Portrait: Rory Kinnear

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I have seen Rory Kinnear in three plays so far (to be true, I have seen him in five but the other two are too long ago to remember) and he has always been superb. Playing such diverse roles as the down-trodden Simon in Southwark Fair, the foppish Sir Foppling Flutter in Man of Mode and now the disillusioned would-be revolutionary Pyotr in Philistines, he is able to embody very different characters. What is amazing about his performances is how intelligent, subtle and moving they are. As an audience, you want to see an actor realising his full humanity on stage, meaning that he completely bares the soul of his character to you. Rory Kinnear manages to do that, showing the suppressed anger, the vulnerability and intelligence of the figures he creates.  He peels of layer after layer of his characters until the audience can see right into the inner core of their being. Despite the fact of having been labelled as a scene stealer for his outrageously funny turn as Sir Fopling Flutter in The Made of Mode, he is in fact a very precise actor with a subtle range of emotions who is very giving to the other actors in the play. However, he does have an enormous stage charisma that completely transforms the plays he is in and makes some of the lines appear more intelligent than they actually are. His interpretation of Sir Fopling Flutter hints at a hidden pain in this character and manages to convey a feeling of tragedy at the most comic moments – a very difficult task to pull off! But I love Rory Kinnear best in less showy roles. His Simon in Southwark Fair was at it most heartbreaking in a simple lunch meeting scene where he slowly realises that his date mistook him for someone else. And I can’t imagine anyone lounging so expressively in an armchair like Kinnear’s Pyotr in Philistines , discussing the meaninglessness of the word “youth” or talking with a cupboard about life. What a delight. I can’t wait to see more of him, even if it is just the staging of the telephone directory.

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Filed under london, man of mode, national theatre, philistines, rory kinnear, sir foppling flutter, southwark fair, theatre

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