Protected: number 13. enter Mrs Prudhomme

16 May

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

ONCE UPON A MATTRESS

10 Mar

MUSIC BY Mary Rodgers, Lyrics by Marshall Rarer, Book by Jay Thompson, Dean Fuller and Marshall Barer.

Upstairs at the Gatehouse

This is a sort of pantomime developed from the Hans Anderson Story The Princess and the. This is definitely a play for laughter and music. Impossible to find a political message within, which is quite a delight. It is pure entertainment. Whether it is any good is the way it is presented and performed. I have seen it done without a laugh and yet I believe, although it did not have a long run, it was amusing at the Aldwych in 1960. I actually saw it then but the funniest scene in it at that time as not able to be presented on the small stage of the Gatehouse. It was a pile of thick mattresses – twenty I think, and she had to use a ladder to climb on top of them. To say more would give away secrets.
The songs are delightful, bt Mary Rodgers, daughter of the Richard Rodgers of history. The Prince is dying to get married, but his selfish mother doesn’t want to give him up to any other hussy.
The show is directed and produced by Mark Giesser, who seems to specialise in vintage musicals and who directed and produced “Strike Up the Band” at this theatre last year.


The plot involves a dysfunctional Royal Family in a mythical kingdom in 1428. The Prince dauntless is dying to get married, but his selfish mother doesn’t want to give him to any other hussy. She loves her son and her libidinous husband Sextimus is under a curse that causes him to be mute, and all he does is chase the maidens in the palace.
Sir Harry, one of the Queen’s Knights, is having a baby with Lady Larken, but the rule is that no one can marry until Dauntless has found his Princess.

Sadly it is Queen Aggravain who rules the Roost in the Palace and she devises impossible tests the young Princesses have to pass befor e they can be considered a suitable match for her beloved son.

When it first hit the Broadway Stage in 1958 it won a couple of Tonys, one for the play and one for Carol Burnett who played Winnifred. It has since been played often in New York – it is a wonderfuol vehicle for a funny lady.

In the Gatehouse production it is Beth Burrows who wears the comedy hat as Princess Winnifred – also known as Fred. and Theo Toksvig-Stewart is also funny who plays Prince Dauntless. Their relationship is passionate and amusing. But the juveniles who do most of the serious singing, including the very beautiful “In a Little While” is sung by Sir Harry who has an unusually good vocal talent and Rachchel Louise MIller as his lady Larken who has a high soprano – unusual these days.

Julia Falkner plays The Wicked Queen Aggravain, and Sextimus, the libidinous but dumb King is mimed excellently by Steven Watts. The Minstrel who tells the story is Matthew James Willi, the Jester (who has the sweetest number “Very Soft Shoes” is Rachel Lea-Gray and John Sears performs some amazing magic tricks as The Wizard. (Every Palace should have one. ) Courtney Hammond is one of the failed Princesses and the Nightingale of ~Samarkand!!.

There is some jolly choreography by Chris Whittaker and Jessica Douglas is Musical Director and Orchestrator.

It is important to see this with an open mind and go with the intention of having a good time. 

not quite jerusalem

9 Mar

By Paul Kember
At the Finborough

By Paul Kember At the Finborough This award-winning play was initially produced in 1980 the year the Finborough Theatre opened. Four young English people in their twenties arrive in an Israeli Kibbutz in the hope of having a holiday, to enjoy the sunshine and escape their monotonous life in Seventies England. They imagine a land filled with milk and honey and c Dave played by Joe McArdle, is from Yorkshire and he expects a world of sunbathing, cheap booze, and most of all, sex. He is not prepared to enjoy the company of the “Jew boys = they all look alike” and has contempt for anyone who isn’t English. His friend Pete (Ronnie Yorke) who is a minor pilferer, feels the same. The only other girl is Carrie, (Miranda Braun) a small English girl who lives in a fantasy world. She has to learn how to leave her phoney past life behind.. The person most responsible for the welfare of the workers is Ami played by Russell Bentley who expertly delivers several long speeches describing the British character to the British boys who had never heard it before..The play shows up the English character to its worst advantage- how they can misunderstand so much about the country that has allowed them to become a part of it? Much of the play is obviously autobiographical, the author did indeed spend time with similar people in his time in a kibbutz, It is splendidly directed by Peter Kavanagh who has come up with an excellent cast of actors whose work cannot be faulted

