News Archive: July 2015 - December 2015

Season's Greetings (in my case 39 cm of fresh snow)! Slipping in just before the year ends with a few more things...

A Winter's Tale review I missed earlier, and another on the live cinema presentation.

And, keeping up as Kenergizer and Multi-tasKen, Kenneth has a new gig: he has been named Patron of Film London's Shakespeare on Screen a "year of celebration" marking the 400 years since the death of William Shakespeare. You can read about the gig here and here.

I have added a small gallery of photos from the opening night of Harlequinade/All On Her Own.

And finally, from The Observer's Obituaries of 2015, Henning Mankell Remembered by Kenneth Branagh.

That's it for now. Happy New Year to all!
(31 December, thanks Jane, Jude, Toni)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY Kenneth Branagh! Today Kenneth is 55 and barely looking a day older than he did in 1979. Many happy returns!

I have put up a whack of reviews (but I suspect there are still many more) - here's the big list: Zoë Wanamaker: Kenneth Branagh? He’s just like Jeremy Corbyn  |  'The Winter's Tale' Review – Kenneth Branagh and Judi Dench Offer Intriguing Touches  |  'Harlequinade'/'All on Her Own' Review – Branagh and Co Send Up Vanished Theatrical World  |  Dame Judi Dench, 80, Supports Kenneth Branagh and Zoe Wanamaker As They Perform In New Production of 'Harlequinade'  |  Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company, Garrick Theatre, Review: Judi Dench Inspires In a Marathon For Theatre Lovers  |  Harlequinade / All On Her Own  |  Kenneth Branagh Season Storms Out Of The Gate  |  Kenneth Branagh's Plays at the Garrick – What the Critics Said  |  'The Winter's Tale'/'All On Her Own'/'Harlequinade'; Theater Review  |  'All On Her Own' – 'Harlequinade' at the Garrick Theatre Review  |  'Harlequinade' / 'All On Her Own', Garrick Theatre, Review: 'Farcical Froth'  |  'The Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company Is, In the Best Sense, Mostly About Kenneth Branagh  |  'The Winter’s Tale', Garrick Theatre, Review: ‘Ripe With Operatic Excess’  |  'The Winter’s Tale'; 'Harlequinade'; 'All on Her Own' Review – A Gift to Eye and Heart  |  The Luminous Judi Dench Gives a Shakespearean Masterclass in Kenneth Branagh's Winter Wonder  |  Review: ‘The Winter’s Tale,’ ‘Harlequinade’ and ‘The Moderate Soprano’  |  When It Comes to Shakespeare, Composer Patrick Doyle Knows the Score  |  Kenneth Branagh’s Production of ‘Winter’s Tale’ Tops U.K. Movie Box Office

There is also the text of an interview with Ken recorded for the live cinema presentation of The Winter's Tale.

I hope to be back soon with more!
(10 December, thanks Kate, Lara, Virginia, Jane)

Hi Ken-Fans! As usual I am waaay behind and the day job does not help. Mea culpa for not getting the reviews up, but they will come.

In the meantime - also much later than intended - here is the information on two events which might be of interest: tickets for the live broadcast of The Winter's Tale in the UK, tomorrow evening (sorry this is so late!) and .... there are some tickets for the theatre performances of The Winter's Tale (which is otherwise sold out) still to be had in a dinner/theatre combination and you can find out more and get tickets here.

The other news is that Ken will be directing and starring in Murder on the Orient Express. Yes! Read about it here and here.

May reviews will be coming!
(29 November, thanks Kate, Ed, Hayley, Yvonne)

Hello Ken-fans! Trying to catch up - there is now a page for the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company, which gathers together the articles that have appeared, as well as photos. There are three new articles: Kenneth Branagh: 'An Audience of 100,000 Makes For a Different Feeling In the Tights', Photo Flash: First Look at Judi Dench, Kenneth Branagh, Zoe Wanamaker and More in Rehearsals for 'The Winter's Tale' and 'Harlequinade/All On Her Own' and Kenneth Branagh Returns to the Stage, With More Roles. The second article included a treasure trove of rehearsal photos, by the brilliant Johan Persson, which you can see gathered here. A few photos from the launch of the Company are here.

