Posts Tagged ‘Wicked


Rob Mills Is…Surprisingly Good


Rob Mills Is…Surprisingly Good

Brisbane Powerhouse, Queensland Cabaret Festival

& Mackay Entertainment And Convention Centre

Powerhouse Theatre

Sunday June 14 2015


 Reviewed by Xanthe Coward




Rob Mills Is…Surprisingly Good. It’s a humble, slightly bemused premise on which to base a show (they’re the words of critics of course), and it works. Mills is sensational, surprising East Coast audiences with his self-deprecating humour, natural musical ability and charisma. Anyone who has seen Mills in a musical theatre production, as Jamie (The Last Five Years), Fiyero (Wicked), Warner (Legally Blonde) or Danny (Grease), won’t be nearly as surprised as the rest. Again, this time within the challenging realm of cabaret, Mills shows his mettle.


I loved how they put the word grease in the hair of the logo. It made it exciting as soon as we sat down. The direction was beautiful and the song Sandy almost made me cry in Mum’s lap. Sandy is a beautiful song and Rob Mills sang it perfectly. I’m sure I saw the movie, but I thought this version was much better than the movie.


– Poppy Eponine


robmillsparishiltonThe “not really a Rodgers and Hammerstein kind of guy” clearly has a ball sharing his personal stories, which stem from a childhood of singing and playing guitar, and a heap of pub gigs followed by his 15 minutes thanks to Australian Idol, and an eclectic assortment of rock songs and musical theatre faves. The show is loosely based around notions of Dancing Through Life (Wicked), [He] Knew You Were Trouble (Taylor Swift) and finding one’s Purpose (Avenue Q).


We’ve seen and heard a lot from Mills via TV and THOSE headlines, and he doesn’t shy away from any of it, in fact he relishes all of it (even a boy band medley moment, which is GOLD); he reminisces and laughs with us.



He’s unashamed and beyond reproach. He’s dancing through life, and why not?


Striking the perfect note, Mills opens with Live in Living Colour (Catch Me If You Can). He is at once disarmingly cute, irresistibly charismatic…although he takes a few minutes to comfortably settle into the space.


The Powerhouse Theatre is a good deal bigger than the intimate surrounds of RACV Noosa Resort for example, which is where you’ll catch him next, in a Supper Club version of the show during Noosa Long Weekend Festival after a final performance this weekend in Melbourne.


There are some static moments, easily fixed by a deep breath, a bolt of confidence and consistent pace (the show picks up after the whole Paris tryst bit), and I feel like the more intimate venues, which allow a closer connection with the audience, will serve Mills well. It’s as if this show has come too soon and also, at precisely the right time for Mills. His gorgeous larrikin characters from musical theatre are somehow at odds with the Rob Mills he professes he wants to be seen as. So there’s clearly another show in this, but it will need to be revealed through the execution of this one.






Penned by Mills and Natalie Garonzi, and directed by Tyran Parke, Mills and his hot band (hello, Kuki Tipoki!), led by MD Andrew Worboys, impress and delight the Queensland Cabaret Festival crowd.


A final cheeky appearance in the tight white pants of Fiyero seals the deal, in case we weren’t already, er, enamoured. The audacity and cheek of this increasingly confident performer even wins over sceptical Sam, who’s relinquished his +1 role many times, missing some previous performances about which Poppy and I have raved. After the show too, handing out “Surprisingly Good” buttons and posing for selfies by the bar, Mills proves he has the goods to stay at the top of the entertainment tree. So I think it’s time we dropped the “surprisingly good” and acknowledged that Rob Mills is sensational! I’ll look forward to seeing this show again, and whatever it is that must come after it.





Opening Night Style at QPAC: Wicked






Opening Night Style at QPAC: Wicked



I love the new touring production of Wicked (read my rave review here) and having only just experienced opening night on Sunday, unexpectedly, randomly, to fill the teacher-student ratio, I was able to see it again today with the beautiful kids and music staff from Matthew Flinders Anglican College. That’s right. I know! How lucky am I?! Lucky it’s an awesome admin team there, who can cover a lunch duty and a double Year 8 Drama class at the drop of a hat. Sorry Year 8s – I hope you were good for your teacher this arv.


