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“There’s no Business like Show Business” the London Theatre Scene, June and July 2018

The London Theatre Scene in June and July seemed to be pleasantly busy. The norm for most shows is a 3 month run, so the scene is constantly changing. Those shows that have a fairly good success rate usually transfer to New York and play on or off Broadway with a similar run

“Strictly Ballroom”

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For all you TV. Junkies who are glued to the screen to watch “Strictly Come Dancing”, this is the show for you.

It’s fun. it’s colorful, it’s got music you know, and dance to. And it’s got tons of energy and they never stop dancing! Cha! cha! cha!

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“Everybody’s Talking About Jamie”

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This show is bound to go to AMERICA. They will love it in NEW YORK, in fact all over the USA.

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I had a seat in the 2nd Row of the stalls, and talking to a lady by my side and one in the front row, they told me ‘They had seen the Show 5 times!’.  First of all when they said ‘5 times’ I thought they were off their heads. Then I thought, ‘it must be good!’, and it was, amazing! Jamie’s ambition is to be a Drag Queen and the plot goes from there. Oh! They will so love it in New York.

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If you get a chance go see it. You don’t have to go 5 times, just once is enough! But it is great, and a cast that is magical!

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John McCrea and Josie Walker

I have to mention in particular from the fabulous cast, Josie Walker who plays Jamie’s Mother. Singing with a voice to die for, the Heart Rendering song “He’s My Boy”! Which apart from receiving a standing ovation, brought the audience to tears.

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Shaftesbury Avenue Street Scene

“Imperium”

I saw “Imperium” from the book by Robert Harris that was based on the Cicero Novels, at the Gielgud Theatre (I’m old fashioned and I still call it ‘The Globe Theatre’). It is destined to be going to New York, it is so good. The play is in 2 parts, played alternate evenings. Or on Matinee days Wednesday’s and Saturday’s. Part 1 Matinee, and Part 2 Evening. So if you do both shows in a day it’s quite a marathon, and you finish up knackered!

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Anyway I decided to do it in 2 consecutive evenings.

This was an important History Lesson for me, because when I was at Parmiters Emergency Secondary Grammar School in London during World War ll and only allowed to go to school in the mornings, because of the Bombing and the Buzz Bombs, Doodle Bugs, etc., etc. etc. and spending most of that time sitting under the desk (alone) I missed out completely on Cicero. So by seeing the play I learnt a lot!

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Richard McCabe as Cicero

History was never my good subject and at Geography I was even worse!!!

I used to think that Wales was past Scotland! Latin was a no, no! Even though I learnt it for 3 yrs.

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But I could have told you every show that was on in the West End of London at the time, and also the stars the full cast and matinee days! But I digress. The cast of “Imperium” are superb and Cicero played by Richard McCabe is brilliant.

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 The last time I saw him was on Broadway with Helen Mirren in ”The Audience”, where he played Harold Wilson, and I was also at the Tony’s when he won and was awarded the ‘Tony’ for best supporting actor in a play, for his performance in said play. When “Imperium” goes to Broadway he will most probably pick up another Tony. He is that good. But if “Red” is also playing on Broadway, it’s going to be a toss-up between him and Alfred Molina.

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Old mates, sharing a joke. Helen Mirren and Richard McCabe.

Maybe they hadn’t seen each other since the “Audence” in New York and had a lot of news to share, or that she had maybe seen Orlando Bloom’s arse in “Killer Joe”?

“Killer Joe”

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The last time I was at the Trafalgar Studios was for “The Maids” which was a brilliant piece of Theatre. The Direction by Jamie Lloyd was fantastic and the 2 Stars Uzo Aduba and Zawe Ashton, gave performances of perfection that I will never forget. The Trafalgar Studios is a very versatile theatre, that can produce shows with or without a proscenium arch, in the round, or double sided as they did in the “Maids”. This time it was an open stage in the shape of a U, and this time I was in A Row seat 1 at the top of the U, directly onto the floor of the Stage. So really you  could say I was in it. The set reminded me of “Tobacco Road” which I did with Ruth Dunning in 1949. How long ago that was! That was also about White Trash!  This play was set in a White Trash Trailer Park with a very good plot, as a matter of fact, it’s a very sexy comedy thriller.

