facebook play-alt chevron-thin-right chevron-thin-left cancel location info chevron-thin-down star-full help-with-circle calendar images mail whatsapp directions_car directions_bike train directions_walk directions_bus close spinner11

2 May 1985: Hopkins’s award-winning Pravda performance

First Published 1 May 2008, Last Updated 2 May 2008

Before he was known the world over for portraying Chianti-loving, cultured, cannibalistic serial killer Hannibal Lecter, Anthony Hopkins was a talented stage performer. On 2 May 1985, he debuted in a show that would win him a Laurence Olivier Award, Pravda.

Staged at the National’s vast Olivier theatre, Pravda was a comedy from the twin talents of Howard Brenton and David Hare, based on recent events in the world of British newspapers.

South African tycoon Lambert Le Roux, played by Hopkins, buys up newspapers and offers an editorial policy whereby anything can be written as long as it does not hinder either his ambition or his profits. The actions of Le Roux bore more than a slight resemblance to those of media magnates Rupert Murdoch and Robert Maxwell.

Hopkins revelled in the larger than life caricature of Le Roux, with John Barber of the Daily Telegraph describing his performance as a “portrait of naked power on the rampage”.

At this stage in his career, the Welsh actor, who was knighted in 1993, was far from being unknown. His big break had come in 1967 when, as part of Laurence Olivier’s National Theatre, he took over from Olivier in The Dance Of Death when the theatre figurehead was indisposed with appendicitis. But, by 1985, he was not yet the world-renowned actor that The Silence Of The Lambs would make him.

Hare and Brenton were also established names by this point, and had already worked together on Brassneck, a play about local government corruption, in 1973.

By 1985, Hare had already established himself as one of Britain’s most prolific political playwrights, with pieces including The Great Exhibition and Knuckle, which attacked political corruption and capitalism. In 1984, he was made Associate Director of the National Theatre, where he subsequently staged The Secret Rapture, Racing Demon, Murmuring Judges, The Absence Of War and Amy’s View. Hare’s more recent plays include the exploration of the privatisation of British Rail, The Permanent War, the Iraq war drama, Stuff Happens, and, most recently, The Vertical Hour.

Brenton, like Hare, was not afraid to push boundaries and tackle difficult subjects in his pieces. Most famously, his 1980 play The Romans In Britain led to a failed private prosecution under the Sexual Offences Act of 1956, brought due to a graphic scene portraying male rape. His more recent plays include Paul, which re-evaluated the life of St Paul, In Extremis, and 2008 piece Never So Good. While not writing plays, Brenton was a key writer for BBC MI-5 series Spooks.

MA

Share

Sign up

Related articles

If you click through to seat selection (where you'll see either best available or a seating plan), you will be seeing the most up-to-date prices. If this differs from what we've written on the calendar, please bear with us, as those prices will update soon.

We now sell our famous TKTS Booth discounts online here at Official London Theatre.

We are now cancelling all performances up until and including 31 May 2020 to help us process existing bookings whilst we wait for further clarity from the government in terms of when we will be able to reopen.

We are so sorry that in these testing and difficult times you are not able to enjoy the show you have booked for and hope the following helps clarify next steps in respect of your tickets .

There is nothing that you need to do if your performance has been cancelled, but we do ask for your patience.

If you have booked directly with the theatre or show website for an affected performance, please be assured that they will contact you directly to arrange an exchange for a later date, a credit note/voucher or a refund. If you have booked via a ticket agent they will also be in contact with you directly.

We are processing in strict date order of performance, so you are likely to be contacted after the date you were due to go to the theatre. However, we want to reassure you that you will be contacted, and your order will be processed, but please do bear with us.

We’d like to thank everyone who has been patient and kind in dealing with their ticket providers so far and we are sorry that we cannot process your order as quickly as we would like.

Please do not contact your credit card company as that will slow the process down and put an additional burden on our box office and ticket agent teams.

In order for us to serve our audiences the best we can, please do not get in touch with your point of sale if you have booked for performances after 31 May. Please be reassured that if we have to cancel future performances you will be directly contacted by your theatre or ticket provider. Our producers continue to plan for all eventualities dependent on the individual needs of their shows and we will provide further updates on specific shows as and when they become available.

We look forward to welcoming you back into our theatres as soon as we are allowed to resume performances. In the meantime stay safe and healthy.

While theatres are currently closed, various venues and productions are making announcements for their individual shows, including cancellations and rescheduled performances. Please check with the individual shows for details.