Monday, February 22, 2010

Jane Does It Again - Matthew Macfadyen Alert

Jane has had another up close and personal encounter with one of our favorite Mr. Darcys, Matthew Macfadyen, and was good enough to share her experience with us. See it you can guestimate her enthusiasm level.


I’ve just come down to earth after meeting the wonderful Matthew Macfadyen again! I know I’m so very lucky to be living in the UK, with the opportunity to encounter this wonderful actor, and I know how jealous some of my fellow Matthew admirers are of me… so I’ll apologise before you read any further!

Matthew is currently appearing on stage at the Theatre Royal in Bath in Noel Coward’s Private Lives. It’s a short run of 10 days before it moves to the Vaudeville Theatre in London’s West End, and I was fortunate to go to the opening night in Bath with two fellow Matthew devotees.

The play was fabulous, fast paced, funny and entertaining. The sets were gorgeous, especially in the Second Act, which is set in Amanda’s Paris flat. Very art deco, in duck egg blue and gold colours, with day beds and the most amazing goldfish bowls! All the cast were brilliant. Kim Cattrall, as Amanda, was beautiful, (only dressed in a bath towel at one point – but looking fabulous!), Simon Paisley Day as Amanda’s new husband, Victor, was very dashing, and Lisa Dillon as Elyot’s wife, Sybil, was whining and annoying as she should be! But Matthew, as Elyot, was absolutely divine, looking very trim in tuxedo, and later in super sexy silk lounging pyjamas *drool*!! He was funny, sexy and charismatic. He sang, danced (barefoot!), played the piano, spoke French and totally mesmerised me! He was superb!!
The fight scene between Elyot and Amanda had the audience roaring with delight and cheering. There are bruises visible on Kim’s legs to prove the authenticity of their acting! And the almost total destruction of the flat by the end of the fight had my mouth open in total amazement. The applause at curtain call was quite rightly very loud and enthusiastic!

I was fortunate to be sitting next to a former actress and theatre patron who knew Matthew and was going to the opening night party afterwards. So I asked her to pass on our congratulations to him, which she was happy to do, and she wrote our names down to tell him. We then headed outside, after wrapping up to withstand the artic temperatures and waited by the stage door for a hoped for glimpse of Matthew. It was a long wait, as the cast, crew and invited honoraries were enjoying the party. Our unexpected acquaintance left after about 45 minutes, telling us that she’d passed on our message to Matthew, who had remembered our names from a previous encounter! She said he was enjoying himself and it might be a while before he left, but by then we’d waited so long we decided to hang on until the bitter end, even though my toes by then had gone numb with the cold!

Much later, Matthew finally appeared out of the stage door. He came over and said hello, and we congratulated him on the play. He said he was thrilled with the audience’s reaction, and that it was great to perform it in front of an audience after all the rehearsals. We chatted a little more, then he autographed programmes for us, and then one of us asked if we could have our photo taken with him. He said ‘of course’ – I stood alongside him and my two friends stood on his other side, and he put his arms around us!! So I put my arm around his waist *drool* *sigh*!! (I can’t believe I did that!!)

Several photos later, I said ‘thanks’, and mentioned that we would be seeing the play again, and he said, ‘That’s good… see you then.’ So we thanked him again and then said goodbye, watching him head off up the road away from the theatre to go to his hotel!!

I finally climbed into my hotel bed at 3 a.m. – only to be awake again at 5.30 a.m. – but I didn’t mind – I had some terrific memories of the opening night of Private Lives, and I cannot wait to see it again, and again, and again…

Thank you, Jane, for sharing. See sidebar for two of Jane's pictures from her encounter. Please note that the hand touching Matthew belongs to Jane. Now, I'm really jealous! So on a scale of 1 to 10, just how enthusiastic was Jane about her meeting Matthew?

Here are Jane's two earlier posts on her meeting Colin and Matthew:

It is a truth universally acknowledged (at least in JAFF land) that the mere mention of the name Mr. Darcy has the ability to turn normally sane, down to earth women weak at the knees! But what about in real life? Not the real Mr. Darcy of course (although we can dream, can’t we?) but the actors who have portrayed the tall dark and handsomely brooding hero.

Who’s your favourite Darcy is a question I’ve often heard asked. Colin Firth… Matthew Macfadyen… David Rintoul… Elliot Cowan… Laurence Olivier? Well, I have been fortunate to meet both Colin Firth and Matthew Macfadyen, and I can assure you that neither disappoints!

Straight away, I will put my hands up and admit my preference is for Matthew Macfadyen as Darcy, but it took a long and hard fought struggle with my conscience before he won me over. Colin Firth had been my dream Darcy since I first saw him in the BBC dramatisation of Pride and Prejudice when it aired in 1995. Colin WAS Darcy as far as I was concerned. So when the news was announced that a new film version of Pride and Prejudice, starring Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen, was to be made I wasn’t particularly overjoyed. I was already familiar with some of Matthew’s work, his role as Tom Quinn in Spooks, an MI-5 agent, outwardly ruthless, but inside desperate to be normal, to love, and to be loved, that had me glued to the small screen every week.