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Orlando Bloom and Sophie Cookson

The cast to get on and off stage had to walk past me and out through the Exit in the Auditorium. I give you all these details because of what came later.

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 Orlando Bloom Starkers in the White Trash Trailer Park in “Killer Joe”!

The Theatre was full I wasn’t sure whether the audience had come to see Orlando Bloom in the Play or starkers in his Birthday Suit? Because it was so well publicized.  Every time one of the casts ran off in a blackout they would accidently knock into me, not their fault they just couldn’t see, and after all I was sitting in the bloody play. It was just a pity that when Orlando Bloom ran off in the Blackout he didn’t knock into me,  or with a bit of luck, fall into my lap! Oh! By the way, his performance was excellent, as were the rest of the cast. All that Trailer Trash!!! Quite an exciting play in more ways than one.

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By the way, look at Neve Mcintosh’s eye level?

I’m sure, from where I was sitting she happened to touch the Crown Jewels as she walked past him! All in good fun.  Also Neve Mcintosh appears completely starkers, pubes and all at the very beginning of the play. Took me back to the good old “Casino de Paris” days. Very educational. That’s when she opens the front door to Orlando Bloom. No wonder she eyed him as well when he was starkers!

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  “Tartuffe”

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I remember during World War ll at the Comedy Theatre on each monthly Sunday. The French Actors, who were in the French Resistance and had escaped to England, gave performances in French of Moliere’s Plays. I was seduced by the rhythm and rhyme of the wonderful Moliere language. They the actors were all I think from the Comedie Francaise, and also were in the French Resistance. Their official office was somewhere in London with General De Gaulle.

I was still at school and learning French (under the desk) but I wasn’t too good at it, but this was Theatre, in whatever language, with beautiful costumes, and in a language that sounded so civilized and eloquent, that I fell in love with it, even though it was in French!  The French language really, is such a truly beautiful language!  I would treasure these moments, when I would bunk into the Gallery without paying, once the show had started, and that was how I was introduced to Moliere. Let me tell you a little about Moliere.

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Tartuffe at the Comedie Francaise

 Many years later when I was a little more fluent in French, I saw Tartuffe at the Comedie Francaise in Paris, and loved it. The Comedie Francaise is a Theatre with a Company that has a tradition that is far too arduous for me to go into now, but the rhythm of Moliere’s dialogue is a thing of beauty.                                                             Google it! It explains everything.

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The Seduction  scene “Tartuffe” 

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Molière, whose original name Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, (baptized January 15, 1622, Paris, France—died February 17, 1673, Paris), French actor and playwright, the greatest of all writers of French comedy.

Tartuffe, or The Impostor, or The Hypocrite, first performed in 1664, is one of the most famous theatrical comedies by Molière. The characters of Tartuffe, Elmire, and Orgon are considered among the greatest classical theatre roles.

A Short Analysis of Moliere’s Tartuffe:

Tartuffe is one of Molière’s masterpieces. The play was first performed as a three-act comedy in May 1664, and was immediately denounced for supposedly ‘attacking’ religion through its portrayal of the pious titular hypocrite, Tartuffe. The religious zealots who objected to the play eventually persuaded King Louis XIV (who had actually enjoyed the play) to have it banned. Sadly, this was not the last time religious people would take exception to comedy (and comedy that isn’t even poking fun at religion at all, but rather foolish devotion to a charlatan and impostor). Because of this early misinterpretation of Molière’s play, it is worth analysing Tartuffe more closely, to determine precisely what the play is saying about piety, hypocrisy, and gullibility.

The Comédie-Française or Théâtre-Français is one of the few State Theatres in France. It is the only State Theatre to have its own company of Actors. The company’s primary venue is the Salle Richelieu. The theatre is part of the Palais-Royal complex at 2 rue de Richelieu on the Place André-Malraux in the 1st arrondissement of Paris.

