Tuesday 13 January 1998
"Dying," said Peter Pan, "would be an awfully big adventure." Alan Rickman is an awfully big actor, but he uses more than size to fill screens, notably that marvellously languid voice nestling between a woody bass clarinet and the treacly tone of a lugubrious bassoon. The NFT's Rickman retrospective coincides with his directing debut, The Winter Guest, starring the ridiculously undervalued Phyllida Law and Emma Thompson. Rickman hit screen paydirt playing the (very) arch-villain in Die Hard and the thrillingly dastardly Sheriff of Nottingham in what looked like a title role. It wasn't. The movie was Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, but Kevin Costner's performance was so wooden that many mistook him for Nottingham forest. In Bob Roberts, Rickman plays right-hand man to a right-wing, would-be senator played by Tim Robbins (who also wrote and directed). In An Awfully Big Adventure he revisits evil, playing Captain Hook in a local rep production of Peter Pan. David Benedict
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