As James McAvoy took to the stage – and a unicycle – in the premiere of Jamie Lloyd’s production of The Ruling Class on Wednesday, stars soon to appear in Theatreland came out to support him… with their presence, rather than as any kind of physical aid that would prevent him from losing his balance.
Among them was his wife Anne-Marie Duff, who will be hoping the X-Men star will return the favour when she’s back at the National Theatre this autumn leading the adaptation of DH Lawrence’s trilogy of mining dramas Husbands And Wives.
Mrs Biggs star Daniel Mays, who will join Duff in Rufus Norris’ inaugural season as Artistic Director of the South Bank venue, was also on hand to cheer on the Scottish performer as he took on the role of Jack, a paranoid schizophrenic who believes he’s God, in the first West End revival of Peter Barnes’ anarchic comedy since 1969.
Alongside those who are soon to be seen on stage in the capital were two performers – Harry Hadden-Paton and Mathew Horne – who know the Trafalgar Studio 1 all too well, albeit from safely on the ground, having appeared in Lloyd’s 2013 production of The Pride at the venue.
We’re sure it was the actor’s undeniable talent rather than the presence of this supportive audience that kept him on track for the mesmerising performance that The Telegraph’s Dominic Cavendish deemed “one of the year’s must-sees”, but we’re equally sure that the gala night’s attendees – which also included David Morrissey and Nigel Harman – are still worth a look in our gallery above.