The theatre has also been known as the Théâtre de la République and La maison de Molière (English: House of Molière). It inherited the latter name from the troupe of the best-known playwright associated with the Comédie-Française, Molière. He was considered the patron of French actors. Unfortunately he died seven years before “La maison de Molière” was rechristened the “Comédie-Française.” and the company continued to be known popularly by the former name long after the official change of name.

The plot of Tartuffe is easy enough to summarise. We observe a man, Orgon, and his mother. Orgon has allowed himself to be duped by a fraud, Tartuffe, who hypocritically pretends to be pious and holier-than-thou, but is really a scoundrel who wishes to take advantage of the gullible Orgon. Orgon is prepared to marry his own daughter, Mariane, to Tartuffe, even though Mariane is in love with (and betrothed to) someone already. Although Orgon’s family try to make him see sense, he refuses to acknowledge that he has fallen under the spell of the roguish Tartuffe. His own son, Damis, even points out to Orgon that Tartuffe is trying to seduce Orgon’s own wife, Elmire.  But Orgon will hear nothing against the sainted Tartuffe. It is only when Tartuffe finally turns up on stage (not until Act 3) and Orgon, concealed under the table, observes Tartuffe’s attempted seduction of Elmire with his own eyes that he realises he’s been had by a rogue. He throws Tartuffe out of his house; Tartuffe tries to get his revenge by compiling a list of trumped-up charges against Orgon, in the hopes that Orgon will lose his house and Tartuffe will be given it instead. The plan almost works, but thankfully the King shows up, and, being a better judge of character than Orgon, recognises Tartuffe for the hypocritical cad that he is and has him arrested. Orgon’s property is restored. Everything ends happily, as you’d expect from a comedy.

All this information comes from Wikipedia and or Google, these 2 Websites are amazing! But I do not do the Social Media, that is a no, no for me!  If only I had Wikipedia and Google at my finger-tips when I was at school.  I wouldn’t have been such an idiot!  Of course I would have needed a computer, or maybe a laptop! Yes, that would have been better! I could have got that under the desk! Fat chance thou!  Still I digress, on with the story.

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Imagine my excitement when I saw that a Modern Version of “Tartuffe” adapted by Christopher Hampton and Directed by Gerald Garutti for the ‘First Ever West End Bilingual Theatre Company’, to be presented at one of the most beautiful of London’s West End Theatre’s, ‘The Theatre Royal, Haymarket’. The Theatre is a dream! As soon as I read this, I booked a ticket (Dress Circle, of course!)

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Oh, the excitement, I was going to see Moliere again! ‘Bilingual, well, that’s French and English! Interesting, very interesting!’ I thought. Well I couldn’t have been more wrong. I finished up by the end of the show not knowing whether I was on my arse or my elbow! I was so confused. In fact confusion reigned and I had a splitting headache!

The cast were brilliant! They were completely bi-lingual! Their English impeccable! None of the z’is or z’at or z’ere!. Their French perfection! Well, it should be, after all they were French! The set and costumes were stunning, and oh! So, so, so modern!  Too modern!

Above the stage on the proscenium arch, was a long black box, which was the Subtitle Machine. So when a character spoke in French, the machine translated it into English, and the same English vice versa into French. When it was French it was Moliere, sort of! And when it was English it was Christopher Hampton who adapted it, and turned it into a complete fuck up! You didn’t know where to look, the Stage, the Box, the Cast, the Box, the Talking, the Box. I got so sick of the Bloody Poxy Box!  BUT IT WASN’T MOLIERE’S “TARTUFFE”!!!  Where were the heaving bosoms, where were the flouncy costumes? Moliere should never be taken out of his period, that’s what he wrote his comedies about. When they billed it as a comedy, that’s a laugh. I sat there po- faced the whole evening. These are my thoughts only, but I have just looked up some reviews for Tartuffe and I wasn’t wrong!

