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Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Just come back from RADA showcase where a top agent friend told me she was just looking for 'pretties'.

"It's all TV and film directors are interested in now" she told me.

How marvellously depressing is that?! And not only because it radically reduces the chances for the 'not-pretties' but also because its harder to find a pretty person who is an interesting actor - which is why those who are pretty and good usually become stars.

Thank goodness theatre is still (just about) a meritocracy, or else what would have happened to Maggie Smith, Vanessa Redrave, Eileen Atkins, Brenda Blethyn...

Thursday, April 24, 2008


We're coming to the end of the showcase season for the drama schools. Given the unfortunate importance of these events for those involved, it would seem to me a good idea to present the showcase to 1) school colleagues and then 2) to friends and family, so that the presentation to the profession becomes the third time the students have performed the show. It would give the actors a fighting chance to relax, gain confidence and perform at their best.

I also don't know why the drama schools don't ensure the first and second year students see the third-year showcase, so that they are aware of how it works, they can spot the pitfalls and plan for their own graduation showcase.

When I was in my own showcase I did a speech from Konstantin in The Seagull. I got an enormous laugh on the first line, which I wasn't expecting. Had I known this was likely to happen, it would have helped!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


I don't really do gossip, but after the programme on Channel 4 last night, I feel this could be the right forum to reveal that, some years ago, I went on a date with Ms Heather Mills. I'm not sure she knew it was a date, but I did see all her legs (she had four - swimming, ski-ing, running and walking).

I feel this is a wholly legitimate claim to fame and, just for the record, my impression was not of a bad woman in any way, although certainly one of the toughest women I've ever met. And memorable, for sure.

Jesus and George

If anyone was qualified to discuss the merits and mishaps of George Bush, it is Luke Rhinehart, the amazing author of THE DICE MAN. Luke is publishing a new book titled JESUS INVADES GEORGE which will be available from 12 May through

And while you're about it, WHITE WIND, BLACK RIDER is another wonderful, unforgetable book by Luke Rhinehart. And LONG VOYAGE BACK is a great adventure read too.

And of course, obviously, THE DICE MAN.

That should keep you going for a week or so.

Friday, April 18, 2008


With auditions coming up for our next three shows, it's worth mentioning that it's helpful - indeed vital - for people coming to the auditions to know the piece for which they are auditioning. All three shows are based on published books and in two cases the adapations have also been published.

I've always felt the people who get the job are the people who have decided in advance that they are going to make it impossible for us to cast anyone else, by dint of their preparation for the role. Too often British actors (myself included) think their task is to present themselves and let the employer decide whether they are suitable for the job. In fact the opposite is true: the task of the actor is to prepare sufficiently for the audition that they present the employer with no choice at all!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Mark Speight

There are many terrible things happening around the world - most of them involving multiple thousands -but I can't help feeling a deep sadness about Mark Speight, following the death of Natasha Collins. The notion that someone would wish to forever remove themselves from the planet is hard to fully absorb. I have a strong sense that after death is simple oblivion. That he should want to walk into that oblivion is poignant beyond words.

Sunday, April 13, 2008


It would be hard to think of two finer performances in a musical than the current leads in WICKED. Dianne Pilkington and Kerry Ellis are exemplary. In fact everyone in the show is first rate, while these two actresses are outstanding. I can't say I loved any particular song - for me this is a musical in which the plot, the dialogue and the acting takes centre stage. An unexpected treat!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Charlton Heston

My idol for years! Michael Moore put paid to my boyhood admiration of Heston in his film BOWLING FOR COLOMBINE - plus the fact that Heston's autobiography (I have a signed copy!) is one of the most boring ever written. But BEN HUR was my favourite film throughout my childhood and I still find it irresistible - the music alone is one of the greatest scores ever written. And BEN HUR not only features Heston, but also one of my favourite actors of the 20th century, Jack Hawkins.

(Hawkins' autobiography is gripping from start to finish, including the appallingly tragic end, which was completed by his wife)

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


Sometimes it's hard to keep up! Next week we will have five shows on stage - in London, Hull, Wolverhampton, Horsham and Kingston. Thirty-three actors, ten stage managers, three wardobe, three sound operators and a musician!

There's a show coming to your town soon!

Sunday, April 06, 2008


With three new shows coming up, we have to cast 27 actors before the end of July. I have to confess that casting is one of my least favourite activities: it's very difficult, often boring and terrifyingly important. If you get it wrong, the consequences are like being trapped in a speeding train with no brakes - there is no way of avoiding the crash. Thankfully, I would say that more than 95% of the time we get it absolutely right: and for this reason casting is at the very top of our priorities. Yet casting three shows, each needing about ten actors, in four months? My head is already in my hands!

All three shows will be on our casting page soon.

Friday, April 04, 2008


It's great when people write to us about our shows: this has arrived from Helen Tivey who saw the show in Bromley. Thank you Helen!

I just wanted to say thank you for an absolutely fantastic show. I was hugely impressed and have to say I enjoyed it far more than many of the 'big' shows around. My 9 year old was mesmerized by it and found it very funny - a great birthday treat for him. We are now looking out for the next show we can goto with great excitement.

Well done DANNY cast for keeping this show so alive over such a long tour!