BSC Address

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Age Concern

I've recently joined the Good Neighbour scheme run by Age Concern and for the last few weeks I've been visiting an elderly neighbour for an hour a week to provide them with an hour of company. Within about ten minutes of my first meeting I realised it was going to be one of the most rewarding and important hours of the week. And so it has proved. Age Concern operates around the country and if were interested in the scheme, I would unhesitatinly recommend it, both for yourself and the person you would be visiting. Nothing I have done in my life has been quite so plainly rewarding, interesting and easy.

And it only has to be an hour. Let's be honest, I don't think my neighbour could take much more of me!

Friday, March 28, 2008


I was one of twenty-seven people in the UK who had still not seen THE HISTORY BOYS...until last night. It's so enjoyable to watch a good new play (does it still count as a new play?!) - and the performances, although a little tired, were still very good. Something strange has happened to me - I've watched both halves of three shows in the West End within a fortnight! Last week it was THE VORTEX - what a tremendous play (another one I hadn't seen or read before) - and another good production. And then INTO THE HOODS.

HISTORY BOYS obviously concerns itself with education. My father always told me it doesn't matter what you learn, the purpose of going to school is to learn how to learn. And I surely agree. Do I remember any of the history, maths or physics I learnt from my favourite teachers? None at all - but they instilled in me a process, a love of learning, an approach to work. Alan Bennett couldn't have dramatised it better.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


Every so often (it's now happened twice to me) you turn on the TV and 'discover' a great movie you never knew existed. A fortnight ago I turned on the box on the Sunday afternoon and started watching The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, with Walter Matthau. My expectations were not high. But my jaw dropped. Rarely have I seen such crackling dialogue and such marvellous acting. If you see it come up again in the schedules, don't miss it!

(The first time this happened to me was Midnight Run - a movie that started at about 1am, so the schedulers weren't exactly its biggest fans - which turned out to be one of the best movies I've ever seen, with one of the greatest moments in comedy history I later found out. Another one for the list)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Paul Scofield

The world has lost one of it's greatest actors, and on a personal note, I have lost one of the most influential men in my life.

Thank you Paul for everything you have done for the Birmingham Stage Company. It has been a unique, life enforcing experience to know you.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Into the Hoods

If there are two better, sexier, more enjoyable dancers in the West End than Sarah Richards and Rowan Hawkins, I'd like to see them. Two people who make it look so easy - the hallmark of good stuff!


It's just worth mentioning that I got it hopelessly wrong on HAIRSPRAY. Which just goes to prove I have very little idea what I'm talking about.

Speaking of wrong, one of my favourite reviews was from Nat Brenner, the ex-principal of the Brsitol Old Vic Theatre School who saw my performance as Sir Nathaniel in a school production of LOVE'S LABOUR'S LOST. When I asked him the next morning what he thought he smiled:

"Marvellous. Very good indeed. Wrong"

"What do you mean?" I queried

"Why did you play him old?"

"The director told me to" I replied.

"You always listen to your director, do you?" was his enquiry. "Anway, you did it very well. Good performance. Wrong"

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

There Will Be Blood

Well no-one who reads this blog expects me to be conventional, but I was a surprised to find myself sitting outside of this film.

I was once told and have since believed that a true test of whether a film or a play works, is if you forget you are in a theatre and you are transported into the world and along the journey of the play or film you are watching. So I've always felt it's a sign that something isn't working when you never feel you've left your seat. Even more obvious is that lovely feeling when you leave the venue and think "goodness, it's London on a Monday night" when for the last couple of hours you've imagined you're in America in 1892. Sadly this wasn't the case last night. What's more - and I am really sorry for being contrary - I didn't really believe DDLewis. I was always aware I was watching someone performing. A very fine performance, but a performance nevertheless. Worse still, I wondered if a different actor would have been more suited to the role.

For my money, NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN is certainly more gripping and has more convincing and interesting performances within it. Despite the fact that I still don't know what NO COUNTRY was all about! (Interestingly, I read an extract from Cormac's book and I reckon this mystery is probably solved by reading the book! So that's me out!)

I am now even more certain that I shouldn't go and see ATONEMENT!