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(Photo: Jeremy Whelehan/Abramorama)

Kevin Spacey was a star attraction this week at the Tribeca Film Festival when he helped to launch Now: In the Wings on a World Stage, a fly-on-the-wall documentary of a world tour made by the Old Vic theatre company in 2012.

Spacey, the Old Vic’s artistic director, appears in the documentary in the title role of Richard III. The stage production was directed by Sam Mendes.

The camera went behind-the-scenes during performances and also when the British and American cast was relaxing.

The film’s director, Jeremy Whelehan, managed to capture moments of unguarded intimacy. There were no restrictions placed on what he could shoot.

What emerges is a valentine to a theater troupe on an international tour—something which is, to some extent, becoming a vanishing phenomenon.

But for all the elegant camerawork and interviews, you don’t always get the sense that you really know the performers that well after watching the film. But what you do get is strong confirmation that talent, commitment and discipline can bring about wonders on stage—and that the same piece of live theater can electrify audiences in different ways in different parts of the world.

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By Tom Brook