It was interesting to see the show from the balcony, where I was able to take in the production in its entirety, rather than focusing solely on the performers in the space. This can happen when you sit in the stalls, and it means you’re sometimes missing the true scale of a production, like using the zoom function on the DVD and missing crucial elements outside of the new frame. If you only ever zoom in you may never see the director’s original vision for a film.


It was interesting to see and hear Ali Calder’s Elphaba so soon after experiencing Jemma’s performance, and it was interesting to hear the students’ responses to various aspects of the show. MFAC kids are well travelled so equally as interesting was hearing where in the world they’d previously seen Wicked… Today’s performance marked the fourth time one senior student had seen the show and he felt, as I did, that some of the performances were a little flat. We agreed Calder may have been “holding back”. More student comments to come…


I won’t post a pic of the Stella pants and Seed Heritage top that I wore today because #openingnightstyle


Poppy and I got a little bit greenified for opening night. No doubt you’ve seen these pics on Insta already (and no doubt noticed that I look as if I haven’t slept for a week. That’s because I haven’t slept for a week)… #newmoon #newintentions #getmoresleep




Dress Code: Smart with a hint of emerald


Pre-show treat: The Cafe


Pre-show drinks: Foyer Bar




Kaftan: Camilla


Shoes: Jo Mercer


Earrings: vintage, from the vault














Wicked Aust LLC & Gordon Frost Organisation

QPAC Lyric Theatre

February 15 – April 19 2015


Reviewed by Xanthe Coward




In case you hadn’t noticed, Wicked is back! The New York Times hailed it as “the defining musical of the decade” and once again, it’s not hard to see why. A new spectacular production comes to Brisbane for an exclusive season.



 AND LOOK WHAT ELSE! #howexcitement #wickedlottery





If you’ve never seen the phenomenon that is Wicked you’re in for a treat! This latest touring production is spectacular in every aspect, and boasts some new cast members who each add their own nuances to the songs and scenes so familiar to so many of us. Oh yes! If this is not your first visit to Oz, don’t hesitate to book again; there are plenty of new magical moments to be savoured. As I’ve told skeptical friends and family members since opening night in Brisbane on Sunday, unless you actually dislike the book and the score, this production of Wicked is well worth the price of your Lyric Theatre ticket and it might just be your favourite version yet.


Based on Joe Mantello’s original Broadway Production Direction, Lisa Leguillou’s staging doesn’t appear to be any different (musical staging is by Wayne Cilento), but what I’m impressed with is the calibre of this company in her hands. There is no autopilot here, despite the involvement of some performers in this show since 2008. How does one DO THAT? (We have three-week seasons on the Sunshine Coast!). It’s not easy to make each performance appear as if it’s the first time the story is being told. I spoke to our last Aussie Wicked director, Kris Stewart, and he ‘reckons he must have seen more than 300 performances whilst working on it! Obviously, it’s vital to get the casting right, and he admitted it was a joy to see this cast and this production fresh and new, after taking a step away from the show.


Let’s talk about this cast. I love them. Like, LOVE THEM.





To challenge even the die-hard Durack fans, Wicked welcomes back the sensational Suzie Mathers (an original Australian cast member in 2008). Mathers graciously reclaims the role, offering a little less physical comedy at this stage, and a little more (operatic) vocal strength than you may have gotten used to in the last six years. Her sassy take on Glinda (The Witch Previously Known As Galinda) means she is every bit Elphaba’s perfect foil, and like any popular schoolgirl desiring even just a little bit to shake hands with the devil, we see very clearly her inner conflict as she struggles to find a way to have it all.