Surely he was not the right actor to play Darcy? I mused. But his portrayal bowled me over. Such a sensitive, shy, Darcy – a misunderstood Darcy. I left the cinema all starry eyed over the magical love story that had been woven on the big screen and wanting more, and before I knew it, Matthew had inveigled his way into my heart and ousted Colin as my Mr. Darcy of choice!

My first opportunity to meet Matthew was back in 2007, when it was announced that he would be appearing on stage in the Bruce Norris play, The Pain and the Itch, at the Royal Court theatre in London. Arranging to meet friends outside the theatre before the start of a matinee one Saturday afternoon, we stood alongside the alley that lead to the stage door. What on earth was I, a woman of mature years, doing waiting outside a theatre to see a man who was (nearly) young enough to be my son? Never in my sensible staid life had I ever done such a rash thing! But despite my fears that he had slipped past us and was already in the theatre, a scant thirty minutes before curtain up, he strode along the road towards us. We couldn’t fail to spot him as he weaved in and out of the Saturday shoppers, his over six foot height leaving him head and shoulders above everyone around him.

Would he sweep past us, ignore us, his eyes fixed on the stage door, I wondered? But no… my nervous words… sorry to bother you Matthew… but could I please have your autograph? stopped him in his tracks. He hitched his leather man bag over his shoulder, nodded, smiled shyly and started writing. And what did I do? Stare up into his deep blue eyes, framed by those fabulously long eyelashes? Oh no… I kept my eyes firmly fixed on the playtext he was inscribing for me! I totally missed out on scrutinising his features closely, but I did notice his lovely hands! (See photo in the sidebar.)

I know I did eventually sneak a glimpse at his face as my friends also got his autograph, and we chatted to him about the play reviews, but I can’t remember a thing about it… apart from the fact that he blushes! Bless his heart… he’s so totally unaware of the effect he has on women! He’s such a nice guy, no pretences, no actor luvvie stuff. I didn’t feel like I was making a fool of myself by asking for his autograph… he was happy to sign… happy to pose for pictures, and equally happy to quietly disappear through the stage door, and out of the limelight. My appreciation for Matthew Macfadyen, the man and the actor has not wavered since.

But what about Colin Firth, I hear you say? Well… I’ve had to wait until just recently to have the pleasure of meeting Mr. Firth. You notice I call him Mr. Firth, when I called Matthew… Matthew. I’ve always thought I’d be a little intimidated to be in presence of Mr. Firth… such a popular actor, surely he would be so bored by the autograph hunter scenario… he must get so fed up with fans forever thrusting pens and bits of paper under his nose at every opportunity. So absolutely not expecting to get anywhere near him - if indeed he was even planning on attending - a month ago I headed into London to see a preview of his latest film, A Single Man at the London Film Festival. Spotting the red carpet being rolled out in front of the Leicester Square cinema gave me hope (good job I’d slipped a photo, lucky pen and camera into my bag before I left home) and sure enough it wasn’t too long before the gathered crowds spotted limousines disgorging celebs, amongst who were Mr. and Mrs. Firth!

Would he sweep down the red carpet, his eyes firmly fixed ahead, ignoring all the pleas for autographs, photos? But no… his progress down the red carpet was painfully slow as he stopped at every request for a photo, a signature, a chat. Livia, Mrs. Firth, looking stunningly beautiful, waiting patiently behind him as he signed and posed. When it came to my turn and my request for an autograph for the Georgia Girls (a JAFF group formed initially by ladies living in the peachy state of Georgia, before they spread their wings and invited members from a little further afield to become honorary members), he looked at me for an instant with an assured smile before beginning to write. Obviously I can’t faze Mr. Firth with my request! Shall I explain about the Georgia Girls?? No… no time… I can tell by the way she’s hovering alongside him that his minder is trying to hurry him on. There’s still a lot of red carpet for him to do before they reach the sanctuary of the cinema. So I just smile as he signs. And guess what? Do I gaze at his face, or admire the glimpse of his neck through his open neck shirt? Oh no, of course I don’t… I’m far too busy watching him sign!! If I carry on like this then I’ll become the world’s expert on actor’s hands! A quick photo (see sidebar) and he’s gone… my unexpected encounter with Mr. Firth over. (The film was fabulous by the way… fingers crossed he will be up for an Oscar nomination!)

So… after having met them both have I changed my Darcy preference? Matthew and his blushes? Or Colin and his assured smile? They both have their merits and they are both my favourite Darcys depending on my mood at the time. But for me Matthew just wins by a head! (I’m ready for the concerted Colin Firth attack!!)

And did meeting them in person turn me weak at the knees? Well… yes it did actually… and I can’t wait to do it again!

1 comment:

  1. You are so lucky!!! Two Darcys!!! Thanks for your post, I hope you see them again :)

    ReplyDelete