London Box Office.
Chief Critic:
Phil Willmott wrote:

“Tedious, pretentious and best avoided.”

And one from Michael Billington from the Guardian Newspaper says it all.

Michael Billington the Guardian Theatre Critic, who’s seen more shows than I have had hot dinners!  Wrote:

The Guardian

Tartuffe review – “This bilingual production squanders Molière’s wit and wisdom.”

2 / 5 stars 2 out of 5 stars.

Theatre Royal Haymarket, London.         Michael Billington

There, I’ve said it, and they’ve said it, we’ve all said it, and all said and done, subject closed! ‘On with the Show’!

 

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Mel Brooks and his London Stage Version of “Young Frankenstein”.

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I decided to see “Young Frankenstein” before it closed because I was enamored with the film, which I saw four times, and I think that Mel Brooks is a genius, a brilliant comic, a great writer, and a very clever film director. All that in just one small package which spells ‘MEL BROOKS’!

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Mel Brooks

Well I should have saved my money. The best thing about the Show was the Curtain.

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Nimax Theatres Ltd., I believe, is the company that owns the Garrick Theatre.

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 The Garrick Theatre

Instead of acquiring another theatre, as they seem to do like like a baby octopus, they should spend some of their shekels on cleaning up and refurbishing the Garrick Theatre. It is a disgrace! When you sit in the dress circle you expect the seats to be comfortable. Not at the Garrick! The padding has practically worn down to the wood, and those that are in a fairly good condition are even worse, because you can finish up with a spring hallway up your arse!

Last year when I saw Kenneth Branagh and Rob Brydon in “The Painkiller” at the Garrick, I sat in the dress circle, maybe it could have been the same seat, and finished up with arse ache!  That was a ‘Real Painkiller’ and how appropriate! What a pun that is!

Well, things haven’t improved!

The usherettes stand at the doorway chewing gum and selling programmes, and they do not move. They’re busy talking! and talking! and talking! I think it was about the boys make-up!  They are not interested in showing you to your seat. I was told ‘Row D, Centre!’ by he or she or it. I didn’t know what it was!  All I do know is that usherettes are supposed to usher, move their arses, and take you to your seat. Not stand in the entrance talking and chewing and looking very bored. No wonder the show is coming off!  Most probably they are in the same quandary as the audience because they also don’t know where the rows are. I entered the theatre and couldn’t see a bloody thing! Remember I’m 88, no spring chicken! After stumbling around I found Row D. The aisles and quite a few seats are not numbered. Just a few have faded numbers. So you finish up counting from a number you can see to find your seat.

Nimax Theatres Ltd., do the bloody theatre up!!!

‘This is a fine start to my evening’s enjoyment’, I thought.

The Show itself was not good or really that funny. It was more like a No.1 touring version of the original West End production. In fact, I’ve seen better in the provinces. All I could think was that when Mel Brooks saw it, he quickly collected his money and caught the next plane back to the U.S.A. Very wise!

MEL BROOKS CAST PHOTO 2018-10-02_15-38-56They were the best of the bunch, and even they seemed to be tired!

 I was so disappointed with the show that I left at the Interval.

I don’t blame the cast or the production. If the seats would have been comfortable and the usherettes would have done their job, maybe I would have seen the whole show from a different prospective

But I have to blame the two usherettes and Nimax Theatres Ltd., who started it all, and got me really pissed off, and put me into such a bad mood!!!  What a disaster!!!

I haven’t talked much about the show, because truthfully  there was nothing really  much of importance to talk about.

42nd STREET DRURY LANE.

NOW “42nd. Street” at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. WOW!

That’s, what you call a Show!

I went from the ridiculous to the sublime! The show and the cast are fantastic! You just cannot fault it.

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With a cast of over 50, it is a gem and should run for years.

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I couldn’t believe that this was the same theatre that I played in when I was ‘ZEE and CO.” with Cannon and Ball when we made the T.V. Special so many, many, many years ago.