Jemma Rix IS Elphaba, and if you’re not completely enraptured by this woman on stage (and off; she’s just gorgeous to speak to), you must be on drugs. Or dead already. I know, I know, you can never forget your first, but Rix is the best we’ve seen here yet. Why? Because there is not an instant on stage when she is not fully living and breathing this role. It’s exhilarating and thrillifying to see and hear her in action. Much is made the world over of Elphie’s vocal tricks and riffs, but Rix keeps it simple; it’s strong and superior. Loathing and The Wizard And I gives us our first delicious taste of the talent that has seen her in this role since understudying it in 2008. And those big belts, Defying Gravity and No Good Deed, seal the deal. Would you like to know her tips and tricks for keeping in good voice? So would I! #staytuned









Now, look, we’ve seen a couple of awesome Fiyeros. I love David Harris (his connection with Rix was palpable, probably the most passionate Australian pairing) and I love Rob Millsy Mills (I can’t wait to see him a little closer to home…a-hem. Details soon). Like these two, Steve Danielson brings his own gorgeous spring and step, and vibrant, cheeky energy to the role. He reminds me of Stephen Mahy (who is back in April as Brad in The Rocky Horror Show, but sorry Brisvegas fans, you’re gonna’ have to join the party in Sydney or Melbourne to catch THAT fine performance!). Like Millsy, who took a little while to be happy being Millsy being Fiyero, Danielson now needs to settle and trust and BRING IT!




Maggie Kirkpatrick does her thing even better than before, as Madame Morrible. I love her subtext, and she is believably regal and enviable and finally, completely detestable. And what a joy it is to welcome once again, a wizard who can sing the role. Simon Gallaher is perfectly cast (props to Frosty for that inspired call), and for that we say – no, we sing – thank goodness! Although rather more rotund than your parents might remember him being in the early years at QPAC, kids, Gallaher is light enough on his feet and delights us with his song. He is truly The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and because he is so lovely in the beginning we feel for Elphie more than ever in the chaotic winged monkey moment of his betrayal. And, it’s true, he also earns our sympathy in the end because Gallaher brings a certain poignancy, which I’m not sure we’ve seen before. Poppy loves this revelation this time (I think, at the age of five in 2011, she might have missed it!).












Emily Cascarino (Nessarose) and Edward Grey (Boq) are sweet and suddenly strong (and ultimately tragic) in their sub-stories, and the ensemble is top notch. Transitions between scenes and songs are seamless; this show is a well-oiled machine after all!






Wicked has one of the best books in contemporary musical theatre (Book by Winnie Holzman, based on Gregory Maguire’s novel, with Music & Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz), despite some anomalies. I’m with Poppy, who says, “It’s so clever, the way The Wizard of Oz weaves through it and we actually SEE Dorothy, with her two plaits and her bucket of water in the shadows to melt the witch…” (And then, “Poor Elphie. Does Glinda ever find out her friend is not dead? They should tell her. Someone should tell her. And tell her DAD!”).



The last time Poppy experienced Wicked she remembers that the dragon, the winged monkeys, and the shadow segment featuring Dorothy frightened her. “But not this time, because I saw the monkeys moving to their places. They were hiding but we could see them in the set. They were pre-set.” John Frost has always said this is a show for 8 to 80 year olds and he’s right. For younger audience members the themes are a little challenging.



The superb look and sound of the show is thanks to a plum creative team, with costumes by Susan Hilferty, wigs and hair by Tom Watson (Tom, while you’re in town, please stop by our two major theatre companies and help them with their hair. Just some phone numbers will do. Thanks ever so.), lighting by Kenneth Posner, sound by Tony Meola, and musical direction by David Young. AND THAT’S NOT ALL. So fork out for the glossy souvenir program y’all, and read about the amazing people behind the scenes who make the amazing people on stage look and sound their best!





I don’t believe you can ever be disappointed by this show. Unless you’re my dad and you simply don’t like the book or the score. I KNOW. WHAT EVEN… AM I THE DAUGHTER OF A GYPSY PEDDLER?


