I’d promised myself if Nicola Walker was ever in a play on Broadway I’d go to see it and hopefully meet her again. On December 5 of this year I was two for two as they say in baseball. Went to see A View from the Bridge, an Arthur Miller play staged like none before. Nicola was playing Beatrice, Eddie’s (Mark Strong) wife. She wasn’t playing like some struggling housewife just barely coping. She was a woman of strength with perspective. Nicola’s acting brought the character in focus. Sharpe – crisp, enduring but not a need to be endearing. Through Nicola’s acting in the play you knew she knew what was her husband’s problem and she wanted to help him without losing her pride.
But enough about the play. It was Saturday night. The streets of Times Square and Broadway were packed with people who have no idea where they were going. Fortunately I mapped out a route early and also agreed to meet friends who were very familiar with New York. We’re all looking forward to our chance to meet and greet Nicola. We were also fortunate that there was only a small gathering at the stage door that night. The theatre holds just under 1,000. It is the 2nd oldest Theatre still standing in the Broadway section, although I think it was rebuilt in the early 1900s. So finding the stage door, while not that easy, it is possible. A barrier is erected. (There is a barrier for everything these days.) But with Nicola you feel there is never a barrier. She just leaned in and talked to all of us, and spent some time talking with me on various topics. I did bring up River as it airs on Netflix in the U.S. I told her that I thought her part was great and she was definitely a scene thief. (It was said with affection.) I said, and don’t throw rocks, “I think you actually had a stronger on screen chemistry with the Scandinavian guy than Peter Firth.” Nicola, still so fond of “Peter” as she calls him said, “Oh I’m sure if we’d had a similar format it would have been just as strong. Definitely.”
Then I changed the topic to her acting and we all know she rarely talks about herself. I stated that for someone who never wanted to be a celebrity, starring in two television shows at the same time in the UK, along with a successful play running on Broadway, is not the way to stay anonymous. She agreed and said even her friends were telling her she was “out there now.” The comment was made as she tried to cover a smile on her face. We didn’t discuss Unforgotten, not that it was forgotten, but how could I have seen it? (Well there are ways as she knows but we digressed into how people are viewing television and how things will have to change and that is too boring to write about. See she escaped taking about herself gracefully.) I also told her that on my visit to London I learned via our talk that I’d been mispronouncing Derek Jacobi’s name for 30 years. She did pronounce it again and we discussed Last Tango in Halifax but only briefly. You can only cover so much in so little time no matter how generous she was with her time. I did tell her I had been back to London since last we met, but it was to see the Trooping of the Color (s) and no I don’t spell it with a u. Told her, “You weren’t in a play so I didn’t go looking for you.” The only two people who bring out my enthusiasm for London and make me want to visit are Nicola Walker or The Queen. First trip was for Nicola, second trip to see the pageantry that goes with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, may her long rule continue. We may have fought two wars in this country to break away from the monarchy but we still are fascinated by it. In our own way we love it.
As she was about to leave, Nicola said we must have a proper goodbye. She came around the barrier and gave me a hug. Then she was off into the night – hopefully in a New York state of mind.
You can read Dee’s first encounter with Nicola HERE.
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