Michael Fentiman
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Michael Fentiman

Michael Fentiman
Michael Fentiman theatre director, photographed at Rhodes Arts Centre, Bishop's Stortford, Kodak Tri-X 400.jpg
Michael Fentiman in 2018
Michael Fentiman

(1982-06-01) 1 June 1982 (age 37)
Harlow, Essex, England
Alma materMountview Academy of Theatre Arts; Bretton Hall
OccupationTheatre director

Michael Fentiman (born 1 June 1982 at Harlow, Essex, England) is a British theatre director.

Fentiman attended Bretton Hall for three years, where he trained to be an actor, followed by a postgraduate course at Mountview Academy for one year, to be a director.[1][2]

His directing credits to date (2019) include Titus Andronicus for the RSC,[3]The Importance of being Earnest at the Vaudeville Theatre, Raising Martha and Joe Orton's Loot at the Park Theatre, London, The Last Days of Anne Boleyn (writer and director) for Historic Royal Palaces at the Tower of London,[4] and Amélie the Musical (UK national tour from April 2019)[1][5]


In 2012 Fentiman with Rupert Goold co-directed The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe for a Threesixty 'tented production' in Kensington Gardens, London. It received a Guardian three star review.[6]

Fentiman directed a 2013 production of Titus Andronicus for the RSC at the Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon. A review by Michael Billington considered Fentiman's production "strong on momentary effects, [but] not exactly a model of intellectual coherence".[7]Charles Spencer in The Daily Telegraph saw this production as "a notable RSC debut" by Fentiman, "with just the right mixture of dark wit and in-your-face violence".[8]

Raising Martha, a farce by David Spicer, was directed by Fentiman in 2017. Lyn Gardner reviewed the production for The Guardian, stating it was "never quite as riotously funny as it should be in a production by Michael Fentiman" and "ends up down a dramatic cul-de-sac"[9] A review by David Fargnoli in The Stage thought the play an "amusing, absurdist black comedy that lacks a cutting edge"[10] More positive reviews were written for the Evening Standard which thought Fentiman's "brisk" production "achieves moments of tension",[11] and by Ann Treneman for The Times, who believed the production was "wild and wacky, outrageously funny, with jokes from the very silly to the subtle and sophisticated"[12]

Fentiman directed Orton's Loot in 2017. His review in The Independent mentioned that the production "reinstates some of the lines that had been censored by the Lord Chamberlain", and was a "stylish and entertaining revival".[13] Dominic Cavendish in The Daily Telegraph believed that "Fentiman has not only found the right venue..., he has got the right cast".[14] Clare Brennan in The Guardian said that "if ever there was a cast to deliver Orton this is it - under Michael Fentiman's direction".[15]Neil Norman in the Sunday Express called Michael Fentiman's production "a masterclass in physical comedy and timing".[16] Michael Billington in The Guardian gave Loot a five star rating, commenting on the way Fentiman referenced the "shock tactics" in Orton's work.[17]

Fentiman's 2018 The Importance of being Earnest was reviewed less favourably by Billington, who wrote: "Michael Fentiman's coarse production robs Wilde of his decorum, swapping subtleties and satire for screaming and sex" and "never allows the words to do their work".[18] A contrary viewpoint was taken by Alun Hood for WhatsOnStage who believed the production "[throws] fresh ideas at [the play]" and "will likely infuriate as many people as it delights"[19] Henry Hitchins in the Evening Standard mentions Fentiman's "at times racy interpretation [that] suggests the anarchy seething beneath Wilde's polished witticisms".[20] Paul Taylor in The Independent said "Does anybody need Wilde's masterpiece to be 'decoded' in this heavy-handed, pseudo-radical way?"[21] Holly Williams in Time Out believed "Fentiman's approach rubbles the structure of an exquisitely formed play."[22] Natasha Tripney in The Stage thought "Fentiman's pantomimic production does it [the play] a disservice".[23]


  1. ^ a b "Michael Fentiman", United Agents. Retrieved 9 December 2018
  2. ^ Brennan, Ailis; A Younger Theatre. Retrieved 10 December 2018
  3. ^ "Titus Andronicus", Learning on Screen, British Universities Film & Video Council. Retrieved 10 December 2018
  4. ^ The Last Days of Anne Boleyn, WhatsOnStage. Retrieved 12 December 2018
  5. ^ "Amélie the Musical is coming to the UK next year", Evening Standard, 29 October 2018. Retrieved 10 December 2018
  6. ^ Billington, Michael; "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - review", The Guardian, 31 May 2012. Retrieved 9 December 2018
  7. ^ Billington, Michael; "Titus Andronicus - review", The Guardian, 24 May 2013. Retrieved 9 December 2018
  8. ^ Spencer, Charles; "Titus Andronicus, Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, review", The Daily Telegraph, 24 May, 2013. Retrieved 9 December 2018
  9. ^ Gardner, Lyn; "Raising Martha review - psychedelic froggy comedy", The Guardian, 23 Jan 2017. Retrieved 9 December 2018
  10. ^ Fargnoli, David; "Raising Martha review at the Park Theatre, London - 'surprisingly tame'", The Stage, 18 January 2017. Retrieved 9 December 2018
  11. ^ Hitchins, Henry; "Raising Martha, theatre review: Demented mix of knockabout farce and Hamlet", Evening Standard, 19 January, 2018. Retrieved 9 December 2018
  12. ^ Treneman, Ann; "Theatre: Raising Martha at Park Theatre, N4", The Times, 19 January 2017. Retrieved 9 December 2018
  13. ^ Taylor, Paul; "Loot, Park Theatre, London, review: Michael Fentiman's stylish and entertaining revival", The Independent, 28 August 2017. Retrieved 9 December 2018
  14. ^ Cavendish, Dominic; "Why Joe Orton still matters: Loot, Park Theatre, review", The Daily Telegraph, 25 August 2017. Retrieved 9 December 2018
  15. ^ Brennen, Clare; "Loot review - the farce is strong with this one", The Guardian, 3 September 2017. Retrieved 9 December 2018
  16. ^ Norman, Neil; "Loot review: A masterclass in physical comedy and timing", Sunday Express, 1 September 2017. Retrieved 9 December 2018
  17. ^ Billington, Michael; " Loot review - Joe Orton's savage farce now even funnier and filthier", The Guardian, 24 August 2017. Retrieved 9 December 2018
  18. ^ Billington, Michael; "The Importance of Being Earnest review - Wilde's comic masterpiece lost in shouty frenzy", The Guardian, 3 August 2018. Retrieved 9 December 2018
  19. ^ Hood, Alun; "Were critics earnest about Classic Spring's final production?", WhatsOnStage, 3 August 2018. Retrieved 9 December 2018
  20. ^ Hitchins, Henry' "The Importance of Being Earnest review: Racy interpretation shows anarchy beneath Wilde's witticisms", Evening Standard, 3 August, 2018. Retrieved 9 December 2018
  21. ^ Taylor, Paul; "The Importance of Being Earnest, Vaudeville Theatre: Manages to be subversive and conformist at the same time", The Independent, 3 August, 2018. Retrieved 9 December 2018
  22. ^ Williams, Holly; "This queered-up take on WIlde's most famous play doesn't really work", Time Out, 23 March 2018. Retrieved 9 December 2018
  23. ^ Tripney, Natasha; "The Importance of Being Earnest review at Vaudeville Theatre, London - 'heavy-handed'", The Stage, 2 August 2018. Retrieved 9 December 2018

External links

Media related to Michael Fentiman at Wikimedia Commons

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