JAN MOIR: James Corden has swapped Hollywood for the Old Vic. So will playing an ex-soldier in a downward spiral revive his career?

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We each cognize location is 1 connection that describes James Corden. A azygous connection that sums him up for illustration nary other.

One connection that gets to nan marrow of nan man, that drills down to nan bone, that conjures distant nan distilled principle of nan entertainer truthful galore emotion to hate. And that connection is 'can't'.

Let maine repetition that. He's a spot of a can't. For erstwhile you put him connected a shape aliases successful beforehand of a camera aliases a microphone, location is perfectly thing that James can't do.

Actor, comedian, singer, writer, producer, podcast supremo, chat show host, oleaginous friend of nan stars and loyal chum of Prince Harry — James moves done each these worlds pinch practiced ease.

James Cordon swaps hollywood to play ex-serviceman successful situation Alec successful West End play The Constituent

Corden stars alongside award-winning character Anna Maxwell Martin, who plays Alec's section MP

He mightiness beryllium a polarising fig to some, pinch a estimation arsenic an arrogant churl that whitethorn aliases whitethorn not beryllium deserved, but he surely knows really to lipid nan showbiz wheels and he tin grease nan cogs of personage and royalty for illustration cipher else.

And he is afloat of surprises, too. Few could person guessed that aft leaving Hollywood and nan high-wattage glitter of his star-packed American TV chat show, pursuing an eight-year tally that made him an world prima and a millionaire galore times over, that he would extremity up connected nan shape of nan Old Vic theatre successful London, playing a downbeat and damaged erstwhile worker whose life is falling apart.

Yet present he is, correct successful beforehand of me, dressed successful cargo shorts and a hoodie, an indeterminate tattoo visible connected his ray calf arsenic he pads astir pinch a Dustbuster successful his manus and a raging spread successful his soul.

Remarkably, Corden's hotly anticipated post-Hollywood gig is starring successful The Constituent, a caller governmental play by Joe Penhall which opened successful preview past Thursday night.

In this pacy, 100-minute production, he plays Alec; a worker who served successful Afghanistan who is now connected Ritalin, connected anti-psychotic narcotics and connected a downward spiral that threatens to extremity successful tragedy.

He wants his MP to thief him, but she is not judge that she can. 'You've sewage dormant eyes, you are dormant from nan cervix up, you activity for a dormant Parliament successful a dormant country,' he shouts, successful 1 haunting moment.

On his past shape outing 12 years ago, Corden was a smash deed arsenic grounded skiffle-player Francis successful One Man, Two Guvnors, an uproarious drama which triumphed some successful nan West End and connected Broadway.

Cordon pinch his woman Julia Carey astatine nan 2024 Met Gala successful New York

Indeed, his friend and protagonist Dame Anna Wintour, who galore opportunity was a driving unit down nan show's successful transportation to New York, is successful nan audience.

Even successful nan anonymity of nan dimly lit stalls Anna is unmistakable successful her pinkish coat, precision bob and trademark sunglasses, which she only slips disconnected erstwhile nan location lights spell down.

It reminds maine that successful nan postulation of celebrity, Corden is that astir diligent of circling satellites – ne'er acold from different star.

Unlike One Man aliases moreover Gavin & Stacey – nan much-loved BBC bid which he co-writes and besides stars successful arsenic Smithy, a self-employed builder – James Corden is not playing it for laughs this time.

Yes, location is nan occasional mordant one-liner, perfectly delivered. When Alec is asked if location is simply a civilization conflict betwixt him and his estranged wife, he nods successful nan affirmative. 'Yeah. She's from Lewisham, I'm from Shepherd's Bush,' he says.

The sell-out assemblage perfectly loved that, but for nan astir portion nan going is grim.

Perhaps that is only to beryllium expected from a play which features a fewer drifting songs from Morrissey and Billy Bragg, while focusing connected intelligence wellness issues and nan information of those successful nationalist life, peculiarly politicians.

Indeed, you person to manus it to serendipitous James, blessed pinch a large star's endless luck, who now finds himself centre-stage successful a politically and socially charged play which presciently launched during nan wide predetermination campaign.

Not only that, but it besides asks nan hot-button mobility of nan moment: really tin we support our MPs safe?

The Constituent – successful which Corden is nan titular constituent – conscionable couldn't beryllium much topical if it tried.

The time aft nan play opened, gender-critical Labour campaigner Rosie Duffield announced she was withdrawing from hustings events because changeless maltreatment and harassment from trolls and 'fixated individuals' person made her fearfulness for her safety.

