The Diary: Smack the Pony; Kate and William artwork; John Wonnacott; Tim Westwood; Vidal Sassoon
Friday 28 January 2011
It's been almost a decade since the last episode of Smack the Pony aired, but now Doon Mackichan, Sally Phillips and Fiona Allen, who wrote and starred in the all-female sketch show, are to return to television comedy together. "About a year and a half ago we all sat around my kitchen table and said, 'come on, it's about time'," Mackichan, 48, tells me. "We've all had children and life thrown at us in the past 10 years, but now we're ready. There's definitely a place for older women on television." They are currently in talks with Channel 4 about the new series, which will move away from sketches towards storytelling.
Before that, the trio who haven't worked together since 2002, will be reunited on stage at Leicester Comedy Festival, next Friday. They've signed up to Celebrity Autobiography, the off-Broadway cult hit that transferred to the West End last Autumn. Phillips and Mackichan have already appeared in the show where comedians read laughable extracts from the memoirs of the rich and famous in deadpan style. "We thought, 'wouldn't it be fun to get Fiona involved too?'" says Mackichan. The trio, who will also perform at London's Leicester Square Theatre on 14 February, will read extracts from the diaries of girl band Destiny's Child.
That didn't take long. Not counting the decorative plates, the first Kate and William engagement artwork officially hits London next month. "The total time from conception to completion was approximately 11 weeks," the US artist Jennifer Rubell tells me. "It was a very tight schedule."
The work consists of a lifesized waxwork of the Prince, placed in the window of the Stephen Friedman Gallery. As for Kate – that's where you come in. Visitors are invited to join waxy Wills on the dais, slip their fourth finger through the replica ring resting on his forearm and play at being the fairytale princess on top of the wedding cake. "Being American, I imagine that I don't have the kind of feelings about the Royal family, good or bad, that a British artist might," says Rubell. "For me, they're just a larger-than-life way for us to reflect ourselves."
Rubell, a New York food writer-turned-artist, is a master at interactive art. Previous installations include a ton of prime ribs oozing on a plinth with self-service tongs and, at this year's Art Basel Miami, a cottage filled with pots of warm porridge and 750 spoons.
A brush with more lowly subjects
More dispatches from the Palace! The Royal portraitist John Wonnacott, who painted Prince William surrounded by corgis in 2000, has turned to the rather more lowly, Bohemian subjects. The artist has been commissioned as the on-set painter for the new British comedy First Night. The film about a music lover (Richard E Grant) who invites an opera company (including Sarah Brightman) to stage Cosi fan tutte at his mansion, is produced by Stephen Evans (The Madness of King George), who invited Wonnacott to document the shoot. The paintings go on show at Agnew's in Mayfair next Wednesday, while First Night premieres at the Glasgow Film Festival on 27 February.
Spinning a yarn
Drop the bomb! Hip-hop expert/ vicar's son Tim Westwood is turning to stand-up. The Radio 1 DJ, known for his unintentionally comic rude-boy patter, was spotted in the audience at Old Rope, from where he later Tweeted "Checkin out this comedy show – thinking of doin some stand-up." The weekly new material night at London's Phoenix is a favourite with comedians – Ricky Gervais, Simon Amstell and Frankie Boyle have all dropped in to test their latest jokes. Could Westwood join them on the bill? "He's welcome to come and try for five minutes," says Tiffany Stevenson, stand-up and co-host. "I'm not sure where he'd go with it but why not?"
A cut above
Films about the rich and famous never go out of fashion, but Vidal Sassoon: the Movie must surely be the first one dedicated to a hairdresser. The documentary opens here in May and is produced by Michael Gordon, the founder of shampoo company Bumble and Bumble. A rags-to-riches yarn, it tells the tale of the cockney glove cutter who went on to reinvent the bob, create Mia Farrow's famous pixie crop and found a haircare empire. Cut!
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