This Wicked is my fave so far. A polished, pitch-perfect show, it’s no wonder Wicked remains so popular worldwide. It’s highly sophisticated (and hummable!) contemporary musical entertainment for the masses, and it will make your heart sing all the way home and your spirit soar for years to come. You’ll be changed for good.


Images by Jeff Busby



David Harris brings his intimate cabaret Time is a Traveller to Brisbane Powerhouse

Son of a coal-mining dad and a secretary mum, this is the story of an Aussie country kid and what lead him to tread the boards in some of Australia’s biggest musicals.




Following an extended and sold-out season at Sydney’s Hayes Theatre, leading man David Harris, brings his intimate cabaret to Brisbane Powerhouse this Saturday August 9.

(Saturday is David birthday! Remember to wish him Happy Birthday!)


You may know David from productions such as The Pajama Game, Fiddler On The Roof, Breast Wishes, Children of Eden, Boy From Oz, Beauty and the Beast, Wild Party, John & Jen, Little Women, The Full Monty, Thoroughly Modern Millie or Legally Blonde


David Harris & Lucy Durack. Image by Jeff Busby.






Miss Saigon




Gutenberg! – The Musical



Damn Yankees



Into The Woods




Or from a special visit to Matthew Flinders Anglican College




Time is a Traveller weaves together the songs and stories that have helped David shape his career. From growing up in country New South Wales and the embarrassment of his first school musical, to the talent quests in RSL clubs, yodelling in the Swiss alps and the highs and lows of performing his dream role.

David’s latest cabaret is an intimate, personal and candid story of one of Australia’s most acclaimed leading men best known for his Helpmann Award nomination portrayals, of Chris in Miss Saigon, Fiyero inWicked and Emmett Forrest in Legally Blonde.

In Brisbane David will be joined by Special Guest Ana Marina

Catch him in this intimate setting before he embarks for the bright lights of New York.



David Harris with Jordi Russell, currently studying at AMDA NYC



Missing Idina Menzel

Well, I’ve missed Idina Menzel live in concert.


I’m not sure how that happened.


Sometimes I have moments of common sense and self-preservation, and I remember thinking months ago, “You will have just finished The Noosa Long Weekend, moved house, seen three other shows the same week, made three deadlines, kept up with washing, shopping, meals and a marriage, AND have Poppy home for the holidays. You can’t possibly get to Idina as well!” And I was right. I saw all your tweets and pics and status updates instead and I’M HAPPY FOR YOU! I am, truly. I’m grateful to see so much as it is. What a momentous and very special event you’ve been a part of!


AND some of you got to meet Idina, have her sign your Grimmerie, AND SING WITH HER! THAT’S RIGHT! OMG!


Eloise Mueller. Image by Cade Mooney

We are so proud of our lovely friend Eloise Mueller, who hails from the Sunshine Coast and is well on her way to perform in all the world’s greatest venues.





Actually, there was never any stopping her


And she nailed it, look! AMAZING!






I’d love to know about your night with IDINA AND/OR KRISTEN! Let us know about your experience in the comments below. Who’s next on your Must-See List?





the wizard of oz – harvest rain theatre company

The Wizard of Oz

Harvest Rain Theatre Company

QPAC Playhouse

10.02.12 – 19.02.12

Image by Trent Rouillon

Tim O’Connor, CEO & Artistic Director of Harvest Rain Theatre Company and Director of their latest musical, The Wizard of Oz, wanted more than anything else, to put the classic (1939) film on the Playhouse stage. And I think he’s done it. This is a glorious production, of considerable scale, which far surpasses anything I’ve seen staged by Harvest Rain. I’ve noted previously that family entertainment is this company’s specialty and in this production we have it in abundance. The ideal choice for this group, showcasing all their strengths, O’Connor has assembled superb leads, a fabulous ensemble and an adorable children’s chorus. And then of course there’s the creative team, who have finally found a way to get the creative juices flowing in the same direction.

