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Uncategorized July 18, 2010

DOG DAYS AND TALES FROM THE BRITISH RAJ

Ambassador Bean Through Bean, our family terrier, I have informally met one of the district’s more colourful and intriguing characters, somebody I have passed in the street many times over the years I have lived here and whom I have wondered about in vain. He’s betrayed never a flicker when I’ve looked into his eyes.

Uncategorized July 12, 2010

ENGLISH LORDS AND RUSSIAN REVOLUTIONARIES

Last Sunday I attended the Midsomer Murders farewell garden party for John Nettles near Great Missenden. It was like a bumper edition of the show – lots of smart and pretty straw hats, though no suspicious looks. John gave a short speech in which he acknowledged his OBE, but said it stood for ‘Other Buggers’

Uncategorized July 4, 2010

BILL NAUGHTON – A CENTENARY BLOG

Bill Naughton (1910-1992) Photo by Ida Kar 12 June marked the centenary of the birth of playwright Bill Naughton. It was he that in 1963 provided me with my first West End part, the younger brother in All in Good Time, which transferred from Bernard Miles’s Mermaid Theatre to the Phoenix. I had to convince

Uncategorized July 2, 2010

REEL LIFE: KRAPP’S LAST TAPE

Nothing I have written, or can write now, seems adequate or even necessary by way of introduction to the intense, sparse poetry of this little masterpiece. It was an RSC production that played Stratford’s Other Place and the Pit at the Barbican and was included in the New York (BAM) and Washington season. Subsequently it

Uncategorized June 27, 2010

TOMORROW TO FRESH WOODS AND PASTURES NEW

In the garden under the sunshade on another ‘perfect’ summer Sunday morning. I am wearing black — not in mourning; a white shirt would reflect on the laptop screen. But there may be sadness today because … that’s it — a mere five weeks including previews and The Fantasticks has closed. We had a torrid

Uncategorized June 20, 2010

WIMSEY REDUX

I don’t think I could have got through this last week were it not for CoQ-10. British doctors tell you – have told me – that I was not suffering depletion of energy as a result of taking statins to lower cholesterol, and they have religiously insisted that I must take them. But there is

Uncategorized June 13, 2010

IN THE LAP OF THE GODS

It can be no secret that, on the whole, the London critics have not taken to The Fantasticks. The Daily Mail was particularly ungracious, not to say offensive: what worker in the most mundane job would get away with confessing to falling asleep, but the Mail’s man boasts of his inability to stay awake almost

Uncategorized June 8, 2010

A MOMENT BEFORE THE MATINEE

Tuesday morning: I am determined to keep faith with my so-called weekly posting three days late, though I must leave in time to get to the physical warm-up for an odd matinée very soon. We have our Press Night tomorrow and so our Wednesday matinée is today if you follow. Some critics crept in last

Uncategorized May 31, 2010

LIGHTNESS OF BEING

There has been an unexpected coda to the Picasso owl episode which you may remember from last week’s blog. It was played out this Saturday night in my dressing room after The Fantasticks. As I opened a card from my old Actors’ Company colleague Sheila Reid, I was faced with this remarkable real-life version of

Uncategorized May 23, 2010

THE LONG ARM OF COINCIDENCE FROM OCTOBER 2008 TO MAY 2010

London, Saturday, 25th October 2008 I was abroad, filming my part in Pope Joan, the legend of the woman who lived in disguise and became the Supreme Pontiff in the ninth century. Last Saturday I woke at the Park Hotel in the small Rhineland town of Euskirchen, which I had christened ‘Munch Binding’,  Euskirchen meaning ‘the