Although Noel Coward's Mrs Worthington was counselled in no uncertain terms that her daughter should seek further employ, one suspects the wretched woman ignored the advice. She is not alone. Stage mothers and fathers across the land have overseen their offspring going into the family business, eg Cusack and co or the ever reliable Redgrave, Redgrave and Redgrave.
In this age of publicity-driven theatre, it's all the rage, what with the Glover family Hamlet and Tim and Sam West playing surrogate father and son in Henry IV, and director Max Stafford-Clark's daughter Kitty currently appearing in daddy's crisp production of April de Angelis's The Positive Hour .
Directorial dynasties are thin on the ground, although Irina Brooke, daughter of the more famous Peter, has been making a bit of a splash with Beast on the Moon at BAC and Mrs Klein at Watford. However, something has been leaked into the water supply. How else to explain the Twilight Zone coincidence surrounding two rival productions of Henry V? First off is next month's all-male, semi-outdoor production at the beautiful Watermill Theatre in Newbury, directed by: Edward Hall, son of Peter. Later the same month we have the all-male, semi-outdoor production at the beautiful Globe Theatre, directed by Richard Olivier, son of... I think you've got the gist.
The ghastliness of Olivier's last production, Present Laughter, does not bode well for the Globe. However, his Henry is the magnetic Mark Rylance, an actor who can ignite a production single-handed. Hall promises the neat conceit of the play being performed by a squadron of soldiers remembering glory days at Agincourt, and a real horse for the Dauphin. Doesn't that do something very odd to the opening speech: "Think when we talk of horses that you see them/ Printing their proud hoofs i' the receiving earth"? Won't the audience be hard-pressed not to shout, "He's behind you"?
EYE ON THE NEW
Last year Tim Fountain won the inaugural Pink Paper Play Award for the best lesbian or gay play with his script The Last Bus from Bradford. Fountain's touching comedy about smalltown lives, money, families, growing up in the Eighties and an unhealthy obsession with Starsky and Hutch has just opened.
The Chelsea Centre, London SW10 (0171-352 1967) to 17 MayReuse content