reviews

A Quiet Passion, Hurricane Films

This biopic of American poet Emiliy Dickinson, starring Cynthia Nixon and Jennifer Ehle is directed by Terence Davies, and premiered at the Berlin Film Festival in February, will come to the London Film Festival in October, and is in cinemas from November 18th 2016. She plays the role of Miss Vryling Buffam, with her performance described as "Fabulously arch" (The Guardian), "Scene-stealing" (Evening Standard), "Brilliant" (International Cinephile Society) and "Sparkling" (Screendaily). She plays "a wonderfully cynical and witty neighbour with an acerbic tongue" (The Independent).

 

IndieWire.com:

“Vitalized by her companionship to Vinnie's friend Vryling Buffam ("sounds like an anagram, doesn't it?"), she is encouraged in her burgeoning dissatisfaction with the more intransigent undercurrents informing American life. Buffam, an outgoing socialite who likes to keep men on their toes ("he dances like a polar bear"), is played with infectious verve by Catherine Bailey — who, in light of the restrictions of the chamber-piece setting, must embody and stand in for the more progressive social tendencies to which Dickinson was able to respond throughout her later years.

As such, Bailey gets to deliver the film's funniest lines. (Two examples: "Going to church is like going to Boston — you only enjoy it after you've gone home"; "America's the only country in the world that looks upon death as some kind of personal failure.") Such dialogue ricochets through artfully stylized scenes, enlivening the unfolding drama even when a certain, inevitable dread creeps in (no excuses, critically, for expecting any of this to have a happy ending).”

Recent Interviews here:

King Lear, Royal and Derngate and ATG Tour

Recent reviews of the UK tour of King Lear described her performance as Goneril as "steely and scheming" (What's on Stage), "strongly played" (The Stage), "stand-out... degenerating horribly but perfectly towards the destructive jealousy that destroys" (Reviews Hub), "manipulative, high-maintenance, crazy with desire" (Daily Mail), "quality" and "unflinching" (Northampton Telegraph). Stage Review wrote that “Lear’s dishonest daughters Goneril (the flame-haired Catherine Bailey, looking very Kate Hepburn, I thought,) and Regan, are exceptionally watchable whether they are plotting to discredit their father or fighting over possession of Edmund” and the Financial Times asks for "A word of acknowledgment, too, for Catherine Bailey and Sally Scott as Goneril and Regan in Northampton, competing for the affections of Edgar’s bastard half-brother Edmund by playing the cold-hearted seduction card with brio." The Express says “Catherine Bailey and Sally Scott are among the finest pairings of Goneril and Regan I have seen, their regal hauteur making them recognisably Lear’s daughters.” During the Brighton run of the tour, the Mid Sussex Times picked out "Goneril (Catherine Bailey) and Regan (Sally Scott) both jealous, treacherous and cruel, and Cordelia (Beth Cooke) virtuous and strong. It is to the trio’s credit that they bring new depths to the characters and their motives.” At Richmond Theatre, Broadway World said Lear "gets excellent support, especially from Sally Scott and Catherine Bailey as the ugly-at-heart sisters Regan and Goneril.”

 

Meanwhile theatre bloggers had this to say:

“Catherine Bailey was simply the most vile Goneril – but with such great depth. (This is A Good Thing. I have often found the “unnatural hags” one-dimensional – both on the page and the stage.) She gave Lear as good as she got; and was a commanding presence in every scene she appeared in. Poor Albany – whatever did he do to deserve this?” - The Bard of Tysoe.

“There are many fine performances from a wonderful cast – I particularly liked Catherine Bailey’s Goneril. She conveyed a sense of menace and ruthlessness that was Lady Macbeth like in its icy coldness. And her change from a red dress in the opening scene, to power suit and trousers in the 2nd was inspired.” - Family Affairs and Other Matters.

“Catherine Bailey was engaging and beguiling as Goneril. She found moments of lightness and wit in a character who lacks in redeeming qualities.”- Playhouse Pickings.

Julius Caesar, Shakespeare's Globe

Michael Billington in the Guardian wrote of her performance as Portia, saying “much of the colour comes from the supporting roles. For once, the marginalised women make a strong impression. Catherine Bailey is full of simmering anger as the self-mutilating Portia”

 

Meanwhile Charles Spencer in The Telegraph says that "in this oppressively masculine play Catherine Bailey is deeply touching as Brutus’s neglected wife who poignantly asks her husband: “Dwell I but in the suburbs of your good pleasure?” and the New York Times commented that "the audience is unusually aware of both the play’s wives: Portia, baleful spouse of the anxious Brutus; …Catherine Bailey’s suicidal Portia stakes out her own rending place on the periphery of the play’s ceaseless political storm.”

The Financial Times noted that “There are lovely performances" citing "Catherine Bailey as Portia" whilst London Theatre.co.uk said that "in Catherine Bailey’s moving and inspirational Portia, I saw for the first time Shakespeare’s subtle connection between Brutus and Portia, and Macbeth and his Lady; in her “I am a woman; but…” I caught the echo of Elizabeth I’s battle cry to her troops at Tilbury.” Elsewhere her performance was described as "clear, poised, subtle and animated" (Theatre Cat) "feisty" (The Arts Desk) and "a lovely turn" (British Theatre.com)

 

Dr Scroggy’s War, Shakespeare’s Globe

 

As The Honourable Penelope Wedgewood in Howard Brenton's Dr Scroggy's War, Time Out described her as "dazzlingly charismatic", whilst the Guardian observed that she moved with "equal conviction from volunteer nurse to militant pacifist”. She was "mercurial yet strident" (Daily Mail) and a "ballsy aristocrat" with "straight talking charm" (Independent). Official London Theatre said that as a newcomer to The Globe, "Catherine Bailey, whose Penelope Wedgewood moves from fun-loving posh totty to battle-scarred pacifist, could equally have been performing in the idiosyncratic auditorium for years.”

Online reviewers The Arts Desk said "the large cast is great... Catherine Bailey is an attractive Penny.” British Theatre Guide notes that "the Hon Penelope, eyes opened by her experiences with the VAD and her passion for Jack, joins those demonstrating against the war and Catherine Bailey makes this seem a real conversion, not just a tidy piece of plotting.” Whilst Exeunt says that “the cast are uniformly strong (particularly Catherine Bailey as cynical socialite-cum-volunteer nurse Penelope Wedgewood)”.

 

© 2017 Catherine Bailey