James McAvoy slams theatre reviewer for calling accents of Scottish actors 'whining'

Scottish actor James McAvoy has hit back in response to the theatre review
Scottish actor James McAvoy has hit back in response to the theatre review
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A theatre reviewer has been branded "pathetic" after describing the accents of Scottish actors as "whining".

Critic Quentin Letts made the comment while writing about the play Peter Gynt at London's National Theatre, in which Glasgow-born James McArdle stars.

The reviewer said "the fruity purr" of Oliver Ford Davies was "a welcome calm ... from the whining Scottish accents".

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Scottish actor James McAvoy, who is set to star in the BBC's adaptation of His Dark Materials, slammed Letts for his "derogatory" comments when the review was first published on 14 July.

"Quentin, I would love to have a conversation with you," McAvoy posted on social media.

"I'll be doing a play soon in the West End, at the end of the year.

"Maybe we could have a post-show discussion about why you think it's OK to label the sound of an entire nation in such a derogatory fashion?

"Where the person with an English accent gets referred to by his name as an individual with fruity superlatives, whereas the people who are whining just get referred to as Scottish. Not as individuals, not as actors, just an entire nation."

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McArdle, best known for theatre roles in Chariots of Fire and Macbeth and the TV series Love & Marriage, also hit back, saying he didn't want to give Letts credit as a "real reviewer".

"To go for our accents is something else," McArdle told STV.

"That critic is infamous for saying things like that and I think it's a bit pathetic and I don't want to give him credit as a real reviewer to be honest."

McArdle added: "This whining Scottish accent is currently playing one of the biggest parts ever written in one of the most famous theatres in the world. I don't really have time for Quentin Letts to be perfectly honest with you."

McArdle has also made film appearances in Mary Queen of Scots and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

His latest play is a modernised version of the Ibsen classic Peer Gynt.

Ibsen's original 19th-century work is set in Norway, but the updated version showcases McArdle's hero as a 21st-century Scottish soldier.

Letts wrote in the Sunday Times Culture column: "After so much frenzied movement and whizz-bang theatrics, the fruity purr of veteran thesp Oliver Ford Davies as the button moulder brings a welcome calm to proceedings and relief at last from the whining Scottish accents."