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Lulu was excellent, you couldn’t fault her.

I left the Theatre a very, very, very happy bunny!  That is what Show Business is all about!  Great Theatre! Wonderful memories of when I was working there. and seeing a wonderfully spectacular show.

 

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Weimar Cabaret at the Barbican

 

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Meow Meow deserves 5 Stars!  She’s beautiful, such talent and a great singer.

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Satu Vanska deserves 5 Stars! She’s also beautiful, a great violinist, musical director and she also sings! What more could you ask for?

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The Aurora Orchestra deserves 5 Stars! Their sound is unbelievable and a pleasure to hear.

Now, Barry Humphries! As Dame Edna and Sir Les Patterson a brilliant star, and he has made a fortune out of being both characters. The memory of those two characters is impregnated into our minds. See Barry Humphries and you see either Dame Edna or Sir Les Patterson.

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I understand the Barbican starring Barry Humphries in Weimar Cabaret as the ‘Speaker and Voice’ because his name would sell tickets, and it is his show, but, truthfully, anyone could have done it. Every time he put his hands in his trouser pockets (which he did frequently), I expected him to adjust his ‘appendage’ a la Sir Les. At least that would have got a laugh, which we certainly didn’t get from him as a straight compere. If he hadn’t have been there it really wouldn’t have mattered. What he had to say could have been printed in the programme. Barry Humphries is a brilliant artist, but he should stick to what he, and only he, can do so brilliantly, Dame Edna and Sir Les Patterson. Playing it straight as a compere is definitely a No-No!

BARRY HUMPHRIES WEIMAR CABARET

But apart from that, everything about the show was Great!, and a pleasure to watch.

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Alfred Molina, a Shining Star of the First Magnitude in “Red”.

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Alfred Molina as Mark Rothko

Arriving at the Wynhams Theatre in London slightly early to see Alfred Molina in “Red”, I went into the theatre bar and sat there waiting for them to open the Dress Circle, half hour before the performance was due to  commence.                       

I was one of the first to take my seat in the centre of row E. I always try to sit in the Dress Circle because of the overall visual effect one gets of the play or musical that one is seeing at the time. You can see the piece as a whole. The curtain was already up and the set was an artist’s studio. In fact, it was the studio of Mark Rothko, the subject of the play “Red”. So I took a photo.

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Look very closely at the man sitting in a chair which is near the front of the stage with his hand on his head at the right of the picture.

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A close-up of the man sitting in the chair.

After a while looking at the set I saw that there was a man with his back to the audience sitting in a chair to the right of the front of the stage, not moving just staring at the red canvas in front of him. ‘My God!’ It was Alfred Molina! ‘No it couldn’t possibly be!’, I thought. How could he sit there for half an hour before the play even started? Most probably it was his understudy or a stage double who looked like him and when the play was about to start he would just get up and go behind the canvas and switch with the Star.

But I was wrong! It was Alfred Molina! Studying his painting, he sat there for half an hour and the play hadn’t even started! There’s dedication for you, there’s acting! He was becoming Mark Rothko before your eyes.

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Alfred Molina & Alfred Enoch

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Alfred Enoch seeing the painting for the first time.

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Molina and Enoch start to paint the canvas.                                  

I can only describe the brilliant painting of the canvas by Alfred Molina and Alfred Enoch as a well-choreographed ballet. It was just amazing the way they worked together and around one another, at the same time. Splashing paint onto the canvas, until they reached the right color that Rothko was happy with. It was absolute perfection!

When the play started and Alfred Enoch came on stage, who, by the way, also gave a brilliant performance, I could hear every single word they said! ‘Good God!’, I thought.  I wasn’t going deaf! I was now just watching and listening to fabulous acting. They could project. You could hear every word!!!                                                      Doesn’t say much for some of the other actors I had seen recently!

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Whatever I had paid for my ticket, it was worth double. This was acting the way it should be. It was a pleasure and an honor to be able to see a master of his craft. Alfred Molina, I take my hat off to you! (If I were to wear a hat!)  You deserve every accolade that is bestowed upon you. Long may you reign! Along with Helen Mirren!

