great effect.

in it for Anthony Sher is superb in his role. Travelling Light is set in a shtetl - a small Jewish town in Eastern Europe.That resonates strongly with Sher. Chatting to him after a matinee performance at the National, he says: "As an actor you play all sorts of parts, but when you get to play a role that's part of your identity there's just something in you that enjoys that in an extra way, so whenever I play Jewish or gay parts there is something more in it for me that is very enjoyable. …

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