And Reform's Nigel Farage was assaulted by members of nan nationalist doubly successful nan abstraction of a fewer days.

The murders of MPs Jo Cox and Sir David Amess, on pinch nan caller resignation of MP Mike Freer complete information concerns, besides pass nan play, while Labour's Jess Phillips points retired that 'threats of intimidation and harassment successful this run mean that planned events are astir intolerable to spell to'.

The Constituent channels this perilous zeitgeist and these very existent fears done 3 characters.

There is guidance backbench MP Monica (Anna Maxwell Martin) who is harassed but compassionate. 'I americium not your punch bag, I americium a Member of Parliament,' she says. Monica is based connected Jess Phillips herself, who is thanked successful nan programme notes.

There is besides a policeman called Mellor (Zachary Hart) and of people Alec. When he was successful nan Army, Alec recruited spies, he 'de-escalated' dispute situations, he was a man pinch responsibilities who commanded respect.

Now he is simply a different benignant of information specialist, installing an siren strategy successful nan room offices of Monica, his ain section MP. 'I americium going to get you a individual alarm,' he tells her, bustling astir nan shape pinch a toolbox and cheery efficiency, causing a musculus representation of Smithy to waft unbidden into my uncultured brain.

Later erstwhile Alec is cresting towards an affectional eruption, I find myself disobligingly thinking, uh oh, Smithy's having a melty.

However, Corden must beryllium commended for taking connected this difficult and taxing domiciled erstwhile he could beryllium reclining connected nan feather furniture of his chatty man status, interviewing nan likes of David Beckham and asking Kim Kardashian astir her pants connected a lucrative world podcast bid — and to beryllium fair, he is doing that, too.

Yet his master estimation and nan style of nan remainder of his life depends connected nan occurrence aliases different of his capacity here, backmost connected nan London shape wherever his profession began.

Few had heard of James Corden backmost successful 2004 erstwhile he appeared successful The History Boys, Sir Alan Bennett's classical play astir a group of Sheffield schoolboys hoping to get into Oxbridge.

Playing Timms successful some nan shape and movie type made Corden's sanction and group him connected nan roadworthy to television, Broadway and world occurrence pinch The Late, Late Show and its Carpool Karaoke offshoot.

He seems to person made conscionable arsenic galore enemies arsenic friends on nan way. When Alan Bennett deadpanned that his proudest publication to intermezo history was having a 'small portion successful nan emergence and emergence of James Corden' nan insult was obvious.

Corden's Carpool Karaoke series, which saw him question and reply and singing pinch A-listers (pictured pinch Adele) won him immense popularity

James Corden wells up during his last section of The Late Late show

Rumours that Corden is 'difficult' to activity pinch won't spell away, while an infamous incident successful 2022 erstwhile he was temporarily banned from a New York edifice for being rude to a waiter didn't help.

Yet successful a caller recreation disruption, erstwhile his British Airways formation was diverted to Lisbon and past stuck connected nan tarmac for 3 hours, he was praised for speaking up for his chap passengers.

Meanwhile, Sharon Osbourne and Spice Girl Mel B are among those who person been vicious successful their disapproval of him, but I consciousness that anyone who has those 2 dementors arsenic enemies can't beryllium each bad.

When his Constituent co-star Anna Maxwell Martin was asked precocious astir Corden's reputation, she said: 'He's conscionable really easy. Neither of america want to make nan room difficult and discarded clip having a tense breakdown.

'We're worker bees. We conscionable want to get connected pinch it.'

So present we are, astatine a pivotal infinitesimal successful nan star-spangled life of James Corden. Can he go an all-time acting great, nan benignant of unconventional starring man who tin make america hide nan glutinous glitz of his erstwhile existence? Of being champion pals pinch Harry Styles, getting drunk pinch Adele, each that ghastly faux bonhomie pinch Prince Harry?

As Lady Macbeth almost erstwhile said, what is seen cannot beryllium unseen.

And erstwhile James and his ray legs move astir onstage successful nan unfolding calamity of The Constituent, I find myself incapable to hide that he erstwhile compared tattoos pinch Dakota Johnson and complained that overweight actors for illustration him ne'er get starring romanticist roles.

'Chubs Snubs Blubs,' was nan unsympathetic tabloid header which greeted that small profession grumble.

Well, he is very acold from a romanticist lead here, playing a surgery man who has been rejected by some nan state he risked his life for and nan woman he loves.

Can nan erstwhile chat show big perchance propulsion disconnected this melodramatic and enigmatic move of events?

In nan caller James Corden lexicon, location is nary specified connection arsenic can't.


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