By the way, don’t just take my word for it, here are a few notices:

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The Financial Times.

 “Red”, Wyndham’s Theatre, London — Brilliantly performed

Alfred Molina is outstanding as Mark Rothko in this magnificently staged drama about the artist.

 

Daily Mail.

This is a just a pre-production review by Baz Bamigboye of the “Daily Mail” Show Business Column that has to be included.

Alfred the Great!

Alfred Molina’s painting the town “Red” all over again: Actor to return to London for ‘unfinished business’ as award-winning play opens in West End

By Baz Bamigboye for the Daily Mail

Alfred Molina is seeing “Red”, again. The British actor will be returning to London on what he and director Michael Grandage call ‘unfinished business’ — to see John Logan’s award-winning play “Red” open in the West End.

Grandage said many folks never had a chance to catch it in London eight years ago when, starring Molina and Eddie Redmayne, it had a limited run at the Donmar Warehouse.

The play tells the story of painter Mark Rothko and Ken, a young man who turns up one morning to help mix paints, stretch the canvases and help around the studio.

‘We’ve never done a West End run. It’s like a little part of the journey that’s always felt incomplete,’ said Molina who, as Rothko, took “Red” to Broadway and Los Angeles. ‘There’s something special about going back to a role you originated.’

Grandage, who directed the Donmar show, will once again be at the helm (and the Michael Grandage Company producing) when it runs at Wyndham’s Theatre from May 4 until July 28. 

Molina recalled how Grandage and his team infused the Donmar with the smell of turpentine and pigment. ‘As audiences walked in, they were in a different environment,’ he said.

He remembered his co-star Redmayne meeting a woman on the Tube who showed him her handbag . . . with a red paint mark on it. ‘It must have come off when we were sloshing all the paint about on stage. He apologized and offered to clean it and she said: “No — it’s my memory of a great night in the theatre!”’  (She said it all in that one sentence. ‘A great night in the Theatre’)

Grandage said many folks never had a chance to catch it in London eight years ago when, starring Molina and Eddie Redmayne, it had just a limited run at the Donmar Warehouse.

Grandage approached him to tell him the play would, finally, be getting a West End season. ‘Eddie said: “Wouldn’t it be lovely to do?! But I’m getting closer to Rothko (in age) now.”’                                                    Molina, 64, has carved out a thriving TV and film career in the U.S., but said he often dreams of the West End. He’s happy to be coming back to London, but admitted to feeling ‘a little scared’ at the prospect of treading the boards again.

‘I’ve always loved the theatre, but I’ve made my living working in television and film, and my forays into theatre are infrequent. I sometimes worry that the theatrical establishment is looking rather askance. Like: “What’s this old soldier trying to prove?”’

Molina was speaking from Los Angeles, where he was packing up the home he shared for 25 years with his wife, Jill Gascoine — the author and actress who made her name in such popular television dramas as The Onedin Line and The Gentle Touch.

Molina’s moving to another property, but his beloved wife is in a home. ‘She’s in an extremely advanced stage of Alzheimer’s. We’ve all kind of basically said our goodbyes,’ he added, softly.

‘The prognosis is always the same. She’s in a home here in LA and being very well looked after. She doesn’t recognise anyone or speak any more. She’s pretty much trapped in this very sad illness.’

Let alone is Alfred Molina a Great Actor, he also has a Great Heart.

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I’ve talked about “Zee & Co.” so often. Well, here it is!

I’ve talked about “Zee & Co.” so often. Well, here’s a chance for those who never saw my Act ( and there must be millions of the General Public, and those who are too young) and also those kind and wonderful people who follow my Blog. To see it!

Remember these T.V. performances were filmed in 1980-81, before the Age of Electronics and all those gimmicks that can now be added to Illusions. This is just plain Magic, and also you have the opportunity of seeing the lovely Angie, (who I talk about all the time), in action.