Even more impressive is that I attended the final preview performance before opening night. It was the slickest preview EVER. When a company’s history is a little hit and miss, and I’ve always been honest about their misses, I’ve gottta lay on the love when they get it right. So here’s a whole lotta love for a large-scale musical production that you really shouldn’t miss.

Image by Trent Rouillon

Over the years, Harvest Rain’s has become a tight-knit little creative team. They used to not play so well together and we would see conflicting or unfinished ideas instead of a completed, melded and polished product. Now I wouldn’t dream of separating them. A couple of them come and go (they are regularly invited to play with the big boys) and the experience must be informing what they’re doing when they return to Harvest Rain to work.

They are:

Tim O’Connor – Director/Producer

Callum Mansfield – Choreographer

Maitlohn Drew – Music Director

Josh McIntosh – Set & Costume Designer

Jason Glenwright – Lighting Designer

Reilly Case – Stage/Production Manager

Sophie Woodward – Vocal Director

The Wizard of Oz, based on Frank L. Baum’s book, with music and lyrics based on the MGM motion picture score by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg (background music by Herbert Stothart) and adapted by John Kane for the Royal Shakespeare Company, is truly timeless. O’Connor has imbued this production with his long-held love for the story, its characters and for that place beyond the rainbow.

McIntosh has designed starkly contrasting sets, complemented by Glenwright’s evocative lighting. The mood is set before we see any of it with the orchestra’s stirring overture. Under the competent baton of MD Drew, this old-school opening allows us to sit back and see our own images, our own memories of the much-loved film. Paired with the full sound of the orchestra, the vocal arrangements make this a nostalgic experience for the young at heart before the curtain is up.

It opens on the dreary, dusty hues of the Gale family’s Kansas farm (remember the first time you saw The Wizard of Oz and tried to fix the colour on the TV?) Far from the dull daily chores of rural life in Kansas, we are taken on a trip through a strange, strobe-lit twister moment; it’s a rather long one and it’s the only questionable moment in the entire show, all enormous flag waving, which doesn’t really work, however, I could feel that others in the audience, including the five year old, Poppy, enjoyed it, in an anticipatory, storm-comin’ kinda way. We are taken, with Dorothy Gale and little Toto (too cute) to a place beyond the rainbow and into Munchinland, complete with painted houses and the adorable children’s chorus as the inhabitants. The children do a terrific job as Munchkins. They are well rehearsed and present themselves confidently and professionally. And suddenly, it’s in Technicolor that we feel the show starts. Dana Musil warms on me and I try to ignore that somebody must have told her to be as Garland as she likes. It works for the singing (her singing is gorgeous) but not so much for her spoken lines, which might be lost at times to those unfamiliar with the script. I appreciate the efforts towards achieving a certain level of authenticity within the context but I need to hear clear speech. And, having noted the efforts towards “authenticity”, I would love to have seen an original take on Dorothy, as we saw with the travelling companions. We’ll get to them in a minute.

Image by Trent Rouillon

Angela Harding is a beautiful Glinda and presents as a possible Galinda, should the opportunity arise. The woman is versatile and I look forward to seeing her solo show later this year. Her antithesis and Dorothy’s nemesis, the Wicked Witch of the West, is Penny Farrow at her most diabolical. Maniacal cackles, well-timed one-liners and beautiful big movement give this witch the right balance of nasty and comedy. Having seen Wicked, Poppy reminded me that the green witch is not as nasty as everybody thinks but is misunderstood. She has been teased for so long that sometimes she just can’t help how she responds to people. Also, she doesn’t melt and die; she’s living with Fiyero in the field under the stage. For young Wicked fans, this show is indeed a sequel.

