Labour of Love Press Night

Last night, after 5 previews, Labour of Love officially opened at the Noël Coward Theatre. The first reviews are in and they all seem positive:

What’s On Stage  ∗∗∗∗∗

Under Jeremy Herrin’s graceful direction, Freeman and Greig are magnificent. He is a terrific listener; his passive absorption of the abuse thrown at him and his well-meaning attempts to make everything right make Lyons a sympathetic and rounded figure. The scene where he dances is a joy.

The Guardian  ∗∗∗∗

Freeman not only makes David likable and funny, especially when he reveals his hidden talent for dancing, but suggests that he is ardently sincere in his attacks on Labour cultishness and his belief that “you win from the centre”.

The Telegraph  ∗∗∗∗

Lyons, played by Martin Freeman, looks scarcely less daunted than Bilbo Baggins approaching the Lonely Mountain as he tries to bring Kinnockite/ Blairite centrist “common sense” into a land of brass bands and unbending working-class pride.

Time Out London  ∗∗∗∗

A huge help are the terrific performances from Freeman and Greig. They’re very different characters – him slick and metrosexual, her bolshy and exaggeratedly folksy, with a running gag about them failing to get each other’s jokes – but they’re united by a heap of personal damage and a deep-seated belief in the party.

Evening Standard  ∗∗∗∗

Martin Freeman is Lyons, perfectly catching his mix of playfulness and sincerity — and particularly good at reacting to abuse.

They also interviewed the cast and Martin said about his co-star Tamsin Greig’s last minute addition to the cast and his own work in the play:

It was very weird but fortunately Tamsin hit the ground running and I’ve never seen anything quite like it. The size of the role, the size of both of our roles, are too big not to be terrified by and Tamsin might have been terrified inside but she just came to work, hit the ground, and was funny, sharp, a great team player and the quickest learner I have ever seen

[The play] reinforced my admiration for politicians. It has been a long time since I’ve been someone who thinks that all Tories are bastards.  Don’t think anyone who goes into being an MP is anything but probably at heart quite a selfless public servant because you don’t do these hours for what is relatively not a lot of money without believing in what you’re doing.

After the play Martin and the rest of the cast and crew attended the after party at The National Cafe. We uploaded the HQ photos to our gallery.

Martin Freeman in BBC Radio 4 Front Row

Earlier today Martin Freeman and Tamsin Greig were in Front Row talking to Stig Abell about Labour of Love. You can listen worldwide here for the next 29 days or download the episode here. Their interview goes from 12:28 to 23:20.

Tamsin Greig and Martin Freeman discuss James Graham’s new play Labour of Love, about the three decade battle between old and new Labour in a North Nottinghamshire constituency, in which they play a labour party agent and an MP.

The Dog With The Woman premiere

A project we thought long lost has arisen with news! The Dog With The Woman —a short film telling the story of Alice Wilson (Amanda Burton) and her stepdaughter Katherie Wilson (Brid Arnstein) through the cynical eyes of her pet dog Charlie (voiced by Martin Freeman)— will be premiering at the San Diego International Film Festival in October, with a second screening at the Aesthetica Short Film Festival in November.

The short is directed by Phoebe Arnstein and Stephen Ledger-Lomas and written by Brid Arnstein.

New interview with Martin Freeman in Time Out London

As part of the promotion for Labour of Love, opening tomorrow at the Noël Coward Theatre, Martin gave a small interview to Andrzej Lukowski. Here is the transcript:

©Andy Gotts

Martin Freeman on Labour, Corbyn and why you should never call him an everyman

The star of ‘The Office’, ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘Sherlock’ plays an ambitious MP in ‘Labour of Love’, James Graham’s epic new comedy about the Labour Party

You’re a Labour Party member – did that influence your decision to do this play?

‘It might help a little that I’m more Labour than anything else, but I just like good writing; it could easily have been about the Tory Party.’

What are the play’s politics?

‘What is put really, really well is the potential passion of the centre. There’s a great line: for us to get into power we’ll need all our lot to vote for us, and then some Tories too. This country is a “small C” conservative country – when we’ve had a Labour government it’s because we’ve had to reach across that border to the so-called enemy.’

What’s the story with your character, Nottinghamshire MP David Lyons?

‘It’s about his marriage, his work, his relationship with his constituency agent, who’s played by Tamsin Greig. She’s more traditional left, and when I come up in 1990 looking like a bank manager, I am a threat to everything she holds dear. What the play gives you is a great window inside what might have been the thinking behind New Labour. I remember being 17 and thinking: What is this bullshit? But obviously Mandelson wasn’t waking up thinking: I’m going to be a real twat today. He wanted to get Labour into power because he is Labour to his bones.’

Were you ever courted by New Labour?

‘No, not at all. I think “The Office” was a bit too hip for New Labour, it was a bit too BBC2; they were a bit more Noel Gallagher and Chris Evans.’

‘Blairite’ is a bit of a dirty word in Labour these days – how do you feel about it?

‘I think you can get too swept up in name-calling, I’m less interested in that than I was a few years ago. I just feel whatever works: if it builds schools and opens hospitals and funds the police and helps people with housing I’m like: yeah, fine, I don’t care what you want to call it.’

What do you make of Jeremy Corbyn?

‘When I voted for him to be leader I knew that all that T-shirt and badge politics was nonsense: surrounding yourself with people who agree with you is useless, pointless. It’s just that he happened to say things that chimed with me more than the other three. That was it. He said stuff I wanted Labour to be saying. I think he wants a fair country and that is the job of a Labour leader.’

You were last on stage as Richard III. Was there a sense of going against type in playing theatre’s most famous villain?

‘If somebody of [director] Jamie Lloyd’s quality says “Do you want to do ‘Richard III?”, you say yes. I mean I read some fucking bullshit with that. Guess what, somebody’s going to call me an everyman – astonishing! Where have you pulled that from? Smart people… think of the most venerated drama critics, and they’re comparing it to “The Office”. Lazy.’

You’re not a fan of constantly being described as an ‘everyman’, then?

‘It’s just so amazingly boring. It’s a bland word that I don’t take as a compliment at all. Even if you mean it as a compliment, find another fucking word! These cunts write for a living – there are other fucking words, bitch!’

Click here for more info on Labour of Love and to buy tickets.

UHQ photos of Martin arriving and leaving Wogan House yesterday

As promised, we’ve uploaded some UHQ photos of Martin arriving and leaving BBC Radio 2 Wogan House yesterday for The Chris Evans Breakfast Show. Click on the photos below to go to our gallery to view all of them in full size and while you are there check out some new photos that BBC Radio 2 instagram account uploaded too, that can also be found in the gallery.