Behind the scenes hasn't been as rosy for theatre, which has had to deal with the same abuse of power issues that have plagued the rest of the entertainment industry. I have to say I've wondered, given how much perving over actors is a trademark of my reviews, whether it would be appropriate post-Spacey and Stafford-Clark to keep going in the same vein as usual. Then I remembered that if anything the actors usually thank me for objectifying them, and why should a couple of gropey people spoil everyone else's fun. And also if this was a dry review of plays without pictures of actors' nipples none of you fuckers would read it anyway. So let's get on to the most predictable Captain Tightpants winner since records began, but first...
THE INK'S BARELY DRY
BABY BABY BABYI always start with new writing which means the Royal Court is often the first theatre to get a mention - early this year their Upstairs space gave us a merciless look at a company that ISN'T AMAZON DEFINITELY NOT AMAZON in Wish List, another great debbie tucker green play that ran slightly shorter than the title in a profoundly affectionate, passionate devotion to someone (-noun), and a whatever Nuclear War was in Nuclear War. Danai Gurira confirmed that she's one to watch with The Convert, while one of my established favourite writers, Philip Ridley, premiered a new collection of monologues somewhat overshadowed by its staging in Killer. But the first show to make a serious play for 2017's Top Ten was in a theatre less known for its new writing in recent years: Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig mixed ancient and modern China, Andrew Leung was Too Beautiful To LiveTM again, and I was transfixed by the vengeful ghosts and haunted hearts of Snow in Midsummer.
US imports gave some memorable roles to British actresses - Kate Fleetwood got a powerhouse performance out of Ugly Lies the Bone, even if the play itself was out of place on the Lyttelton stage; a much smaller stage saw Future Dame Patsy Ferran seal her place as the queen of deadpan comedy in Speech and Debate. I found Branden Jacobs-Jenkins' Gloria to have too many dull spots between explosive story twists, but the same writer also gave us a look at America's problems with race that can only be described as unique, when An Octoroon turned up at the Orange Tree.
A much gentler, home-grown look at what connects black men around the world came to the Dorfman in Inua Ellams' joyous Barber Shop Chronicles, the undisputed hit of a summer season whose more hyped shows, Consent and Mosquitoes, fell a bit short for me. Making a better job of justifying the hype - although still pushing the patience with its running time - was Jez Butterworth's long-awaited new play The Ferryman, while on a smaller scale Diminished and While We're Here deserve a mention. Meanwhile in what didn't feel like a classic year at the Donmar, Steve Waters' new play will be remembered for drawing parallels between the Labour Party in 1981 and 2017 as itLOL NOT REALLY, this is what it'll be remembered for:
THE CAREY MULLIGAN AWARD FOR BEING UPSTAGED BY PASTA:
Delia Smith's Macaroni Cheese with Leeks in Limehouse
Between the mac'n'cheese and Allam's bald wig, the actors stood no chance
Speaking of distractions, a rebuild that's made the Bush Theatre's front-of-house areas an actually bearable place to be while you wait for a play, was opened with Rajiv Joseph's Guards at the Taj, a canny and bloody retelling of a myth about an Indian Emperor. Good as it was, it would be ignoring the elephant in the room to say that was the only memorable thing about the show.
PARTIALLY OBSTRUCTED AWARD 2017 FOR BEST NIPPLES:
Darren Kuppan in Guards at the Taj
Back to US imports at the National, where Oslo's ability to make a thriller out of backroom political negotiations was a feat in itself. The show transferred to the West End, as will another NT premiere shortly: From David Eldridge, often a very bleak writer, came a much more bittersweet and beautiful Beginning. After touring the world Every Brilliant Thing finally came to London, and dragged me right into the action.
PARTIALLY OBSTRUCTED AWARD 2017 FOR AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION:
Me, for having to make an impromptu wedding speech during Every Brilliant Thing
Shakespeare's Globe often struggles to make new plays work on its stage, but Tristan Bernays added his name to the very short list of modern playwrights who can channel the Elizabethans with seeming ease as he brought Boudica back to life. But if it's a new play that channels a classic author you're after, you can't beat another of my shows of the year as Mike Bartlett kept the essentials of Chekhov while creating something very much his own in Albion.
