The Tony-winning revival of The Norman Conquests remains one of the greatest theatrical experiences of my life. Matthew Warchus’ production was so brilliantly realized at the Circle in the Square that I took in two full day marathons of the Ayckbourn classic, including the show’s final performance. (I was such a fan of the experience, I even stage doored a show for the first time in over four years).

All six performers were exceptional and if there was a Tony Award for Best Ensemble, they would have won hands-down. But one particular performer was my personal favorite: Stephen Mangan as the titular Norman, half sad-sack, half lothario who wreaks havoc on his family over the course of an eventful weekend at his wife’s family home. It was a display of sheer bravado and one of the most impressive performances I’ve ever witnessed. (And he should have won that Tony).

Mangan, a staple in British television and theatre, is going to be a familiar sight to American viewers this January when Showtime premieres its new series Episodes. The show is about married British writers (Mangan and his Green Wing co-star Tamsin Greig) who find themselves moving to California to adapt their hit series (about a posh boarding school) for American television. The couple is forced by studio pressure to cast washed up Matt LeBlanc (as himself) in the lead role and find themselves dealing with Hollywood eccentrics. I’m looking forward to tuning in.

The series premieres on Showtime January 9, 2011 at 9:30PM.


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