Early years in Liverpool gave him the perfect voice for John Lennon in the animated ‘Yellow Submarine’ film
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Tuesday 21 August 2012
The eponymous volcano rumbles ominously in the distance and the skies darken. It’s the Pathetic Fallacy in full throttle as extramarital desire correspondingly seethes and churns amongst the cocktail-swiggers gathered on the verandah of Adela, a widowed forty-something plantation owner.
Saturday 17 March 2012
Outspoken scrum-half Lee Dickson tells Chris Hewett why Lancaster is the right man and why he always believed he could make it with England – even when others did not
Monday 19 December 2011
Has Gyles Brandreth – witty man of many parts though he is – met his Waterloo (“the line is immaterial”) with this attempt to portray Lady Bracknell in a new musical version of The Importance of Being Earnest? Well, not quite.
Monday 15 August 2011
Sunday 24 July 2011
Once upon a time, this book was considered ideal for every child's bedroom.
Sunday 03 July 2011
'For King and cocktails!" cries Marley, the aristocrat whose futile life is dissected in the novel Piracy.
Thursday 23 June 2011
In the 1950s, as conductor of ITV's immensely popular Sunday Night at the London Palladium, Cyril Ornadel possessed the most famous back of the head on British television. He was also musical director on the West End productions of some of the greatest of all musicals, twice won a Novello Award for his own compositions and was awarded the prestigious Gold Badge of Merit by the British Academy of Songwriters and Authors for services to British music. His song "Portrait of My Love" is a standard as is "If I Ruled the World" from his musical Pickwick, which had the distinction of being, for a time, the longest-running British musical on Broadway.
Blithe Spirit, Apollo Shaftesbury, London<br/>The Tempest, Playhouse, Oxford<br/>Mogadishu, Lyric Hammersmith, London
Sunday 13 March 2011
Tuesday 01 February 2011
The best Chekhov productions that I've ever witnessed have, not unnaturally, been performed by Russian actors – Lev Dodin's matchless troupe at the Maly Theatre, St Petersburg and the Russian outfit directed by our own semi-expatriated Declan Donnellan. So I'm sorry to report that I was disappointed by the two Chekhov stagings that Moscow's Sovremennik Company brought to its now-completed residency at the Noël Coward Theatre, especially after the ensemble's masterly evocation of life in a Soviet prison camp in Into the Whirlwind.
Wednesday 26 January 2011
Galina Volchek's striking account of Three Sisters – the second production in the short nine-day residency in London by Moscow's renowned Sovremennik Theatre – begins with a determined departure from tradition. The titular trio are discovered standing at the crest of a large curved wooden bridge, their white scarves buffeted by an icy wind, in a tableau that offers an eerie premonition of that icon of stoic endurance which these siblings constitute at the end of Chekhov's masterpiece. Then the atmosphere suddenly switches to febrile gaiety. The circular revolve goes into overdrive; lights flicker as though in an electrical storm; and the Prozorov's drawing room whirls round with a wild abandon in preparation for the tensions of Irina's name day and the hectic lassitude (so to speak) of the play.
Tuesday 25 January 2011
Sunday 12 September 2010
From Aristophanes, who attacked Euripedes in his play The Frogs (Euripedes was safely dead by that point), to the critic Harold Bloom, who recently consigned Harry Potter to the "vast concourse of works that cram the dustbins of the ages", Gary Dexter's book compiles pithy put-downs and waspish jibes from writers.
Thursday 09 September 2010
I like to think that I would walk through fire to watch Simon Russell Beale recite the Argos catalogue. All the same, I did wonder how desperate I was to see him in this revival of Ira Levin's 1978 mega-hit, Deathtrap. But even if you're the kind of person for whom the term "comedy thriller" normally has all the appeal of, say, "morris dancing" or "make-over programme", you'll still find much to enjoy in Matthew Warchus's well-judged, witty production, which expertly balances the teasing tension and the arch, tongue-in-cheek humour.
Sunday 29 August 2010
Friday 20 August 2010
These diaries confirm Palin's TV image as intelligent and self-deprecatory, but can he be so modest if he's willing to publish diaries from 30 years ago? His entries from this distant era tend to bland geniality with spots of interest.
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- 5 'Hello mum, this is going to be hard for you to read ...'