onstant sunshine.But they arrive soaking wet in the middle of a rainstorm.
They are expecting good food and service from the Israelis food but nothing is what they expect and they grouse continually and loudly about their bad luck. The Kibbutz is not what they expected. It meant early rising and hard physical labour and indifferent cuisine. The first act of this play is a long stream of misfortune with tiresome young people who complain all the time and clash with the Israelis.
At the interval I seriously thought of leaving but decided to hang on.
It was certainly worthwhile as the play begins to reveal the souls of the various characters . The appalling young people have to learn a lot about themselves. Mike, a university drop out is played by Ryan Whittle. He has a relationship with a stunning but aggressive Israeli girl, Gila who is taking a break from her army duties to lead the workforce. She hates all Englishmen and resents the fact that her English languages is always being correy gives a delightful comedy and moving performance.

onstant sunshine.But they arrive soaking wet in the middle of a rainstorm. They are expecting good food and service from the Israelis food but nothing is what they expect and they grouse continually and loudly about their bad luck. The Kibbutz is not what they expected. It meant early rising and hard physical labour and indifferent cuisine. The first act of this play is a long stream of misfortune with tiresome young people who complain all the time and clash with the Israelis. At the interval I seriously thought of leaving but decided to hang on. It was certainly worthwhile as the play begins to reveal the souls of the various characters . The appalling young people have to learn a lot about themselves. Mike, a university drop out is played by Ryan Whittle. He has a relationship with a stunning but aggressive Israeli girl, Gila who is taking a break from her army duties to lead the workforce. She hates all Englishmen and resents the fact that her English languages is always being corrected. Ailsa Joy gives a delightful comedy and moving performance.. By Paul Kember At the Finborough This award-winning play was initially produced in 1980 the year the Finborough Theatre opened. Four young English people in their twenties arrive in an Israeli Kibbutz in the hope of having a holiday, to enjoy the sunshine and escape their monotonous life in Seventies England. They imagine a land filled with milk and honey and c

onstant sunshine.But they arrive soaking wet in the middle of a rainstorm.
They are expecting good food and service from the Israelis food but nothing is what they expect and they grouse continually and loudly about their bad luck. The Kibbutz is not what they expected. It meant early rising and hard physical labour and indifferent cuisine. The first act of this play is a long stream of misfortune with tiresome young people who complain all the time and clash with the Israelis.
At the interval I seriously thought of leaving but decided to hang on.
It was certainly worthwhile as the play begins to reveal the souls of the various characters . The appalling young people have to learn a lot about themselves. Mike, a university drop out is played by Ryan Whittle. He has a relationship with a stunning but aggressive Israeli girl, Gila who is taking a break from her army duties to lead the workforce. She hates all Englishmen and resents the fact that her English languages is always being correy gives a delightful comedy and moving performance.

Dave played by Joe McArdle, is from Yorkshire and he expects a world of sunbathing, cheap booze, and most of all, sex. He is not prepared to enjoy the company of the “Jew boys = they all look alike” and has contempt for anyone who isn’t English. His friend Pete (Ronnie Yorke) who is a minor pilferer, feels the same. The only other girl is Carrie, (Miranda Braun) a small English girl who lives in a fantasy world. She has to learn how to leave her phoney past life behind.. The person most responsible for the welfare of the workers is Ami played by Russell Bentley who expertly delivers several long speeches describing the British character to the British boys who had never heard it before..The play shows up the English character to its worst advantage- how they can misunderstand so much about the country that has allowed them to become a part of it? Much of the play is obviously autobiographical, the author did indeed spend time with similar people in his time in a kibbutz, It is splendidly directed by Peter Kavanagh who has come up with an excellent cast of actors whose work cannot be faulted

