Constellations on demand

West End hit Constellations, starring Zoë as quantum physicist Marianne and Peter Capaldi as beekeper Roland, is available to watch online. You can rent it half-price from Donmar On Demand until 31 January.

Shadow and Bone

Zoë plays Baghra, a stern teacher, in this major new fantasy series based on Leigh Bardugo’s bestselling Grishaverse novels. Streaming now on Netflix.

Britannia

The third series of Sky Atlantic's epic drama about the Romans invading ancient Britain stars Zoë as vengeful Queen Antedia. Streaming now on Sky, NOW and other services.

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Three plays starring Zoë you can stream today

17 January 2022 19:41

We’re incredibly fortunate that some of Zoë’s performances on stage over the years have been filmed.

Here’s a trio of plays to enjoy right now...

1. All My Sons from Digital Theatre

It’s summer 2010 and a revival of Arthur Miller classic All My Sons is wowing West End audiences at the Apollo Theatre. ‘David Suchet and Zoë Wanamaker are astonishing’, declares Time Out magazine amid a sea of glowing reviews for this powerful play, directed by Howard Davies.

All My Sons takes place in a well-to-do American neighbourhood just after World War II. Zoë and her co-star play grief-stricken Kate and Joe Keller, whose son, Larry, is believed to have been killed in the conflict. Kate desperately clings to the hope that her boy will return. How will she and Joe react when they discover Larry’s ex-fiancée is now in love with their other son?

The ensuing confrontations expose painful secrets.

Zoë and David Suchet both won WhatsOnStage Awards for their stunning performances in this nail-bitingly tense drama. If you think you can handle the tension (!), stream All My Sons from Digital Theatre. There’s the option to rent the play for 48 hours or watch it as part of a subscription package.

Check out the clips on YouTube for a taste of what to expect.

2. The Cherry Orchard from National Theatre at Home

Another revival of a theatrical big-hitter, this time a drama by Chekhov, graced the National Theatre’s Olivier stage the following year. The Cherry Orchard was also directed by Howard Davies and starred Zoë as a spirited Russian aristocrat, Madame Ranyevskaya.

Ranyevskaya returns to her family home and beloved cherry orchard, having frittered away much of her fortune abroad. The noblewoman seems unable to comprehend the danger of her perilous financial position as Russia edges towards its 1917 revolution.

Zoe’s insightful, moving portrayal of beleaguered Ranyevskaya was highly acclaimed. As the Guardian newspaper’s review noted, ‘Zoe Wanamaker plays Ranyevskaya excellently as a woman who combines utter financial recklessness with a fierce emotional intelligence’.

The performance of The Cherry Orchard that took place on 30 June 2011 was broadcast live in cinemas around the world as part of National Theatre Live (I remember it well!).

You can stream that performance from National Theatre at Home, either by renting the play for 72 hours or subscribing to the service.

3. Constellations from Donmar On Demand

Last summer, Zoë starred in a dazzling modern classic from the Donmar Warehouse: Constellations by Nick Payne, directed by Michael Longhurst. For this West End revival at the Vaudeville Theatre, she and Peter Capaldi portrayed quirky quantum physicist Marianne and awestruck beekeeper Roland. Audiences experienced multiple versions of their relationship as the plot played with the concept of multiple realities.

Appropriately enough, Constellations had multiple casts. Zoë and her co-star were one of four pairs of actors taking on this intense, funny, poignant play.

In its five-star review of Constellations, BroadwayWorld UK emphasised that in the role of Marianne ‘Wanamaker is brilliant; needy, intelligent, neurotic and desperate for control. As she confronts her own mortality, Wanamaker shows a huge range of emotion, from desperation to quiet acceptance.’

If you fancy journeying through the multiverse with Zoë and Peter Capaldi, you can stream Constellations from Donmar On Demand until 31 January. Choose between renting the play for 24 hours or renting it alongside the other casts’ performances for 14 days.

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Constellations – now streaming until the end of January!

8 January 2022 03:37

Last summer, Zoë and Peter Capaldi brought Nick Payne’s Constellations to dazzling life in London’s West End. The Donmar Warehouse's acclaimed production, which also starred three other casts, has since been named one of the top ten shows of 2021 by Theatre Weekly.