Image by Trent Rouillon

I hope for HR’s sake, the newcomers (and by newcomers I mean newcomers to HR, not to the stage), Dan Venz (the tap dancing, debonair Tinman) and Matty Johnson (Lion) have signed a contract to stay  – or at least to return whenever required – because these guys give wonderful performances that have helped to raise the standard of the show overall. If I Were King of the Forest is a song that, in the film, is misplaced and so slow I would rather skip it but Johnson performs it with a sassy Rum Tum Tugger type attitude to suit any cabaret club or morning television show (somebody tell DC)! He’s no Ray Bolger but Shaun Kolman is a delightful scarecrow, bringing lightness and tenderness to the character’s comedy and choreography. Steven Tandy is the wonderful Wizard of Oz and on stage, he certainly lives up to his character’s reputation, giving us a wonderful combination of emotions as the wise, lost man who is so very loved in a place he can’t call home. It’s a touching performance from one of our favourite Brisbane actor/directors. I’m enjoying working with Mr Tandy in Noosa, on David Williamson’s Travelling North, which opens in April.

Image by Trent Rouillon

Special mention must go to Grant Couchman, who is a firm Uncle Henry to Kathryn Dunstan’s gentle-ish Aunt Em. It’s as the Guard at the gate of the Emerald City that we enjoy Couchman’s easy comic ability and his is another performance you can look forward to.

With spot on vocals and energetic dance numbers, the 25 strong ensemble provides additional colour, energy and laughs. They are, thanks to McIntosh and a sizeable costume construction team, superbly dressed. In a scene that need only incorporate a sweeping staircase to be mistaken for the Folies Begere, we get a hint of the high fashion to come, admiring Dior inspired hats and reversible opera cloaks before getting the full picture, which is very Vogue indeed, inside the walls of the gloriously lit Emerald City.

By Trent Rouillon

The Wizard of Oz is a spectacular show that doesn’t disappoint and importantly for me, it’s the show that has earned Harvest Rain their place in the Playhouse. If you’ve not been a HR supporter before now, expect to be converted.

Image by Rebecca Green



Dickens 200th Anniversary: Dickens’ Women

Did you know it was Charles Dickens’ birthday on Tuesday? He would have been 200 years old!

The British Council has an exciting schedule of events in 2012, to celebrate worldwide, Dickens’ 200th anniversary. We are lucky enough to welcome the return of the extraordinary BAFTA®-winning actress, Miriam Margolyes, in her one-woman show, Dickens’ Women.

Andrew Denton is a big fan of Margolyes:

Miriam Margolyes is just a little different to most actors. She has done Dickens … she has been a penguin, a sheepdog and a glow-worm. You may also know her as Professor Sprout from Harry Potter. Her CV is as unlikely as the woman herself.’ 

In Dickens’ Women, Margolyes will bring to life 23 of Charles Dickens’ most affecting female (and male!) characters, including Mrs Micawber from David Copperfield, Miss Havisham in Great Expectations and the grotesque Mrs Gramp in Martin Chuzzlewit. “They are real to me,” she says.

“Dickens’ women were chosen not only because they are some of the most colourful and entertaining characters in his writing, but because they were based on real people in his life; people he fought with and cared for, loved and hated,” explains Miriam. “In this way, the play is as much about the man himself, as it is about the 23 characters. These characters are drawn from his novels & sketches, including his most popular such as Oliver Twist, Great Expectations and Nicholas Nickleby. Some characters are famous & iconic, others are lesser-known creations from Dickens’ books, but all offer a unique glimpse into the real-life Charles Dickens.”

For Margolyes, it all comes down to the voice. She once said, “Voices are people,” and recently, when speaking with Sharon Verghis of the Weekend Australian review (February 4th -5th 2012), “Voices betray people perhaps in ways they never imagine.” This reveals a lot about the woman (more vulnerable than one would think, according to Verghis) and about her characters (“the mixture of evil and comedy that is particularly Dickensian.”)

Margolyes’ career began within the BBC Drama Department, in radio roles and voiceovers and quickly spanned TV (Blackadder), film (The Age of Innocence) and theatre (she was Madame Morrible in the original West End production of Wicked).

Miriam Margolyes as Madame Morrible in the original West End production of Wicked

“Directors are always saying to me, ‘A bit less, Miriam’.