b

sonnet 30

26 Feb

WHEN TO THE SESSIONS OF SWEET SILENT THOUGHT

I SUMMON UP REMEMBRANCE OF THINGS PAST

I SIGH THE LACK OF MANY A THIHG I SOUGHT

AND WITH OLD WOES NEW WAIL MY DEAR TIMES WASTE

THEN CAN I DROWN AN EYE UNUSED TO FLOW

FOR PRECIOUS FRIENDS HID IN DEATH’S DATELESS NIGHT

AND WEEP AFRESH LOVE’S LONG SINCE CANCELLED WOE

AND MOURN THE EXPENSE OF MANY A VANISHED SIGHT

THEN CAN I GRIEVE AT GRIEVANCES FOREGONE

AND HEAVILY FROM TIME TO TIME TELL O’ER

THE SAN ACCOUNT OF FOR BEMAOANED MOAN

WHICH I NEW PAY AS IF NOT PAID BEFORE

BUT IF THE WHILE I THINK OF THEE DEAR FRIEND

ALL LOSSES ARE RESTORED AND SORROWS END

SKY IN THE PIE

21 Feb

.

Sky in the Pie

A circus collection of the poems of Roger McGough.

At Barnes OSO centre

A most enjoyable afternoon at the OSO Barnes provided by the enchanting childhood poems of Roger McGough and the actors in the Circus Company The Feathers of Daedalus.

It is so good to see young people able to do so many acrobatic feats, the while pronouncing McGough’s crazy poetry. The play consists of items from one day in the life of a young girl. The poems follow her from waking up in the morning, through the first day at school to going to bed at night.; All illustrated by verses and balletic movement from the six young people. The first day of school is an exciting time, and the day is illustrated by the young men i company throwing the girl around, lifting her up to the ceiling, while she expresses her excitement in verse.

We follow this with a demonstration of hurly-burly in the playground.

It is terrific entertainment both for the children who were there and the many adults. The audience was invited to join in, answer questions and occasionally join in the singing.

One of the boys in glasses was supposed to be the most successful boy in the school. He got As in all his work. Well he would, he was the son of the most important person in the school. The Headmaster – a man

with an enormously large head. He is a part puppet and he is called Mr Head.

In addition, there are pigs flying through the air, sky tumbling out of a pie, a scarecrow and a boy on a unicycle playing a bugle.

One of the most fascinating little scene is one regarding whether verses should rhyme or not.

The audience were asked to judge- hands up those who want the poems to rhyme, Hands up those who don’t want them to rhyme and hands up those who couldn’t care less..

The material is mostly funny, except for one story about Raymond the puppet boy, bullied by all the other children. Raymond left school that day and never returned. This was truly sad.

Once there were animals in circuses. They had no choice. Now actors are learning to swing on trapezes, swing around in giant hoops, somersault across the stage. Balance each other on their heads or shoulders. They obviously enjoy every minute

It says it is for children of 4 plus. There was a tiny one in front of us having a wonderful time and answering back to the actors. An ideal patron of the theatre.

I was sorry there was no programme as I would have liked to know who the performers were. They were a talented bunch of people.

The play is on until 22nd February at 2 pm.

FANNY A NEW MUSIC HALL

20 Feb

FANNY – A NEW MUSIC HALL 

At the Vaults Festival 

Fanny is an ambitious music hall performer who knows the danger of independence and tells the sad story not set on stage but in the streets of London. 

In Victorian Times, it was dangerous for a woman to be out on their own. Without a male escort. It meant that they could be arrested and examined by doctors in the most humiliating way possible to see if they had syphilis. If they were infected, they were locked away in insanitary ‘Hotels’ in order not to infect the men who were duty bound to keep healthy by having sexual intercourse.  If they should get syphilis of course it was not their fault but the fault of the female.  This rule was actually devised by Queen Victoria herself who believed men should have as much sex as possible and produce children to help her run her Empire. 

The poor heroine of Fanny’s story is Elsie, who fell in love with a sailor – and the most poignant scene in Carolyn Scott-Jeffs story is when Elsie, who was waiting for Harold, her sailor lover, to arrive, (he was always late) she was arrested by the police. Harold arrived and when asked if he knew her, he said “I’ve never seen this girl in my life” 

 Fanny, is a music hall hopeful. She is ambitious to be a big star, but is aware of the dangers of independence and tells us this story interspaced with music hall songs that in some way illustrate the story. We are of course invited to join in the chorus and we have song sheets, probably hardly needed by most of the audience. “All the Nice girls love a sailor”, “There was I waiting at the Church” etc. She has an amusing piano player called Arthur and played by Tom Noyes. who is also responsible for putting out the chapters of the story written on cards in the calligraphic style of silent movies.  