‘Exceptional performances from Sheila Atim and Ivanno Jeremiah, Peter Capaldi and Zoë Wanamaker, Omari Douglas and Russell Tovey, and Anna Maxwell Martin and Chris O’Dowd made this one of the must-see theatre events of the year,’ says the magazine.

The Stage and WOS Awards nominations

The actors, director Michael Longhurst and the rest of the talented team behind this revival of Constellations are celebrating other accolades too.

- The show has been nominated for Innovation of the Year in The Stage Awards 2022, thanks to its multi-cast format. (We’ll find out if it’s been chosen as the winner of the award on 31 January.)

- Constellations has also earned a nomination for Best Play Revival in the 22nd Annual WhatsOnStage Awards. You have until 21 January to vote for your favourites in the latter.

Another chance to watch 5* Constellations

What better way to celebrate Constellations’ success than by watching Zoë as quirky quantum physicist Marianne fall in (or out of or back in) love with Peter Capaldi’s awestruck beekeeper, Roland?

The production was filmed during its run at the Vaudeville Theatre (where it broke box-office records) and originally made available to stream late last year via the Donmar On Demand website. Now, I’m thrilled to say the Donmar has made Constellations available to stream again worldwide until 31 January – with 50% off the price! You can rent one version for 24 hours or all four for 14 days (i.e. the same play performed by the four different pairs of actors – a chance to compare, contrast and marvel).

The Reviews Hub gives Zoë and Peter Capaldi's filmed version of Constellations a five-star rating and highlights the endearing ‘mature playfulness’ she and her co-star bring to their portrayal of Marianne and Roland. ‘Capaldi is sometimes quick to explode, but so too is he funny and tender. Wanamaker can be self-protective and spiky but also sweetly mischievous. It’s a delightful pairing that makes much of the bittersweet tone of the piece,' the review concludes.

This utterly original play presents multiple versions of the characters’ relationship. It’s a story full of possibilities – and rewards multiple viewings. So whether you watched Constellations live, streamed it last year or will stream it this January, you’re sure to enjoy your journey through the multiverse...

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Three new BBC radio collections featuring Zoë

7 November 2021 23:54

The BBC has joined forces with publisher Penguin to release three collections of archive radio programmes featuring Zoë.

This is particularly exciting news because the recordings are rare (to the best of my knowledge, some were previously only available from the British Library) and encompass a diverse range of genres.

Plus, who doesn’t like listening to Zoë’s fantastic voice?!

Such Rotten Luck: Series 1 & 2

Such Rotten Luck: Series 1 & 2 includes all 12 episodes of Ronald Hayman’s witty, wonderfully bizarre Radio 4 comedy-drama, starring Zoë and Tim Pigott-Smith. The directors were Piers Plowright and Paul Schlesinger.

Originally broadcast in 1989 and 1991, Such Rotten Luck chronicles the ups and downs of a struggling, second-class writer, Woodhouse, who’s prone to flights of fancy, and his pragmatic, increasingly exasperated wife, Gila. (As a second-class writer myself, I have to admit that the programme rings painfully true!)

Woodhouse tries his hand at everything from penning the life story of an obscure German novelist to song-writing sessions with sidekick Seamus (played by Stephen Rea). By the second series, Woodhouse and his wife are preparing for parenthood, but his head is still in the clouds – and Gila’s patience is wearing thin...

Although Such Rotten Luck is occasionally repeated on Radio 4 Extra (it was most recently broadcast in 2020), this is the first time it’s been available to buy. The collection has a suggested price of £13. You can listen to a clip from the start of episode one via Audible.

David Hare: A BBC Radio Drama Collection

One of Britain’s leading playwrights is celebrated with David Hare: A BBC Radio Drama Collection, which features full-cast productions of eight of his plays.

Among them is Radio 3’s 1987 version of The Bay at Nice, directed by Richard Wortley. Zoë and Irene Worth play two Russian women: the unfulfilled wife of a bureaucrat, Sophia Yepileva, and her formidable mother, Valentina Nrovka, respectively.

