Playing Under the Piano: From Downton to Darkest Peru

Other Pr. Nov. 2022. 320p. ISBN 9781635423426. $28.99. TV
In a perfect blend of dry wit, sparkling prose, and a dash of self-deprecating humor, Bonneville’s memoir proves he’s got more fun tales to tell besides his experiences playing Downton Abbey’s Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham, on the small and big screen, and Henry Brown in two Paddington movies. Bonneville offers childhood memories and surveys his work in theatre, film, and television. He shares anecdotes and advice to aspiring actors and drops more than a few names in the process. His theatre career started with the Britain’s National Youth Theatre and continued with the National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company, where he played Laertes to Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet. He has also performed to acclaim at the Chichester Festival Theatre. The book includes delightful tales of filming Notting Hill with Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant (including learning about film continuity, while filming scenes of eating), his being in awe when he worked with Maggie Smith, and Shirley MacLaine, who regales the Downton Abbey cast with tales of her numerous affairs.
VERDICT Bonneville’s delightful memoir will be enjoyed by Downton Abbey fans, Anglophiles, and aspiring actors.
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