Fanny herself is the dazzling Lizzie Offord, probably one of the most powerful, charismatic and talented performers I have ever seen. She has a great voice which can be loud and blowsy one minute and sweet and heartbreaking the next, creating comedy and tragedy in equal measure.   Her version of ‘Boy in the Gallery’ is gentle and touching. It is a song about Fanny herself. She doesn’t ask for the audience to join in that one. 

The director of this version of Elsie’s story is Tim Ford who definitely has an empathetic relationship with Fanny and her creator. The show was originally put together by Ray Rackham at the London Theatre Workshops along with the author and the original musical director.  A play organised by a committee that actually works.  It is good to see that music hall style love and concern for the audience is the current trend in musical theatre.  

Fanny is only on at the Vaults Festival for a short run and tonight will be the final chance to see it. However, I am certain that we haven’t seen the last of Fanny and Ms Offord. It is worth looking out for. 

TOSCA AND LA BOHEME

12 Feb

Adam Spreadbury Maher, David Eaton and the Kings Head company are famous for innovation, and this is an astonishing transformation of La Boheme. The writers have given us two famous operas with adapted music and lyrics rewritten in English for a 2020 audience.
First of all, we have beautiful soprano Honey Rounhani as a twentieth-century Tosca set in New York in 1949. The Sinister Gangster leader Scarpia tries to blackmail Tosca into sleeping with him by threatening her lover, Cavaradossi, with a watery death. The moustachioed smoothy, Michael Georgiou, gives us a feeling of terror from his very first entrance.
Yes, it is roughly the same story. It is good to hear those soaring voices – and to see an audience that is so happy to be part of the show. It has a trendy music hall feel about it – and the audience in this one are well involved. I was half expecting for them to join in the familiar chorus. The powerful soaring voices and the amount of comedy in the script help to give the audience a happy experience. Roberto Barbaro as Cavaradossi has a cheeky personality which makes his imminent demise even more tragic.

The big surprise comes in La Boheme. Set in Peckham, the apartment of Rod and Marcus a couple of bohemian artists. They live the life of the twenty-first century complete with mobile phones and Uber.
When Marcus (Hugo Herman-Wilson) goes to the pub, Rod waits alone for a visitor from Grindr. The knock at the door is not from a poor freezing girl but a charming young man. His real name is Lucas, but, of course, he sings ‘They call me Mimi’ or words to that effect. I am sure that many tenors have longed to do that particular aria and Philip Lee sings it exquisitely. Rod, (Roger Peterson), is excited by him, and they are instantly in love. It is such a good idea to show a real romance between two young men without making it camp or laden with off-colour gags.
They go off to the pub where Fiona Finsbury as Melissa is tormenting Marco -her ex-husband.
She provides not only the comedy but a female voice, which I find I miss a little during the longish scenes between the men.
The Trafalgar Studio is the ideal small theatre for the kind of intimate opera devised by this company. This up to date version of the story is highly successful, and I expect it will attract a multitude of customers to the West End. I have seen many of the English Libretto productions at the Kings Head, and they work brilliantly, bringing some of the most beautiful music ever written, back into our rap ridden lives.

Please note. These are the names of the singers playing on the first night of the run. They will change their roles as the season progresses.

BLITZ

11 Feb

Lionel Bart’s Blitz is the latest in Phil Wilmott’s Essential Classics season at the Union Theatre.
It celebrates the 75 years since VE Day and it begins in the Underground station at Petticoat Lane during an air raid.