Some much-loved TV and film got high-profile stage adaptations; both The Exorcist and The Twilight Zone provided kitschy nostalgic fun; the only difference being that with the latter that was actually intentional, and where The Exorcist mainly recycled familiar setpieces, The Twilight Zone managed to tap into the more serious depths of Rod Serling's famous work as well.
Smaller theatres continued to provide gems when bigger shows disappointed, with The Firm and Trestle well worth catching in Hampstead and Southwark respectively; and on the larger scale the Lyttelton ended the year by reinventing two big films, Lee Hall and Ivo van Hove bringing Bryan Cranston to the UK for a Network that didn't disappoint, followed by Denis Kelly and John Tiffany's polarising Pinocchio, whose sheer dark weirdness worked for me; for a more lo-fi kind of family show The Box of Delights brought back childhood memories and was gleefully theatrical.
And that, reader, is definitely all there is to say about new playwrighting in 2017, there's nobody I've missed out.
PARTIALLY OBSTRUCTED AWARD 2017 FOR OH MY GOD MAN
STEP AWAY FROM THE WORD DOCUMENT FOR FIVE MINUTES,
HAVE A BISCUIT, HAVE A WANK, JUST TAKE A BREAK OF SOME KIND OR
DO WE NEED TO STAGE AN INTERVENTION ABOUT YOUR WORKAHOLISM?
The writer who looks at Stephen King and thinks "meh, you're not that prolific" must have an eye on getting St Martin's Lane renamed after him, with all three of his 2017 premieres either already having played there or due to soon; though none have made it into my personal Top Ten this year, Labour of Love was the one that got the closest.
GETTING THE SHAKES
BABY BABY BABYI said there were two categories that were likely to particularly dominate the Top Ten so let's get straight on to the first one: Shakespeare. After managing three years without seeing a production, Twelfth Night came back with a vengeance in 2017. As chance would have it I was ill for two out of three major productions so didn't end up overwhelmed by Malvoliae, but the one I caught was Simon Godwin's outstanding, fresh National Theatre production. Once again Tamsin Greig was at the heart of the action, this time teaming up again with her old Jumpy mucker Doon Mackichan.
Shakespeare's Roman plays featured heavily this year, with six solid hours of Roman Tragedies in Dutch returning to the Barbican; after many years of hearing how great this epic show was it could have been a disappointment but Ivo van Hove's signature production lived up to the hype. More mixed was the RSC's Roman Season: Certainly, staging two of the four plays in the sequence in togas had its upside.
But in general I found both Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra particularly dull takes. Better were the two modern-dress productions, with a Coriolanus with a lot to recommend it (I didn't love it but then it's Coriolanus, I don't love it.) One Roman play I unashamedly do love was also the undisputed highlight of the season though, Blanche McIntyre finding a tonal balance that's very hard to get right and David Troughton turning one of the least respected Shakespeare leads into one of the greats, making Titus Andronicus his Lear.
Now you may be thinking, "hmmm, a summer season full of grisly Roman Tragedies must have been a pretty hard sell for the RSC, how did they promote it?"
PARTIALLY OBSTRUCTED AWARD 2017
FOR MOST ARTISTICALLY-JUSTIFIED PROMOTIONAL MATERIAL:
Martin Hutson for the RSC's Roman Season
We got solid Othellos from the Swanamaker and ETT, and a farewell to Yukio Ninagawa with a revival of the Macbeth than first made his name in this country. The two most famous tragedies also happen to be among my favourite Shakespeare plays, so I've seen many versions of them and it's hard to impress me. But 2017 most certainly managed it, and it's been tricky deciding what order to place these two productions in (so as usual I'll compromise by awarding different shows at different points in this roundup.) Jonathan Munby's production of King Lear in Chichester was as close to perfect as I've seen the play get, while Robert Icke turning his signature style to the other biggie showed it in a fresh light; and it's quite satisfying to give Best Shakespeare Production to the same play two years in a row, to wildly different versions:
PARTIALLY OBSTRUCTED AWARD 2017 FOR BEST SHAKESPEARE PRODUCTION:
Hamlet at the Almeida and Harold Pinter Theatres
Andrew Scott, for only agreeing to do the West End
transfer if tickets were kept affordable
transfer if tickets were kept affordable
OTHER PLAYWRIGHTS ARE AVAILABLE
BABY BABY BABYmy 2017 started with another Robert Icke reinvention, this time of Schiller's Mary Stuart. A lot of the big event theatre of 2017 also involved revivals of classics - and modern classics. There was a trio of Tennessee Williams plays catching my eye, and not just for shallow reasons - I just really like Tennessee Williams. I mean, sure, there were shallow reasons also, after all two out of three plays - The Glass Menagerie and Sweet Bird of Youth - starred Brian J. Smith.
