Silent movie to premiere on stage at Plymouth

ONE of the most highly-praised films of the 21st century, the multi-Oscar winning The Artist, is being brought to the stage next year, with its world premiere at Plymouth Theatre Royal from Saturday 11th to Saturday 25th May 2024.

This new staging of the 2011 French film, famously in black and white, in the style of a silent movie, is being directed and choreographed by Drew McIOnie, and will star the hugely popular Gary Wilmot as the studio boss Al Zimmer, with Robbie Fairchild as the great silent movie star, George Valentin (played on screen by Jean Dujardin.)

Gary Wilmot, who has previously delighted Devon audiences in The Wind in the Willows and BIG – The Musical, is thrilled to be a leading cast member in this adaptation of The Artist. He says: I loved the film when I saw it in the packed cinema, and now that Drew McOnie’s got his hands on it, it’s going to go stratospheric.”

Former principal dancer with New York City Ballet, the Utah-born singer and actor Robbie Fairchild plays the silent movie icon George Valentin. He says: “There are few moments in the life of a performer when you are given the opportunity to play a character that you instantly feel so connected to… that in the process of diving into them, you begin to understand yourself and your own life experiences more. The Artist is one of those moments for me.”

Briana Craig, who is currently touring in 42nd Street and last year toured in Singing’ In The Rain, will play Peppy Miller in The Artist.

The Artist, filmed in the style of a black-and-white silent film and part-talkie, was written and directed by Michel Hazanavicius. Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo) falls in love with the silent film star George Valentin (Dujardin) but things change when Peppy becomes a famous actor while George’s career goes downhill with the introduction of talkies. The film won the Academy Award, Cesar, BAFTA and Golden Globe for best picture in 2012. In all it won five Oscars, and many other international awards for best director, best actor, original score and cinematography.