I’ve also added Cannon and Ball into this video, because at the time they were at the peak of their career, and it was a great privilege for me to be included in their T.V. Special that we performed live from the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London. We then went on to do a season with  them at the Apollo Theatre, Coventry. They are well worth watching.  Enjoy! ! !

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 1, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Treat yourself to a room on the Amtrak Train. Something I’ve always promised myself, for years. Well, don’t bother!!!

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Grand Union Railway Station

I Took the Amtrak Train from New York to Fort Lauderdale, Florida from the Grand Union Railway Station, New York as a gift to myself. This time I booked a room. That’s a laugh! You can forget it! Big mistake!!! Fortunately, I listened to the Amtrak Assistant at the Office who insisted that I send at least 2 sets of luggage on in advance. Because, as she said “There is not a lot of room in the room.” How right she was, and thank God I did. Otherwise I’d have been up shit creek without a paddle!

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The Room without 1 Suitcase and 1 Holdall.

The room is supposed to be for 2 people. I can tell you that if a married couple did the trip and shared the room, they would be starting divorce proceedings the moment they arrived at their destination! To use the toilet come shower you would have to climb over or knock out the other person. Once inside this combined toilet come shower, you would just have to pray that you don’t suffer from claustrophobia or have diarrhea! What do people do who are a little on the large size? I really dread to think! The toilet seat is so small (only for little bums) that you sit there with both cheeks clamped together. Everything you have to do in that room has to be at your own risk, and I’m sure there is a notice there to that effect.

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THIS IS THE TOILET COME SHOWER WITH THE DOOR OPEN

In the main room (that’s another laugh), there is a lighted button which says call for Attendant. There are only two rooms in total on the train. But does the Attendant come? Oh! No! He’s busy sitting in the Restaurant Car talking to the rest of the other Attendants. So you need to go and find him should you require anything.

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Come time to turn down the bed, by the time the double bed is made up there is a 6inch gap between the wash-hand basin and the bed.

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Have you ever tried to squeeze through a 6inch gap? By the time you are through, you need the kiss of life! I’m sure that you would be better off and have more room in a prison cell!

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So all those wonderful moments that I dreamed about as a child when I would go to the cinema with Rose. Those great moments in the old B Movies when the Gangsters would shoot it out and Romance also took place, all in on an Amtrak Train in a private Room. All those moment couldn’t have happened on this train or this room!

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All my hopes of living through those wonderful moments were dashed to the ground. Here I was on the luxurious Silver Amtrak Train in a cubby hole! The rooms on the Amtrak Train in the movies didn’t exist. They must have had some Dramatic License when they made the Films and just stretched the Rooms!  In the 60’s Ray and I went from Miami to New York on Amtrak, and at that time I booked couchettes thinking it was a room. It wasn’t it was bunk beds ( I didn’t know any better) But it finished up like a scene from “Some Like it Hot”, except we didn’t have Marylyn Monroe or Tony Curtis or Jack Lemmon to accompany us and liven things up! 

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Jack Lemmon and Marilyn Monroe in “Some Like It Hot”

That trip was awful! So, this time I made sure and booked a room, and what happens I’ve done it again!

The room was definitely made for very, very, very little people   Even Janet Krankie would have found it a tight squeeze, and that was without Ian. Well maybe she could have always sat on his knee as Wee Jimmy and they could have done their brilliant Vent Act.

JANET KRANKIE VENT

Janet and Ian as Wee Jimmy doing their Vent Act.

But that wouldn’t be possible with the Political Correctness that they have these days.  There! It just all goes to show you! Another dream shattered!!!

If I would have known what the Train Journey would have been like. I would have caught the Train with “Anastasia”!