Feel free to keep coming over here for jobs Brian, we've got a load of UK actors going over to Broadway next year so you can take advantage of that Equity exchange student deal. Actors who are good at the acting and the looking good with their clothes off are always welcome. Speaking of which, the third major Tennessee Williams play didn't star him, but went for a homegrown talent who can do the acting, the taking the clothes off, and went for both pretty full on, Jack O'Connell getting pretty damn nekkid in Benedict Andrews' production that exposed Cat on a Hot Tin Roof as much as it did its stars.
Star casting season was well and truly under way with Daniel Radcliffe in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Stockard Channing in Apologia, Imelda Staunton and Conleth Hill in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Juliet Stevenson in Wings, Lenny Henry in The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, and John Boyega choosing a difficult first professional stage role in Woyzeck and coming out on top. But he wasn't the only memorable element of that production: There were a couple of candidates for this particular nudity-related award, with Jack O'Connell's gentleman's area not deserving the criticism it got in some corners of the internet (honestly, why do people understimate the importance of girth?) and James Nelson-Joyce providing a fairly eye-watering sight in Le Grand Mort but let's face it, this year someone won by, er, a length. I can't really put it better than Weez, who said "I was in the Lilian Baylis Circle and I still flinched."
THE SCHLONG FROM FAR AWAY AWARD 2017:
Ben Batt in Woyzeck
I might have found Arturo Ui a resistible production, but there was better Brecht to come in Southwark's Mother Courage, but most of all in Joe Wright's Life of Galileo: Lizzie Clachan turning the Young Vic into a planetarium and plonking some of the audience - me included - right in the middle of the action made this one of the most powerful versions of this play I've seen, and despite it not being the most comfortable space I could hardly tear myself away from its wonders.
The Young Vic would continue to provide memorable evenings like the ritualistic Suppliant Women, and in a year when Chekhov wasn't quite as ever-present as usual, the Lyric Hammersmith let Lesley Sharp get her teeth into The Seagull. With relatively obscure work like Salomé getting revived Oscar Wilde is hardly absent from the stage but Dominic Dromgoole seemed to think we needed more of him. I would say A Woman of No Importance largely proved him wrong, but it did share, with Love in Idleness, one hell of a redeeming feature:
The fringe proved itself as capable as anyone of doing justice to the Jacobethans, with Justin Audibert and other RSC regulars taking a budget cut and a trip to Southwark for The Cardinal; while in Lazarus' Edward II, Luke Ward-Wilkinson very nearly took his death scene too literally when his "assassins" sent him crashing head-first to the floor. By accident. I think.
PARTIALLY OBSTRUCTED AWARD 2017 FOR
UNNECESSARY COMMITMENT TO METHOD ACTING:
Luke Ward-Wilkinson in Edward II
Which leaves just one major revival (or two, depending on how you look at it.) There were a couple of shows this year I found hard to judge on their own merits because they were just such a big deal. There's one coming up in the musicals section, but although that one might have started as an unlikely project by the time it got here it was a full-fledged Broadway juggernaut. Whereas a British revival of an American play might have had a starry cast, but the fact that a magical-realist gay drama about the height of the AIDS crisis, running at a little under eight hours with a full title that takes almost that long to say, became just as hot a ticket, means it has to be my...
PARTIALLY OBSTRUCTED AWARD 2017 FOR THEATRICAL EVENT OF THE YEAR:
Angels in America, a Gay Fantasia on National Themes
Did I mention it featured quite a lot of Russell Tovey? Almost all of him in fact.
THE CAPTAIN TIGHTPANTS AWARD 2017:
Russell Tovey in Angels in America
FYI, following his 2014 Best Nipples win, Tovey now has two out of three of my not-in-the-least-bit-degrading awards for actors' physical attributes. I'm just saying Russell, if you're reading this* and fancy the hat trick, I'm willing to look favourably on any application for Schlong From Far Away.
