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L.A.'s Wordtheatre in London pairs Nick Hornby and Alfred Molina

November 19, 2009 |  7:43 am


Los Angeles-based Wordtheatre lines up actors to read short stories, a pairing that shows both in a flattering light. Perhaps that's why they get such glittering lineups -- it's a chance for actors to dig into  excellent writing.

On Nov. 29, Wordtheater takes the stage in London. Headlining the lineup is Alfred Molina, pictured above as Dr. Octopus in "Spider Man 2." That's him at his most striking, perhaps -- but to me he'll always be Kenneth Halliwell, the supportive/tortured partner of playwright Joe Orton in the biopic "Prick Up Your Ears." Although he's got the unavoidable Hollywood dreck on his resume (an appearance on "Miami Vice," for example), Molina has done more than his share of literary pictures, including "Manifesto," based on a Zola novel, "The Trial," which was Kafka via Harold Pinter, "Anna Karenina" and more. And oh, yes, "The Da Vinci Code." At this event, he'll be literary and a bit sassy: He's reading Nick Hornby's story "Nipple Jesus." 

Also scheduled to perform are Ian Hart ("Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone") reading "Man in the Water" by Rose Tremain; Sally Hawkins ("Happy-Go-Lucky") reading "The Wave" by Julie Myerson; Lucy Brown ("Primeval") reading "Up at the Villa" by Helen Simpson, and John Schwab ("The Complete Works of William Shakespeare") reading "Stories" by John Edgar Wideman.

Proceeds benefit Fairbridge, a charity for inner-city youth in the U.K. The show is at the private Shoreditch House in London, so Soho House members get a discount. But anyone with $33 -- and airfare to England -- can attend.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Alfred Molina as Dr. Octopus in "Spider Man 2." Credit: Melissa Mosely / Columbia Pictures