 
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Posted by on July 31, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

The Two PeopleWho Hold A Very Special Place In My Heart

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The Statue of Liberty, New York

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Ray and Angie

It was such a joy for me to return again to New York, just to see my beloved Angie once again. The happiness of seeing her once more, gives me such a warm and glad feeling in my heart. She has never changed, just the same sweet girl who I first met many years ago through George Kovari the Magician. When I think about it, it was George who literally forced me to engage her to become my principle assistant in “Zee & Co.”, and I thank God that he nagged and badgered me, and cajoled me, and insisted that I take her. I am indebted to him forever, otherwise a part of my heart would be empty and I would have lost out completely!

(This is a note that Angie gave me)

ANGIE'S ENVELOPE

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 Ray and Angie in our flat in Barons Keep    

ANGIES LETTER NO.2.

My first night there we ate Dinner again at the delightful ‘Trattoria del Arte’, with Randy her husband who took time out to see me from his busy work schedule. The food was excellent as always, plenty of Pino Grigio Wine which happens to be my favorite. It was there that she showed me the photo of herself and Ray, which she promised to have copied for me, before I left New York.

The noise in the Restaurant of the New Yorkers enjoying their food and talking happily was something I had forgotton about. It was so loud but everybody was enjoying themselves and having a good time, and that really is what life is all about. I had just forgotten that I was back in New York.

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New York at Night

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The Lights of Broadway

Angie took me to see 2 shows whilst I was in New York.

“Boys in the Band” and “Anastasia”

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The “Boys in the Band” I was so disappointed in, for one thing apart from the 3 principles.

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I couldn’t hear a lot of what the rest of the cast were saying. Of course! At my age I could be going deaf! It wasn’t a bit like I remembered it, and to be truthful I didn’t really enjoy it. I was told later by my very good friend Judson Barteaux when we met again for lunch, when I was in Fort Lauderdale, that part of the script had been changed “Political Correctness” why is it that a part of a play or even more seriously part of the World’s History and Heritage is just being changed and lost forever? This is a question that bothers me constantly. We are losing our very existence. Why, do people want to change everything? When it’s not even for the better!

Anyway to round off the evening we went to Sardi’s for dinner, this happens to be one of my favorite Restaurants in New York. Very Theatrical!

SARDI'S NEW YORK FOR BLOG

The following night we saw “Anastasia”.

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Fabulous!

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Now, that was another thing altogether!

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The Broadhurst Theatre

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Christy Altomare who plays Anastasia is outstanding.

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The Court of Tsar Nicholas 11 of Russia.

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Anastasia’s arrival in Paris

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The Train Station in Moscow, where they take the Train to Paris and the Train Journey. I’ve never seen anything like this on any Stage before. Can you imagine a train ride from Russia to France? Unbelievable! ! !

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The Train twists and turns through the Russian Countryside and all the various countries they pass by, and the various weather conditions, and the foliage changing with the climate. There are Maps showing their route as they go on their way through to Paris.

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The Train Journey through the Russian country side.

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The final arrival of the Train through a Forest of Red Maple Trees in full blossom leading, parting, and opening into Paris and the Eiffel Tower. Has to be one of the most beautiful scenes, to be seen on any Stage.

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The whole Show is quite amazing! It has to be one of the best shows I’ve ever seen on Broadway. You just cannot fault it.  It is perfection! When it comes to London see it and enjoy it. It should be No.1 on your bucket list.  

After seeing such a wonderful Show which was so amazing, Angie and I went to Joe Allen’s, another one of my favorites. Great food at this Restaurant. Theatrical also! Can’t help it the Theatre’s in my blood!

JOE ALLEN NEW YORK STREET

Then a last lunch at Barney’s with Angie and Randy. The time passed so fast. I would have loved to have spent more time with her. But time seems to go so quickly these days, and I’ve been around for such a long, long, long time!

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Barneys New York

NB. (I have to explain that Barney’s is a sort of cross between Fortnum & Mason and Harrods all rolled into one. Quite Ritzy!)

That is where Angie gave me the the framed photo of her and Ray in Barons Keep, and the following morning I caught the Amtrak Train to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Which is another story. You wouldn’t believe it!!!    To be continued:-

 

 

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2018 in Uncategorized