BABY BABY BABYyou know what's been missing entirely from 2017? An accidental meme that goes across all theatre. Where's the equivalent of 2013's broken eggs, 2015's sweary titles or 2016's spoon-playing? I mean, "clumsy shoehorning of a Trump reference into everything" is technically just an attempt at topicality so I'm not counting that. There wasn't even a major historical milestone that half of London's theatres announced as their theme for the year, although as 2017 went on one did emerge, as a number of venues marked the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality. Angels in America didn't really fall under this banner - it was more a long-planned project that everyone happened to become available for this year, but elsewhere theatres interpreted the subject in a variety of ways. And yes, if your particular interpretation of celebrating gay relationships involves a buff Welshman in a state of undress, Adam and Eve and Steve had you covered.
The Union did surprisingly well with Romeo and Juliet considering how high-concept its gay reimagining was, while the Old Vic paired up with BBC Four to present Queers Part 1 and Part 2, a revival of Loot was able to be even more obvious about the central characters' relationship than Joe Orton had already made it, and unpredictable playwright Chris Thompson looked at how far gay relationships have come in Of Kith and Kin. True to form, the Finborough gave us a mix of old and new: In the present day, The Busy World is Hushed was notable for its matter-of-fact, plausible gay couple, while back in 1958 Quaint Honour was surprisingly frank and sympathetic about the hypocrisy surrounding gay feelings at the time, and this revival featured a memorable central performance.
PARTIALLY OBSTRUCTED AWARD 2017 FOR BEST NEWCOMER:
Harley Viveash in Quaint Honour
BABY BABY BABYthere's still a couple of categories to go, somehow, so time for a break and an award that has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the review. Wait, did the Evening Standard even give out a "nothing to do with theatre" award in their theatre awards this year? Eh, never mind, I've never let things like "relevance" or "making sense" get in the way of me running a joke into the ground. This year, the thing I want to draw your attention to is THE MOST EUROVISION THING EVER, although this being a year when nothing good prospers, it didn't actually do that well in the Eurovision vote. What more do you need to know about Romania's 2017 entry than the words TRANSYLVANIAN YODELING RAP?
THE RUSSIAN OLIGARCH AWARD 2017 FOR THING THAT HAS NOTHING
TO DO WITH THEATRE OR THIS REVIEW BUT I LIKE IT ANYWAY:
"Yodel It" by Ilinca & Alex Florea
And if the song doesn't do it for you, enjoy the anvil-subtle product placement!
BABY BABY BABY
IF YOU TAPDANCE LIKE THIS
AND IF YOU CLOGDANCE LIKE THAT
PUSH A CAR IN THE PIT AND IT'S ALL COMING BACK TO ME
And while we're in a musical mood, let's do the second category that's dominated 2017. Musicals were very strong this year, although here I'll also be including all kinds of song, dance and general noise. Which brings me neatly onto a show that came in right at the start of the year with an attempt to be the year's oddest, with the clogdancing goat-men of The Trackers of Oxyrhynchus.
It couldn't hang on to that title for long though: I've always thought it would take a lot for me to feel like I "get" opera. Specifically, it turns out, what it would take is opera-singing cannibal puppets.
THE PIPPIN MEMORIAL AWARD FOR ENDEARING WHATTHEFUCKERY:
The Depraved Appetite of Tarrare the Freak at Wilton's Music Hall
Things got a bit more traditional in the spring: While I'd usually hope there was something a bit more to a show than chucking money at it, I can't say the sheer tapdancing spectacle of 42nd Street didn't win me over; and the Open Air Theatre went all-out on dance for this year's big musical, Drew McOnie demanding so much of his On The Town cast they started dropping like flies. Something much more restrained and plaintive in Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill, Audra McDonald finally bringing her Billie Holiday show to London and proving worth the wait. Using Bob Dylan songs, Girl From The North Country couldn't decide if it was a musical or not (it bloody was,) and was a big enough hit that it'll be returning in 2018. I thought despite its constituent parts being great it didn't hang together that well, but there's one thing about it everyone could agree was amazing:
Imelda Staunton had her second star turn of the year in an impressive, dream-like Follies, Young Frankenstein should have left its sexual politics in the 1970s but was in many ways a pleasant surprise, and Hair provided for any audience members jealous that only the actors got to flash their parts, by offering a clothing-optional performance. Big Fish brought Sideshow Bob in to lead a sentimental show that worked for me (a duo of Big Favourites Round These Parts, Jamie Muscato and Matthew Seadon-Young, didn't hurt either.) Which is all very American but it was about time for a new British musical hit: A couple of favourites from the '80s got the musical treatment - I loved The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 ¾ and thought it could have had a further life, but it seemed to get rather unfairly overlooked and forgotten as soon as it was done at the Menier. To round out the year, you couldn't beat Bananaman for the right mix of nostalgia for the adults and gleeful silliness for the kids. A fun foot-tapper though it was, How to Win Against History is a bit too flawed and small-scale to set the world on fire, but I can't think of anything that deserves to stick around for a long time more than the catchy, funny and sharp Everybody's Talking About Jamie.