Zoë and her co-star had first performed the play at London’s National Theatre the previous year. It takes place in 1956 at Leningrad Art Museum, where the assistant curator has asked Valentina to authenticate a painting with the same title as the play itself. Could the picture be the work of Matisse, the legendary artist Valentina met during her carefree days in Paris?

Valentina eventually exchanged her bohemian lifestyle for the communist regime. Now Sophia must decide whether to give up her material comforts for love.

David Hare: A BBC Radio Drama Collection will be released on 25 November. The suggested price is £13.

Patricia Highsmith: The BBC Radio Collection

Patricia Highsmith (1921-1995) was an American author with a reputation for crafting taut psychological thrillers, including Strangers on a Train. Patricia Highsmith: The BBC Radio Collection is billed by Penguin as ‘[t]he definitive collection of dramatisations and readings of Patricia Highsmith’s finest fiction’.

It includes Zoë’s reading of an abridged, ten-part version of Carol, the author’s tender yet unsettling 1952 lesbian romance novel also known as The Price of Salt. The programme was first broadcast in 1991, shortly after the novel had been reissued, and aired as part of Radio 4’s popular A Book at Bedtime series.

‘Nineteen-year-old Therese is an aspiring stage designer. Carol is older, sophisticated, beautiful and married. When they meet by chance in a crowded store at Christmas, their passionate love affair begins,’ explained the Radio Times back in 1991.

Patricia Highsmith: The BBC Radio Collection will be released on 27 January. The suggested price is £16.

Where to buy these audio downloads

You can buy (or pre-order) the collections mentioned above from Hive, Kobo, Audible and Amazon. Please bear in mind they’re audio downloads rather than CDs.

Happy listening!

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Watch Constellations at home – streaming now

4 November 2021 01:40

Journey through the multiverse without even having to leave your home – Constellations is available to watch on demand worldwide until 29 November, thanks to the Donmar Warehouse’s new streaming service.

Watch Zoë and Peter Capaldi take to the stage at London’s Vaudeville Theatre (where the play broke box office records this summer) as quantum physicist Marianne and beekeeper Roland and explore multiple, compelling versions of the characters’ relationship. You can rent the production for 24 hours for just £15.

Alternatively, explore multiple versions of Nick Payne’s dazzling multiverse play by renting all four casts’ productions of Constellations, all of which were directed by Michael Longhurst and seen at the Vaudeville. That means you’ll be able to watch Zoë and Peter Capaldi, Sheila Atim and Ivanno Jeremiah, Omari Douglas and Russell Tovey, as well as Anna Maxwell Martin and Chris O’Dowd. This option costs more – £40 – but gives you 14 days’ access.

The fact that anyone can now enjoy Constellations digitally when so many fans were unable to come to the theatre in person due to Covid-related travel restrictions is certainly something to celebrate.

And if you were lucky enough to see the play performed live, why not take a trip back to the multiverse by watching it on demand too? That’s what I’m hoping to do, not least because hearing the actors speak the dialogue softly rather than projecting their voices to audiences in the theatre will surely bring a whole new dimension to this multiverse play.

Fans of Zoë and her co-star are full of praise for the acting, the production and the way it’s been filmed for the Donmar On Demand service.

‘I just watched Constellations, Peter Capaldi and Zoe Wanamaker are absolutely fantastic’ – @Tempus_Fugit0

‘Okay, so I watched #Constellations like... 4 times in my 24 hours period and it hits so hard! @ZoeWanamaker and #PeterCapaldi are just sooo good and the camera work is top notch. Thank you @DonmarWarehouse for releasing this gem.’ – @StrangeSeaWolf

‘#Constellations was wonderful. #PeterCapaldi and #ZoëWanamaker were magical and heartbreaking together.’ – @AmandaDebaser

Don’t miss out – Constellations on demand is only available until 29 November.

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Interviews galore – Zoë’s thoughts on Britannia and more

1 October 2021 21:15

Having done battle with my scanner (how can it be offline if the little blinky light is blinking?!), I'm pleased to present a round-up of recent interviews.

