Pro­fes­sor in spot­light in smash show

Kentish Gazette Canterbury & District - - Front Page -

A univer­sity aca­demic from Can­ter­bury has been thrust into the na­tional spot­light as mu­si­cal di­rec­tor of a smash-hit show star­ring Break­ing Bad’s Bryan Cranston.

Pro­fes­sor Matthew Wright is work­ing on stage along­side the award-win­ning ac­tor, who takes the lead role in Net­work at the Na­tional The­atre.

The 40-year-old, who is the pro­fes­sor of com­po­si­tion and sonic art at Can­ter­bury Christ Church Univer­sity’s School of Mu­sic and Per­form­ing Arts, has worked with the sold-out show’s com­poser, Eric Sle­ichim, for al­most 10 years on other pro­duc­tions.

But for Net­work, Sle­ichim wanted an en­tirely elec­tronic score per­formed by a quar­tet of lap­top mu­si­cians.

The show, which also stars Down­town Abbey’s Michelle Dock­ery, is an adap­ta­tion of the 1976 Os­car-win­ning film by Paddy Chayesky.

It tells the story of a news net- work’s an­chor who, on dis­cov­er­ing he faces the sack be­cause of fall­ing rat­ings, un­rav­els live on air – but when his au­di­ence soars he be­comes the big­gest thing on TV.

Pro­fes­sor Wright said: “Be­cause of the sound Sle­ichim was look­ing to cre­ate, I was of­fered the role of mu­si­cal di­rec­tor, as well as asked to form and lead the quar­tet of mu­si­cians that ap­pear on stage for the en­tire run – about 75 per­for­mances.

“It has been an ed­u­ca­tion to see at close quar­ters ac­tors at the level of Bryan Cranston and Michelle Dock­ery work­ing through the script with such at­ten­tion to de­tail and to each nu­ance of the play.”

Net­work de­buted in Novem­ber to crit­i­cal ac­claim, re­ceiv­ing a five-star review from the Guardian and be­ing de­scribed as “breath­tak­ing” by the Hol­ly­wood Re­porter.

Its run at the Na­tional The­atre ends in March.

Pro­fes­sor Matthew Wright is mu­si­cal di­rec­tor of Net­work

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