And with Dickens, you don’t have to do that.”

Miriam Margolyes in conversation with Sharon Verghis

Dickens’ Women was developed by self-confessed “Dickens’ tragic”, Miriam Margolyes and Sonia Fraser for the 1989 Edinburgh Festival. It has since travelled worldwide, including London, Jerusalem, Santa Cruz, New York, Boston, Sydney, and all over India. In 1992, Dickens’ Women was nominated for the prestigious Olivier Award. 2012 will be busy for Miriam Margolyes; she is also appearing in the ABC’s new series Phryne Fisher Murder Mysteries based on the best selling series by Kerry Greenwood and set in the 1920s in Melbourne. Miriam will play Mrs Prudence Stanley, Phryne’s Aunt.

Don’t miss the opportunity to see Miriam Margolyes live on stage, only at the QPAC Playhouse and the Gold Coast Arts Centre in March.

What:             Miriam Margolyes in Dickens’ Women in BRISBANE

                           Presented by Andrew McKinnon Fine Entertainment

Venue:           Playhouse, Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC)

Date:              March 22 – 24



What:             Miriam Margolyes in Dickens’ Women – GOLD COAST

                           Presented by Andrew McKinnon Fine Entertainment

Venue:           Gold Coast Arts Centre

Date:              March 21



Miriam Margolye – Biography

She is a British award-winning actress who has achieved success on both sides of the Atlantic as well as in Australia. Winner of the BAFTA Best Supporting Actress award in 1993 for The Age of Innocence, she also received Best Supporting Actress at the 1989 LA Critics Circle Awards for her role in Little Dorrit and a Sony Radio Award for Best Actress in 1993 for her unabridged recording of Oliver Twist. She was the voice of the Matchmaker in Mulan & Fly, and the mother dog in one of Australia’s most successful films Babe.
Major film credits during her long and celebrated career include Yentl, Little Shop of Horrors, I Love You To Death, End of Days, Sunshine,Scorsese’s The Age of Innocence, Cold Comfort Farm and Magnolia. She starred in Stephen Hopkins’ The Life and Death of Peter Sellers,Modigliani, Istvan Szabo’s Being Julia and Ladies in Lavender (dir. Charles Dance, with Dames Smith & Dench). Margolyes was Professor Sprout in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Most recently, Margolyes appeared in The Dukes, How to Lose Friends and Alienate People (with Simon Pegg) and Blind Man’s Bluff.
Most memorable TV credits include Old Flames, Freud, Life and Loves of a She Devil, Blackadder, The Girls of Slender Means, Oliver Twist, The History Man, Vanity Fair and Supply and Demand. Her 2004 BBC TV documentary series Dickens in America was a worldwide success. In May 2010, she starred in the UK TV series, MERLIN.
In 2002, H.M The Queen awarded Miriam the Order of the British Empire for her services to Drama.

In the early years of the twenty-first century, we still sometimes see the world as a ‘Dickensian’ place. On the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens’s birth, we look at how his example and his creations live on. Dickens was one of the greatest of Victorians, but this seminar is about the Dickens who continues to be our contemporary. What do today’s writers still learn from him? What do readers of fiction expect because of him? What would he write – and what would he write about – if he were alive today? Dickens was a writer who broke the rules of tasteful composition. He revelled in caricature and hyperbole; he rifled the language for absurd idioms and resonant clichés; he loved the grotesque. Are his stylistic freedoms still available to writers today? He was also a satirist who was confident he knew the difference between good and evil. He was always ready to step into his novel to exhort or lecture his readers. Can contemporary novelists draw on the same moral fervour? He wrote novels that seemed to be about what was called ‘the condition of England’; he sometimes seemed to anatomise a whole nation. Do we still hope that novelists will take on such a task? Is it even possible to do so?

– Professor John Mullan

Dickens' Dream (unfinished) by Robert William Buss (1804 - 1875)