Okay, this time more than ever, you must watch the episode before reading anything about it. Spoilers, sweetie…
I’m lucky enough to know some people who are both incredibly talented and pretty bloody lovely. One such person is Lee Binding, the artist who creates a lot of Doctor Who’s publicity work, including the movie-style posters for each episode.
I’m intrigued by Stephen Soderbergh’s forthcoming film biopic of Liberace, starring Michael Douglas and Matt Damon. This trailer makes me really want to see the film – it’s released in the UK on June 7.
Lauren Graham will be a name familiar to some viewers of American TV shows, most notably for seven years as Lorelei Gilmore in Gilmore Girls, one half of a close mother-daughter relationship in an eccentric New England town.
Now she is striking out as a novelist. The heroine of Someday, Someday, Maybe is Frannie, who gave herself three years to make it as an actress in mid-1990s New York, and is now just six months away from her deadline.
Anybody who has even the slightest tangential knowledge of the acting industry, on whatever side of the Atlantic, will recognise the difficulties that Frannie finds herself, from struggling with auditions, humiliatingly embarrassing showcases, and potentially life-changing interviews with agents. And while there’s an occasional retro feel to the time setting – the reliance on landlines and answer machines in particular – that also lends the feel that these are stories plucked from the actress-turned-novelist’s own life, that nevertheless ring true nearly 20 years later.
Like the characters Graham projects on television, Someday, Someday, Maybe is smart, warm, funny – and often all three at once. In Frannie, Graham has created a character you can’t help but root for, even as it’s clear when she’s making a bad decision or ignoring a situation that you suspect she’d spot coming a mile off in real life.
I’m currently listening to it on audiobook, which is read by Graham herself – and that just adds to the enjoyment, although the tradeoff is that you don’t see the facsimiles of filofax pages that are printed in the book (they’re available on the CD as PDFs, apparently, but I get my audiobooks as downloads from Audible, which excludes the extras).
Great video from Mark Kermode’s weekly video blog, asking why some people have problem with musicals. If you find it odd that the characters in Les Misérables sing, how about Cabaret (where the songs are performed on stage)? How about All That Jazz, where they’re part of dream sequences?
Then how about sci-fi? If you can cope with light sabres, why can’t you cope with a few songs?
For the last couple of years, I’ve been privileged enough to help select a few plays for the Off Cut Festival of new theatre writing.
The Festival isn’t happening in the same form this year. But instead, the organisers have announced Off Cut Roots.
The aim of Off Cut Roots is to bring writers into the heart of the process of developing a play for performance.
The plays we are looking for do not need to be perfect, not ready-for-stage. Our panel of readers will be looking for two plays with the potential to benefit the most for the Roots project.
Once the two plays are chosen, the writers will be invited to a first read through with each play’s cast and director. Also in attendance will be Off Cut’s Artistic Director, a dramaturg from Theatre 503, and, depending on availability, an established playwright, director and actor. This will probably take place on Monday 8th July, but may be subject to change.
Sunday saw Kerry Ellis take to the stage at the London Palladium for a one-off concert – which I reviewed for Musical Theatre Review. Despite the 500-word count, I still had to leave out reference to her guests Rory Taylor and Alex Gaumond, and the support act Woman (or “Woman – the band”, as they insist on calling themselves).
Yeah, this is a commercial for Audi cars. But – but – The Legend of Bilbo Baggins! “Always, and ever will be…”! The neck pinch!
As they say, “Fascinating.” And also kind of awesome.
As we rapidly approach the end of this series, I’ve created an index page for all my Ten Things About… posts. And here are this week’s rambling musings about Neil Gaiman’s episode – which, far from being a nightmare, felt more like a bad dream brought on by a surfeit of cheese.
1. The Mechanical Turk
Did the concept of a ‘magical’ chess-playing automaton sound familiar to you? The Mechanical Turk, a life-size dummy built to impress the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria. Just like the equivalent on Hedgewick’s World, the Turk was controlled by a human inside, whose presence was hidden away:
…if the back doors of the cabinet were open at the same time one could see through the machine. The other side of the cabinet did not house machinery; instead it contained a red cushion and some removable parts, as well as brass structures. This area was also designed to provide a clear line of vision through the machine.
The more you end up going to the theatre, the less chance an individual play has of getting under your skin, of invading your memory for days afterwards. I hadn’t expected Gutted to be that play. Rikki Beadle-Blair’s latest slice of working class London life is outrageously rude, crude and funny – but also intense and thought-provoking.