Last night Paul and I went to see Streets at the Hackney Empire. After a previous run at the much smaller, more intimate Cockpit Theatre (which Paul saw, but I didn’t), yesterday saw just two performances in the Empire’s larger, proscenium arch space.
Now that ‘series 7’ of Doctor Who is out of the way, I’ve found that I miss writing ten points about an episode. So I’ve decided to carry on – rewinding all the way to 2005’s Rose, and continuing from there. Doctor Who Magazine has chronologically looked back with its Time Team features – but their conceit is that they’re watching as if for the first time, and without reference to any stores broadcast after the one they’re watching.
My posts will most definitely be written from a 2013 perspective, introducing thoughts about how the series has changed – or not – since its return; other shows the series has influenced, or been influenced by, offscreen and on; and any old randomness that comes into my head. Please do chip in in the comments below each post if you have your own thoughts about the episode in question.
Don’t expect the frequency to always be weekly, although I will try and keep up the pace. If you want to know when each one has been published, you can follow me on Twitter or subscribe to my public posts on Facebook.
And so sit back, press Play, and rejoice in the fact that on DVD, the department store basement won’t resound with the echo of Graham Norton doing a sound check for Strictly Dance Fever.
Paul Sinha’s latest warm and self-deprecating comedy show brightens a London in August that’s normally depleted of top-flight comedians
In August, most British comedians move up to Edinburgh. It’s a huge part of the comedy year – several comedians will spend the months preceding to try out their new material and hone it, deliver it once a night at the Fringe, and then spend the next few months reusing that material wherever they can until it’s time to start the cycle again.
Paul Sinha has, in the past, done a similar pilgrimage to the Edinburgh Fringe. Being a renowned sports fanatic, though, he chose to forego that experience this year in order to attend the London Olympics. And that means that, in a month where London comedy is usually running on depleted stock, we get his new show, “Last Christmas”.
Now the last time I saw Sinha live was at Comedy Camp, back when the bar on Archer Street that is now an identikit wine bar was a gay venue called Barcode and had regular comedy nights every Tuesday. This was probably at least ten years ago now, but Sinha’s relaxed, self-deprecating warmth hasn’t changed.
Introduced by a cheesy acoustic version of Wham!’s Yuletide hit, Sinha – an inveterate quizzer, ranked 20th in the UK and now a regular on ITV1’s The Chase – treats us to some trivia about the pop tune, before revealing that has no basis for the rest of the show: instead, it is about his own last Christmas, during which he found himself joining his family on a jeep trip through the Himalayas and genuinely thought he was going to die.
What follows is an exploration of what is necessary to have led a satisfying life, and around that hang various anecdotes from Sinha’s own life.
When we think of Noël Coward, we tend to think of the witty older gentleman who had built a reputation as playwright, songwriter and master of the well-turned epithet. We don’t tend to remember that he started out as a young child actor, during which period of his life he first met Gertrude Lawrence, the actress with whom he would come to work on numerous occasions and form a lifelong friendship.
The late drama critic and broadcaster Sheridan Morley constructed this revue of Coward’s work in the early 1980s, using the relationship between Coward and Lawrence to showcase some of the former’s songs and plays. The result is an evening of biting wit, poignancy and unbridled fun.
As someone who commutes every day, I become aware of the diverse range of people who use London Underground. With every opening and closing of the tube doors, the ethnic, socio-economic and dramatic mix of my fellow travellers can change in an instant.
As such, the Tube is the perfect setting for The End of the Line, a series of short playlets from young writing collective Knocked for Six which has just finished a three night run.
Piled into The Workshop, a club space in the basement of the Roadtrip Bar in Old Street, we were arranged on benches either side of a thin promenade space. Any fears that the arrangement meant there was not enough space for the actors were appeased when it became clear that the front benches were also the stage, with the central seats being occupied by a succession of interesting characters.