It is good to remind people of the war at this moment. Many young people don’t seem to believe it ever existed. We have to tell people of the devastation war can bring.
Jessica Martin leads the way and is magnificent as the middle aged battleaxe fighting a constant war against a protestant neighbour. She rules the roost most of the time but suffers from the bombing and also the behaviour of her son Harry and her beautiful daughter Carol. Martin’s most impressive moment is hersolo number when in desperation, she calls upon her dead husband, Jack for help . This is a number that shows off the variety and heartbreaking quality of her voice.
There are some terric numbers and highspots In this production. “Down the Lane” a great song about Petticoat Lane “First you lose your watch and chain, Then you buy it back again,” Typical Bart sly humour.
The show stopper “Who’s this Geezer ‘itler?” The essence of British defiance had to have an encore as some of us wanted to sing along. Memories of “Dad’s army” and “Who do you think you’re kidding Mr Hitler”
It was good to see Corinna Marlowe as the Grandma Esther a valuable edition to the mainly youthful cast. Michael Martin gets a lot if fun out of Mr Locke the warring neighbour. Unfortunate for the feuding couple that their children were so much involved with each other!.
The two villains who are responsible for Harry’s undoing are like a couple of panto “brokers men” and reminiscent of the rascals in “Kiss me Kate”
The girls are all superb dancers and showed off Daniel Maguire’s excellent choreography in “Leave it to the Ladies”
As usual at the Union there were lots of young people in the company but so many that I dare not mention names unless I get them wrong. But all are talented and add energy to the production.
Reuben Speed has designed a kind of miracle set that moves around seamlessly from one venue to another. As in Underground platform to Petticoat Lane Market. The ensemble company help out with moving the furniture.
Rosa Lennox, the musical director with her four piece band keeps the sound of the music well under control, and they work sympathetically with the actors.
I was sorry to see Jessica Martin in the same brown coat through out the whole evening. She even wore it for the wedding scene. It must have been hot and heavy to work in. As the characters were all working in Petticoat Lane there would surely be a change of gear on offer. (Just saying)

Found much if it very moving – lots of real tears between the laughs. It was a dangerous, sometimes funny, but horrible time. Don’t let it happen again.