But America wasn't quite done yet: It's a shame I had a headache when I finally got to see the most hyped show not just of this year but of the last several, so it was hard to love it as instantly as most people seem to, but I've enjoyed listening to the original cast recording since, and there's no doubt Lin-Manuel Miranda's confidence in getting an all-British cast for the transfer has paid off. It's probably just as well the Victoria Palace had such an extensive rebuild over the last couple of years, it's going to need to be in good condition to house Hamilton for quite some time.
Follies, Jamie, Hamilton, there's no shortage of candidates to be best musical of this year. OK, maybe this year I won't call it best musical because there's plenty of others that, technically, were much better musicals. But when you think of musicals from 2017 is it possible that one will come straight to mind for its sheer fun, insanity, much-loved tune and downright not giving a shit what anyone thinks about it, or indeed if it was actually any good? There's been shows I'd quite like to see again but there was also one I knew, by the time the interval came around, that I had to see again and BABY BABY BABY it was this one:
PARTIALLY OBSTRUCTED AWARD 2017 FOR MUSICAL OF THE YEAR:
Bat out of Hell at the London Coliseum
And speaking of Hell...
Like every year, 2017 had its share of shows that just didn't hit the mark for me but, possibly down to my somewhat more selective booking, there isn't quite as big a selection of absolute stinkers fighting for a place in my Bottom Five. I usually find Joe Hill-Gibbins' ideas interesting but had to disagree with his suggestion that there was anything new to a dark Midsummer Night's Dream, I struggled to see why Simon McBurney had staged The Kid Stays in the Picture at all, while David Tennant's return to Wyndhams for Don Juan in Soho was just a bit of a damp squib. As well as being more selective in what I saw in the first place, I was also more willing to leave shows at the interval when they just weren't doing it for me, and maybe Molière needs to be added to the "avoid" list as two of the three shows I took an early break from were connected to the French writer.
THE EARLY BATH AWARD 2017 FOR BEING MARGINALLY
LESS ENTERTAINING THAN WATCHING PAINT DRY:
The Miser AND
Common was part of a summer season of new plays in the Olivier so disastrous that the so-so Saint George and the Dragon came across as the highlight. At least DC Moore's play was one you could escape at the interval: Yaël Farber's Knives in Hens later in the year would confirm the humourless South African as someone else I should avoid, but it was a masterpiece compared to her endless, interval-free attempt to improve on Oscar Wilde, two of the most self-satisfied - with the least justification - hours that I actively tried to sleep through. Sadly I didn't manage it.
THE SELF-ADMINISTERED PROCTOLOGY EXAM AWARD FOR SELF-INDULGENCE:
Salomé (National Theatre)
FRAM OF THE YEAR FOR MOST AGGRESSIVE COMMITMENT
TO CAUSING AUDIENCE TEDIUM:
Salomé (National Theatre)
Some shows come with a great big question mark over why anyone thought they belonged in the West End, and The Mentor was certainly one of them. The late Kevin Elyot's first play Coming Clean and his final play Twilight Song were both staged in the summer and suggested that My Night With Reg might have been a one-off, while in a strong year for the Almeida Against was full of good ideas that just never cohered into anything much. Also having a hugely varied year was Ivo van Hove: The Roman Plays and Network were successful but other adaptations of his favourite films floundered. I didn't mind Obsession as much as some people I know but the After the Rehearsal / Persona double bill made some basic points very slowly, and did it twice, so that no matter how wet everyone got it was very hard to care.