More to come I am sure! Happy St. Crispian's Day!
(25 October, thanks Jules, Ngoc, Jane, Jude)

Hi 2Bers - just a few articles to tide us over - one about the appointment to RADA: Sir Kenneth Branagh Made President of RADA to Upstage the Posh Brigade; two relating to the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company (first performance is coming up in two days!!): Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company to Run Front Row Mobile Lottery for Inaugural Season and Kenneth Branagh: Can He Succeed Where Olivier Failed?; and an article related to an event Ken supports: 'Magical Fortnight' of Windsor Festival and Fringe Come to a Close. Unfortunately there was also the sad news of the passing of Henning Mankell - read Kenneth's tribute here.

I see another production is planned as part of the The Kenneth Branagh Theatre series: heads up Adrian Lester fans!

I'll be back!
(15 October, thanks Jane, Jude)

Greetings Branaghiacs! I seem to only stutter along with "sign of life" - hope that's better than nothing! Two small items: you can read about about and listen to a message of support Kenneth recorded for a new adult hospice for Northern Ireland.

And, for a photo finish, a couple of photos taken when Ken attended the press night for Picture 51 on 18 September.

It's very little but it's the new stuff (there are lots of reviews of the Blu-ray Cinderella for another time). Back soon I hope!
(28 September, thanks Jane, Jude)

Hello Ken fans! Most excellent news for you today! If you cannot make it to the Garrick Theatre to see the productions of the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company in person you may have the chance to see three of them live in the cinema, hopefully in a movie theatre near you. You can watch a trailer announcing these showings and there is a website - as yet limited to the UK - for the cinema tickets.

A couple of articles about these showings are here and here. And there is a new interview here.

It just keeps getting better! More soon, I hope.
(13 September, thanks Lara, Jude, Jane, Renie)

Sign of life - greetings Kenners! Here is a link to fun story: Photographing Branagh: Looking Back On My Photo Shoot With Kenneth Branagh and That Bare Bodkin.

In current news, there is a "poster" now for Harlequinade/All On Her Own. You can see it alone here. A bit too small for my taste... :-)

One final thing for today - Kenneth is a patron of the charity Muscle Dreams for Muscle Help Foundation. This is a UK Make a Wish for children with muscular dystrophy, created by an adult suffering from the disease. His video spot for the charity is at You can also find it on the charity's website.

That's today's life breath... more soon I hope!
(7 September, thanks Ngoc, Jane, Pennie, Jude)

Keen Kenners! Rumours... one that The Winter's Tale will be shown in the NT Live series in late November - nothing solid to substantiate this, but I throw it out there.

Probably more accurate, an article about Ken being attached to a new Disney movie.

And an older rumour, most likely now a dead duck, Marvel Reportedly Wants Kenneth Branagh To Return And Direct 'Thor: Ragnarok'.

A couple of comments about Ken. The first from Robert Icke (once a Ken-Friend!), from an article in The Guardian, 23 August 2015:

What turned you on to directing?

It was seeing Kenneth Branagh as Richard III, directed by Michael Grandage at Sheffield. I was 14 and my dad dragged me away from my PlayStation. It was a proper Damascene conversion - really electric. There was no language barrier. I wrote to Michael Grandage and asked him how he did that stuff. He said: if you come and see me I’ll try to tell you. This was before I’d ever been near a proper rehearsal room. He gave me all this advice, which I scribbled down and have been living by ever since.

And the second, from an interview with Matthew Lillard in The Scotsman, 17 August 2015:
Working with Sir Kenneth Branagh as Longeville in 'Love’s Labour’s Lost' seems to have crystallised some of this dissatisfaction with film. The movie was a critical and commercial disappointment, but the experience of working on it was never forgotten by Lillard, who felt energised and repurposed by it. “He was trying to make a 1930s musical out of Love’s Labour’s Lost, a play that no-one cares about, and I loved how he led people.

“In most films there’s no control, and you are a tiny cog. Ken had us all on the same page, and we all were sent into three weeks of Camp Branagh before we started shooting. It was Shakespeare-meets-Fame with all kinds of different classes, like dancing and singing, and he’s the single best director influence in my life; a guy I respect and want to emulate. I loved the democracy, and the great thing about theatre is that it still has that camaraderie. We’re all equal under the floodlights.”

And that's today's sign of life! More soon, I hope!
(1 September, thanks Lara, Ngoc, Jude, Jane)

Dear Ken-Friends - despite the tomb-like silence these last couple of months I am not dead and KB has not retired (now there's a cue for hysterical laughter). The saltmine has been frying my brain but all the goodies are being saved up for when I'm able to think after 5 pm. :-)

Just one thing today (sign of life) : fun stuff, a look back at when Kenneth was accepted into RADA and his local press was justly proud, along with amusing whippersnapper photos!

I'll be back!
(22 August 2015, thanks Emma)