confidential. Janine rehearses

9 Feb

The rehearsal began in its usual way, but Marianne realised that something very unusual was happening. She suddenly found herself enjoying it as she never had before, and there was a kind of lift to the performances of the other actors, even though it was only a rehearsal. There had been no complaints about Laura as a performer. But this girl brought something extra. It was a thing Marianne had not dreamed of, and it filled her with a kind of alarm.
Suddenly the play was coming together in a way she never suspected could happen. They worked through until lunchtime. Janine had taken the trouble to be word perfect. Marianne had taken time to go through the blocking with her and she had practised assiduously lmost ready to go ahead without any further rehearsal. It was a perfect run-through. The rehearsal began in its usual way, bu Marianne realised that something very unusual was happening. She suddenly found herself enjoying it as she never had before, and there was a kind of lift to the performances of the other actors, even though it was only a rehearsal. There had been no complaints about Laura as a performer. But this girl brought something extra. It was a thing Marianne had not dreamed of and it filled her with a kind of alarm.
Suddenly the play was coming together in a way she never suspected could happen. They worked through until lunchtime. Janine had taken the trouble to be dead line perfect and Marianne had gone through the blocking with her, so she also knew all the moves. The play was almost ready to go ahead without any further rehearsal. It was a perfect run-through. Marianne dismissed the company, who now had to go and rest before the evening performance.
Jason grabbed Marianne by the arm.
“Want a drink?” he asked.
“Only if accompanied by food,” she replied.
“Could be arranged.” he said.
They curled themselves into Jason’s car. It was a long low job, built for speed rather than comfort. As it zoomed along, Jason asked her.
“Well?”
“Well what?” she said, knowing exactly what he meant.
“Your little gamble is about to pay off.”
“Don’t speak too soon, darling. Wait until her opening night. We’ve all met people who only do rehearsals. She could fall apart once the rag goes up.”
“NO, not this Cookie. I admit I was wrong about her, but she’s won over the rest of the company I can tell. She’s behaving like an angel.”
Marianne crossed her fingers.
“Can we not discuss it?” She said,” Let us wait and see.”
“OK” said Jason and they drove on in silence for a while.
“How’s Charlie?” he asked
“He’s All right, I think. Why?”
“I get the feeling there is something the matter.”
Marianne was silent. She didn’t know whether to speak the thoughts that were hurtling around in her head.
“You know. I thought Charles quite fancied me.”
“He still does, surely.”
“He doesn’t show it any more. Since we had the fight over Janine, he’s kept himself very much to himself”
“Mm, I see. You think he was stringing you along? So you’d save the play for him?”
That was something that had never occurred to her.
“Oh no, surely not. That would make me feel horrible.”
“Oh hell! I didn’t mean to upset you. I don’t believe that. I just thought you might.”
This was obviously not a subject for discussion at the moment. Marianne changed the way the conversation was going.
“I still don’t know where he found the play, have you any idea?”
“Everybody’s wondering that. There’s been no sign of the author. You had an amazingly freehand with it.”
“Until now. Charlie insisted that Janine should play the part.”
” Oh I see, that worries you. You didn’t want her?”
“No, but I think he may be right.”
“That is certainly not something to be worried about. The strumpet is a marvel.”
“Anyway, there wouldn’t be an author if it was written in the 1800s as Charlie said it was. He said it was an old lady called Peverell Peake.”
“Isn’t that the name of a hotel?”
The car drew up outside one of their favourite pubs by the river. They got out of the car and went inside. Jason busied himself getting drinks and food organised. Marianne looked for a place to sit. They were lucky, and she managed to get her favourite table overlooking the river. It was good to sit beside the enormous window which gave the impression of almost being On the river. She liked to think they were on a boat floating along, watching the Thames drift by.
Jason returned with beer and sandwiches.
“Congratulations on getting the table,” he said as he placed everything down.
“You know what I think?” he said as he sat down opposite her.
“About the play? I’m sure we both thinnk the same thing. Shall we say it together?”
“OK. One two three –
“Charlie wrote it himself!”
Marianne frowned
“Oh it’s not possible!”
“Why not?”
“White bread.”
“What?”
“The sandwich, it’s on white bread.”
“Brown bread is just white bread dyed brown.”
“Not here, Jason, They do Wholemeal.”
Jason sighed
“Di you want me to change it?”
“You know I prefer wholemeal.”
“I’ll change it.”
“Too late. I’ve bitten into it.”
“So why isn’t it possible?”
“Darling, whoever heard of an author, who sat in at every rehearsal and watched his play being torn apart, rewritten, cut, slashed to ribbons and never said anything about it?”
“Never,” said Jason taking a swig of his beer “has Charles ever told you what he thinks about authors?”
“Certainly, he thinks that having written a play, their job is done and it is up to the director and the cast to make it all work. That’s fine as a rule, Actors cannot help changing the play, making a character their own and authors sometimes don’t recognise their play at the end of it. But this, Jason, this was major surgery after all.”
“We had an example of it this very morning.. It’s a different play with Janine in it.”
“Mm, that’s true.”
They ate and drank reflectively for a while. Then Marianne spoke.
