Quote Of The Day

"Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake - Chessmaster Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower (1887-1956)"

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Death of England: Delroy... @NationalTheatre Angry, funny, moving, meta - @Mikejbal has power and passion to spare. A great play for today.

Last Saturday night Stuart and I ventured back to the National Theatre on London's glitzy South Bank - for the first time in goodness knows how long - to see punkish state-of-the-nation address Death of England: Delroy.

Death of England: Delroy is a new one-person play by Clint Dyer and Roy Williams written as a response to their own acclaimed monologue Death of England (that starred Rafe Spall) we saw earlier in the year.

Death of England: Delroy is equally fearless - exploding identity, race and class in Britain. Set in London, 2020. His white-British partner needs him. Urgently. But Delroy gets arrested on his way to the hospital.

Filled with anger and grief, he recalls the moments and relationships that gave him hope before his life was irrevocably changed.

Michael Balogun plays Delroy with power and passion as he explores how a Black working class man searches for truth and confronts his relationship with Great Britain.

The whole piece is utterly gripping. But it brought me to tears when Delroy recalled his white-British best friend's words (first uttered in the previous play):

"You might act like us, you might sound like us, but you will never be one of us, and deep down you know it."

Angry, cruel, funny, moving, meta - it is a solo tour-de-force. Truly a play for today.

Running Time: 90 minutes (no interval). If you can, go see.

Monday, October 26, 2020

The Titanic and Two Icebergs...

The ice in my (pink) gin and tonic is meant to be “the Titanic and two icebergs” I think they might want to rethink their marketing.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Beverley Said It Best....

When you are having a really shit time at work. And your boyfriend leaves you a note as he knows how to cheer you up and make you laugh. That. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

“What brings you to these parts?”...

Watching a Kenneth Williams doc last night. On location the interviewer asked, “What brings you to these parts?” 
“I’ve got a lousy agent”

Friday, October 16, 2020

Mind the gap. Dinner is served...

Tasting menu. 6 courses. Mexican / South American menu. Amazing. Food was fab, the service great, and I would absolutely recommend it. https://supperclub.tube @supperclubtube

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Talking Heads #4 : Nights in the Garden of Spain and Miss Fozzard Finds Her Feet @ Bridge Theatre...

Last Saturday afternoon Stuart and I went to see the final brace of Alan Bennett's Talking Heads monologues put on at the Bridge Theatre in London's glitzy London Bridge Quarter.

And a clever double bill this was. Both monologues featured fetishism in the suburbs; the first as perverse cruelty, and the second as ridiculous pleasure.

Nights in the Garden of Spain sees Tamsin Greig play a woman married to a controlling man. She is crippled by politeness though and suppresses everything but gently questioning. However, when she is suddenly confronted by darkness next door – dark hoods, dangling handcuffs, cigarette stubbing voyeurs, and a gunning down – she sees her own life in a new darker light. Her smile falls on her face like a shadow.

Our hearts break as Greig delivers the perfect bittersweet line, "I'm pinning my hopes on his prostate."

Marianne Elliott direction is great here; the sinister face of silence and the desperation of the long-married woman are perfectly displayed.

The piece finishes on a more upbeat tone however. The surprising and startling discovery of affection is genuinely tender. And funny.

Things become funnier still with the second monologue of the night. Maxine Peake plays it for laughs in Miss Fozzard Finds Her Feet.

A tremendous comic caper – with touches of Julie Walters's wry delivery - Peake's Miss Fozzard seems at first flattered at the attention her feet are getting and then rather knowing. For Miss Fozzard has a fan. A chiropodist with an easy eye and even easier wallet.

Sarah Frankcom direction sees pairs of shoes placed around the stage – stilettoes, flats, and some more comfy items. All ready for Miss F to slip on. "It gives me immense pleasure to have your feet in my hands", says our chiropodist.

At the start, she is the client and pays him. But then the roles are reversed, as is the payment, and the power dynamic. Before long she can walk all over him. Literally.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Talking Heads #3 : Playing Sandwiches and Lady of Letters @ Bridge Theatre...

Last Saturday Stuart and I went to see the third brace of Alan Bennett's Talking Heads monologues put on at the Bridge Theatre in London's glitzy London Bridge Quarter. 

They were both stories of crimes followed by their punishments.

Playing Sandwiches sees Lucian Msamati deliver a fine performance as unassuming park attendant Wilfred, a man who befriends "kiddies" and hints of a paedophilic past.

Directed by Jeremy Herrin, it is an unsettling monologue that gradually ratchets up the tension as it goes along. Initially Wilfred seems like a nice enough guy telling us stories of his day to day life but it is with a sense of dread we realise he has a dark and hidden past. Two truly shocking moments come in quick succession; Wilfred not only abuses a seven-year-old girl, but he displaces the responsibility for his actions on to the child – "She knew what she was doing." The audience gasped.

Later he speaks of his behaviour: "It’s the one bit of your life that feels right and it’s that bit that’s wrong." We fight to feel any compassion.

The second story is the more famous one to many that sees Imelda Staunton take on the mighty Lady of Letters that is Irene. Irene is a funny old thing. Always complaining. Shooting off letters to her local council, her MP and the Queen, while her anger takes increasingly savage turns. 

While writing letters these days might seem a bit anachronistic, she might just as easily be today's keyboard warrior on Twitter. 

Directed by Jonathan Kent, Lady of Letters has a stronger script than Sandwiches that can be enjoyed for its sheer comedy value alongside the shocks and jolts.

Taking on Patricia Routledge’s original imperious 1988 performance is a quite some challenge but Staunton manages to deliver a more playful delivery and despite frequent hearing, we still laugh at the put-downs and one-liners.

For both of our criminals the inevitable prison life seems to deliver an escape. Liberation for Irene ("the first taste of freedom I’ve had for years"”) and an escape from himself for Wilfred ("a place with nobody there at all").

I must say that both plays do come across much better live than their equivalent TV versions earlier in the summer.

Friday, October 09, 2020

"Sorry. Can I stop you right there? You caught me at a really bad time. I hope you understand. I'm too tense to pretend I like you."

Door bell rings. Run to answer it. Smiling face. 

"Hello, we are asking you, our neighbours, to sign a local petition we are getting up to oppose..." 

"Sorry. Can I stop you right there? You caught me at a really bad time. I hope you understand. I'm too tense to pretend I like you." 

If they were looking for action... they came to the wrong place. Taking no prisons today!

Thursday, October 08, 2020

RIP Jumbo Jet...

Watching the last iconic jumbo jet BA 747 take off on telly this morning made me feel quite sad. Such fond memories of the 747. When I first walked onto one I thought “I’ve made it!” And then looked around for Joan Collins!

Friday, October 02, 2020

Charlotte and Jos (hard at work) creating their new home....

Great to see Charlotte, Jos, and Manning’s new house - soon to be new home - in Meldreth. Big rooms, big garden, lots to do, but it will soon be a lovely.