Florian Zeller's schtick was getting a bit old with The Lie, A Day by the Sea proved you can be too heavily influenced by Chekhov, another double bill tried my patience when the Royal Court paired B with Victory Condition, and a lost "classic" proved to have been lost for a reason when the Finborough revived The Passing of the Third Floor Back. Casting comedians in unlikely roles often pays off - last year Mel Giedroyc was impressive in a dramatic role and more recently the surprise casting of Ross Noble in Young Frankenstein proved a canny move. But you've got to match the right comedian to the right role, and while it was obvious how much work Marcus Brigstocke was putting into it, the title role in Barnum requires singing, dancing, acting and tightrope-walking: You'd think the Menier would have checked he could do at least one of those.
PARTIALLY OBSTRUCTED AWARD 2017 FOR
"YOU WERE TERRIBLE BUT BLESS YOU FOR TRYING SO HARD":
Marcus Brigstocke in Barnum
Which leaves me with the job of deciding which of these offenders offended the worst. In keeping with the fact that I managed to avoid more outright stinkers than usual, I'll only do a bottom three this year. On the other hand, where I usually keep shows I left at the interval out of the Shit List because I can't judge the whole thing, this year there was a first act bad enough to merit a placing all by itself.
THE SHIT LIST 2017:
NICK'S BOTTOM 3 SHOWS OF THE YEAR
3 - Common at the National Theatre's Olivier
2 - After the Rehearsal / Persona at the Barbican
I might have had trouble pointing accusing fingers at five shows this year, but the very worst was easy to choose. I've already named it the dullest and most self-indulgent show of the year, but add an often inept staging (important dialogue appeared on surtitles that were often blocked by the actors) and you've got something I can make no excuses for.
STINKER OF THE YEAR 2017:
Salomé at the National Theatre's Olivier
Picking out ten great shows turned out easier; my shortlist ended up being only eleven shows, and in the end I didn't let Angels in America into the Top Ten on the basis that my favourite shows were ones I'd love to see again: In this case, eight hours was enough. From what's left, as I said from the start, this year's list is absolutely dominated by Shakespeare and musicals, with only two new plays and one revival making the cut.
THE HIT LIST 2017:
NICK'S TOP 10 SHOWS OF THE YEAR
10 - Titus Andronicus at the RSC's Royal Shakespeare Theatre
9 - Bat Out of Hell at the London Coliseum
8 - Hamilton at the Victoria Palace
7 - Roman Tragedies at the Barbican
6 - Everybody's Talking About Jamie at the Apollo
5 - Life of Galileo at the Young Vic
4 - Albion at the Almeida
3 - Snow in Midsummer at the RSC's Swan
2 - Hamlet at the Almeida and Harold Pinter Theatre
So for the first time since 2010, a Shakespeare production stands out enough for me to call it my show of the year. This had all the signs of possibly being a vanity project, certainly a star vehicle as Ian McKellen returned to a role he played ten years ago, hoping to make up for a production he was never happy with. Well he certainly did that, Jonathan Munby surrounding him with a ridiculously good cast, and McKellen never letting this become all about him. This is one of my favourite Shakespeare plays and I've seen a lot of productions of it, but this was the best one yet.
SHOW OF THE YEAR 2017:
King Lear at the Minerva, Chichester
With two shows in the top five the Almeida, almost always a contender for the position, is my THEATRE OF THE YEAR 2017.
Well, no rest for the wicked, and in a couple of days' time I'll be starting it all over again with 2018's batch (although technically starting with a couple of 2017 shows I had to reschedule when I got ill.) Thanks for slogging your way through this roundup and this year with me. OK, you can go now.
Photo credit: Ikin Yum, The Other Richard, Jack Sain, Marc Brenner, Mihaela Bodlovic, John Snelling, Johan Persson, Mike McGregor, Helen Maybanks, Catherine Ashmore, Lidia Crisafulli, Samuel Taylor, Barney Witts, Alastair Muir, Matthew Murphy, Specular, Manuel Harlan, Jan Versweyveld, Tristram Kenton.
*he isn't. He's shagging a porn star and/or taking photos of his dog for Instagram.