“It’s going to be pretty strange working with Laura again this evening. I don’t envy you.”
“Don’t worry about me, love, It all adds to the fun. As for Charles. He might have just given it up into your hands even if he was the author.”
“I took the most astonishing liberties.”
“It may be just what he wanted. Suppose he wrote something that he knew wasn’t very good but felt it had something. You are famous for pulling rotten plays out of the mire. That’s why you never get a decent want to do. You’ve turned lots of rubbish into respectable pieces. Maybe that is what he required for his little brainchild.”
“OK, I’ll think about it. But not now. I want to get away from the Sea Captain for an hour or two. \may we do that?”
“Yes and I’ll change the sandwich for you.”
“Oh no#2 she cried, looking at her plate. “I’ve Marianne dismissed the company, who now had to go and rest before the evening performance.
Jason grabbed Marianne by the arm.
“Want a drink?” he asked.
“Only if accompanied by food,” she replied.
“Could be arranged,” he said.
They curled themselves into Jason’s car. It was a long low job, built for speed rather than comfort. As it zoomed along, Jason asked her.
“Well?”
“Well what?” she said, knowing exactly what he meant.
“Your little gamble is about to pay off.”
“Don’t speak too soon, darling. Wait until her opening night. We’ve all met people who only do rehearsals. She could fall apart once the rag goes up.”
“No, not this Cookie. I admit I was wrong about her, but she’s won over the rest of the company I can tell. She’s behaving like an angel.”
Marianne crossed her fingers.
“Can we not discuss it?” She said,” Let us wait and see.”
“OK,” said Jason and they drove on in silence for a while.
“How’s Charlie?” he asked
“He’s All right, I think. Why?”
“I get the feeling there is something the matter.”
Marianne was silent for a while. She didn’t know whether to speak the thoughts that were hurtling around in her head.
“You know. I thought Charles quite fancied me.”
“He still does, surely.”
“He doesn’t show it any more. Since we had the fight over Janine, he’s kept himself very much to himself”
“Mm, I see. You think he was stringing you along? So you’d save the play for him?”
That was something that had never occurred to her.
“Oh no, surely not. That would make me feel horrible.”
“Oh hell! I didn’t mean to upset you. I don’t believe that. I just thought you might.”
This was obviously not a subject for discussion at the moment. Marianne changed the way the conversation was going.
“I still don’t know where he found the play, have you any idea?”
“Everybody’s wondering that. There’s been no sign of the author. You had an amazingly free hand with it.”
“Until now. He insisted that Janine should play the part.”
“Oh I see, that worries you. You didn’t want her?”
“No, but I think he may be right.”
“That is certainly not something to be worried about. The strumpet is a marvel.”
“Anyway, there wouldn’t be an author if it was written in the 1800s as Charlie said it was. He said it was an old lady called Peverell Peake.”
“Isn’t that the name of a hotel?”
The car drew up outside one of their favourite pubs by the river. They got out of the car and went inside. Jason busied himself getting drinks and food organised. Marianne looked for a place to sit. They were lucky, and she managed to get her favourite table overlooking the river. It was good to sit beside the enormous window which gave the impression of almost being On the river. She liked to think they were on a boat floating along, watching the Thames drift by.
Jason returned with beer and sandwiches.
“Congratulations on getting the table,” he said as he placed everything down.
“You know what I think?” he said as he sat down opposite her.
“About the play? I’m sure we both think the same thing. Shall we say it together?”
“OK. One two three –
“Charlie wrote it himself!”
Marianne frowned
“Oh its not possible!”
“Why not?”
“White bread.”
“What?”
“The sandwich, it’s on white bread.”
“Brown bread is just white bread dyed brown.”
“Not here, Jason, They do Wholemeal.”
Jason sighed
“Di you want me to change it?”
“You know I prefer wholemeal.”
“I’ll change it.”
“Too late. I’ve bitten into it.”
“So why isn’t it possible?”
“Darling, whoever heard of an author, who sat in at every rehearsal and watched his play being torn apart, rewritten, cut, slashed to ribbons and never said anything about it?”
“Never,” said Jason taking a swig of his beer “has Charles ever told you what he thinks about authors?”
“Certainly, he thinks that having written a play, the job is done and it is up to the director and the cast to make it all work. That’s fine as a rule, Actors cannot help changing the play, making a character their own and authors sometimes don’t recognise their play at the end of it. But this, Jason, this was major surgery after all.”
“We had an example of it this very morning. It’s a different play with Janine in it.”
“Mm, that’s true.”
They ate and drank reflectively for a while. Then Marianne spoke.
“It’s going to be pretty strange working with Laura again this evening. I don’t envy you.”
“Don’t worry about me, love, It all adds to the fun. As for Charles. He might have just given it up into your hands even if he was the author.”
“I took the most astonishing liberties.”
“It may be just what he wanted. Suppose he wrote a show that he knew wasn’t wonderful but felt it had something. You are famous for pulling rotten plays out of the mire. That’s why you never get a decent one to do. You’ve turned lots of rubbish into respectable pieces. Maybe that is what he required for his little brainchild.”
“OK, I’ll think about it. But not now. I want to get away from the Sea Captain for an hour or two. May we do that?”
“Yes and I’ll change the sandwich for you.”
“Oh no,” she cried, looking at her plate. “I’ve eaten it.”
Jason laughed
“Well done!” he said, Time for icecream