Woman’s Weekly cover star

Here’s Zoë on the cover of Woman’s Weekly (31 August 2021 issue). The magazine describes her as ‘a poster girl for staying young at heart’. Lovely – and true!

Less than lovely was the British weather when Zoë filmed Britannia series three (which is currently available to stream via Sky and other platforms around the world) in 2020. ‘We had the worst winter ever [...] outside in the mud and rain and snow and ice,’ she tells the magazine.

But not even those harsh conditions could stop Zoe from enjoying her work on the epic historical drama and spending time with her co-stars, who include Eleanor Worthington-Cox and Julian Rhind-Tutt. As she makes clear, ‘the doing of it is always wonderful’.

Click on the images to see larger versions

Insights about Queen Antedia in Yours

‘Zoë rules Britannia!’ declares Yours magazine (24 August – 6 September 2021 issue). Quite right too!

‘I think I’m attracted to mystical stories such as Britannia and roles that scare me a bit. To me it’s heaven, going to another world,’ Zoë explains.

Her formidable character, Queen Antedia, is never short of insults, much to the enjoyment of fans. ‘There’s more to her than her colourful language and being hell-bent on revenge, though. She has a backstory and, in this series, we get to see her more vulnerable side. Yes, she’s very angry but there’s got to be a three-dimensional person there,’ Zoë asserts.

Antedia’s character development is surely one of the key reasons why the third season is so compelling.

Click on the images to see larger versions

Chatting about Constellations in Good Housekeeping

Zoë was interviewed for the August 2021 issue of Good Housekeeping magazine shortly before starring in the dazzling West End show Constellations with Peter Capaldi.

Her enthusiasm is clear: ‘The play is intense, it is funny and touching, it’s all you could want in a piece of work.’ She adds that she ‘was really terrified by it’ – if you saw the production, you’ll know this love story across the multiverse doesn’t shy away from complexity!

The fact Zoë rose to the challenge of performing Constellations suggests, as the magazine points out, she’s ‘inherited the same determination as her father [Sam Wanamaker], who famously spent years raising funds to build Shakespeare’s Globe in Southwark, yards from the site of the original theatre’. ‘It’s a monument to one man’s incredible belief,’ Zoë emphasises.

Click on the images to see larger versions

Childhood TV favourites in the Guardian

Zoë has spoken to the Guardian about the kind of TV shows she enjoyed as a child – the interview is part of the newspaper’s ‘Watched with Mother’ section.

With her mum, Zoë watched the hugely popular 1950s US sitcoms I Love Lucy (starring Lucille Ball) and The Phil Silvers Show. ‘It was such a delight to watch these shows with her and hear her giggle,’ she recalls.

‘Watching them was like getting an insight into my parents’ backgrounds and into where I came from [...] I suppose it was a kind of Jewish American humour and that was what I was brought up on,’ Zoë explains.

These classic series made a big impression on her and helped to shape her career. ‘The quickness of [the actors’] wit really influenced me as a child and it meant I knew I wanted to act from a very young age’.

Zoë found echoes of her childhood TV favourites in the sitcom she herself starred in, My Family, which was the brainchild of the US writer and producer Fred Barron. In Zoe’s words, ‘the humour seemed to hark back to this type of naughty yet somehow gentle comedy’.

This is a great little interview – and it’s wonderful to see so much love for Zoë in the comments section :)

Back to 1994 for a Big Breakfast

In addition to all these recent interviews, a gem from the TV archives has turned up on YouTube. Let’s take a trip back to 1994, when Zoë was a special guest on Channel 4’s bright and breezy The Big Breakfast. Although it’s a pity the start of the interview is missing from the recording, the video is still a fantastic watch.

Looking very relaxed, she talks to Paula Yates about Love Hurts – the TV drama’s last series aired that year and saw Tessa and Frank becoming parents. (‘Are babies easy to work with?’ asks Yates. ‘No!’ jokes Zoe.)

Zoë also discusses entertaining – and shocking – theatregoers in Dead Funny, an acclaimed, darkly comic play about British attitudes towards sex and marriage. ‘We get at least a couple of people walking out in the first ten minutes of the show,’ she smiles.

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