In Matilda The Musical he played a demonic headmistress. In Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell there was an air of fantasy about him and his facial hair. In The Hairy Ape, though, Bertie Carvel looks every inch a brute.
The Old Vic has released production shots of its staging of Eugene O’Neill’s expressionist masterpiece and Carvel does not look like a man you would want to anger.
Greying, stained white vest, bare arms bulging, head shaved, eyebrows set to glower; he’s one ‘yippee ki-yay’ away from Die Hard era Bruce Willis. And you don’t get much more macho than that.
Bruce, however, would have been mightily confused if the skyscraper or airport he was trying to rid of a naughty criminal/terrorist threat was as yellow or red as The Hairy Ape’s design. But Die Hard was never conceived as expressionism, was it?
The Hairy Ape, rather than a thrilling action romp, is the tale of Yank, the strongest stoker on a transatlantic liner. When he is called a ‘filthy beast’ by the over-bred daughter of a steel merchant, it sparks an awakening of consciousness and an exploration of his place in the world.
If the striking, brooding production shots by Manuel Harlan have piqued your interest, you can book tickets for The Hairy Ape through us here. Book before 26 November and you could stand a chance of winning a trip to Broadway.