confidential. Janine, first rehearsal

7 Feb

Molly looked up from the breakfast table, where Jeremy was sitting opposite, pretending to read the Guardian.
‘The…The new girl starts today, doesn’t she?’
Jeremy noded. He knew what was in her mind. He too was apprehensive. Moly knew without him having to tell her anything for which he was much relieved. It was probably due to Lionel who reported faithfully everything that happened at the theatre.
Jeremy didn’t mind Molly checking up on him; it made him feel secure. Happy that he can tell her anything that she wanted to hear. And he knew that she loved him unconditionally and she would forgive him no matter what he did.
Only in the case of Janine had she been worried and upset. She wanted to be the only woman in his life. He hadn’t told her anything about Janine, but she eventually forgave him. The subject never came up again. Lionel had also told her about the recent meeting at the pub, but she had taken one look at his sunken face and let it go. Now she was worried that working so closely with the girl might start something all over again. He had been a good husband,he spent more time with her than did any husbands of her friends. He had also spent much time with the boys when they were young. She couldn’t be happier and was always grateful that she had taken a chance on him twenty-two years ago.
As he left the house, she kissed and wished him a good day. Then with merest trace of a plea, she whispered ‘Be good’. He hugged her and laughed. She laughed with him, although there was no real mirth in their laughter – just nervousness.

Molly looked up from the breakfast table, where Jeremy was sitting opposite, pretending to read the Guardian.
‘The…The new girl starts today, doesn’t she?’
Jeremy noded. He knew what was in her mind. He too was apprehensive. Moly knew without him having to tell her anything for which he was much relieved. It was probably due to Lionel who reported faithfully everything that happened at the theatre.
Jeremy didn’t mind Molly checking up on him; it made him feel secure. Happy that he can tell her anything that she wanted to hear. And he knew that she loved him unconditionally and she would forgive him no matter what he did.
Only in the case of Janine had she been worried and upset. She wanted to be the only woman in his life. He hadn’t told her anything about Janine, but she eventually forgave him. The subject never came up again. Lionel had also told her about the recent meeting at the pub, but she had taken one look at his sunken face and let it go. Now she was worried that working so closely with the girl might start something all over again. He had been a good husband,he spent more time with her than did any husbands of her friends. He had also spent much time with the boys when they were young. She couldn’t be happier and was always grateful that she had taken a chance on him twenty-two years ago.
As he left the house, she kissed and wished him a good day. Then with merest trace of a plea, she whispered ‘Be good’. He hugged her and laughed. She laughed with him, although there was no real mirth in their laughter – just nervousness.

Also nervous was |Marianne when she arrived half an hour early at the theatre. The cleaners were still busy in the stalls and on stage, and she was forbidden under pain of something worse than death if she should interrupt. She went up to the circle bar, where she discovered Sally the ASM. Sally went off to get coffee, and Jason arrived. He was grumpy and alert as if he was expecting World War three to break out
Since the row in the dressing room the other evening, He and Marriane had exchanged nothing but a cool politeness.
The wished each other Good morning and sat down silently with the coffee Sally had brought for them.
They looked up when Janine arrived. Marianne offered her coffee and said ‘Good Morning’. Jason gave a sort of grunt. She wished them both ‘Good morning’ and sat quietly in a corner and began studying her script.
Sally came into the bar to tell them the theatre was now clear.
“I’m going to set up for Act one – is that OK? . The others will be arriving soon. They have another ten minutes.”
Jason muttered a ‘Thanks Sal’ and went to the stairs. Marianne picked up her belongings and called Janine who was so far into her script she was oblivious of everything else that was going on.
They all three descended the stairs, still not talking. Marianne’s heart was a beating like a drum and she suspected the others had the same problem. Jeremy came in early
“Good morning lovelies” he said. He kissed Marianne and gave her a hug, squeezed Jason on the shoulder and pecked Janine cooly on her cheek.
“Glad to have you with us.” he said
“I’m happy and proud to be here” she replied in a small voice, hardly louder than a whisper.
“I’ve a feeling you’ll be very good’ he said.
The other actors arrived in a laughing chattering bunch and the rehearsal began.