Review online: Brendan Cole – Licence to Thrill

On Sunday, I went to the first night of Strictly Come Dancing star Brendan Cole’s new dance show, Licence to Thrill. My review for The Stage went up a couple of days ago, but I forgot to link to it from here.

A stringent 250-word count forces you to leave out some things. In this case, it was any mention of the 12-piece orchestra, and two singers, who contributed so much to an enjoyable evening. The tour continues on Friday, with two dates at Truro’s Hall for Cornwall, with dates running until March. See the website for details and ticket sales links.

Rock and Doris and Tracy-Ann

Last Thursday’s edition of The Stage includes my interview with actor and writer Tracy-Ann Oberman, whose second “Hollywood Tale” play for Radio 4’s Afternoon Drama slot airs this afternoon. Rock and Doris and Elizabeth tells the story of Rock Hudson’s public appearance in the 1980s and the revelations that he had full-blown Aids. Jonathan Hyde plays Hudson, with Frances Barber as Doris Day and Oberman as Elizabeth Taylor.

The interview is now online on The Stage website. Have a read, and either listen to the play this afternoon, or listen on catch-up later.

Arts 2.0: Twitterstorms and social media stats

My latest Arts 2.0 column for The Stage is online today, reflecting on an eruption of comments on Twitter following agent Stuart Piper’s piece of Wednesday mentioning that some producers are informing themselves of performers’ online footprint.

My first draft of this was absolutely fuming at the sheer stupidity of some people on Twitter. I took most of that out, so that the column could focus on the issues rather than weigh in and get things kicked up again. Of course that does mean that the page views for my column will be rather lower…

On Radio 4: South Downs

South Downs, the David Hare play commissioned by Chichester Festival Theatre to accompany a revival of Rattigan’s The Browning Version, was yesterday adapted for Radio 4’s Saturday Drama slot, with the original stage cast giving their all.

Nicholas Farrell and Anna Chancellor lend their names and reputations to the production, but it’s the young cast who make it shine: most particularly Alex Lawther as Blakemore. It’s astonishing that this is his first professional role, but I’m sure it won’t be his last.

Listen to the play on the Radio 4 website, and read my review from when the double bill transferred to the Harold Pinter Theatre. You can also view my photos from the press night party.

Blogged elsewhere: Doctor Who Magazine’s Sarah Jane special

Over on TV Today on The Stage website, I’ve taken the opportunity to write about Doctor Who Magazine’s latest special edition, covering the final series of The Sarah Jane Adventures.

Due to Elisabeth Sladen’s death, production was halted at a critical point in the series’ history: the production team were asking all sort of questions about where the show would go in its following year. Circumstances would mean they would never get round to answering those questions – but that gives TV historians a unique opportunity…

The Stage: When the story has to stop

iOS Newsstand gives Future an e-publishing boost

The Association of Online Publishers reports that Future Publishing’s titles racked up over 2 millions Apple Newsstand downloads in the first four days of iOS 5’s release.

Future launched more than 50 titles on Newsstand when it launched on Thursday 13 October, making it the most prolific publisher in the space. The mix of free, paid-for and premium products has attracted north of two million downloads, and represents consumer spending well in excess of normal monthly revenues.

Future UK CEO Mark Wood says: “Future had sold more digital editions in the past four days through Apple’s Newsstand than in a normal month. It’s clear that Newsstand creates an amazing opportunity for publishers – and I’m committed to continue driving our brands through this great new distribution channel.

“We plan to include more sampler issues in every magazine container in coming weeks, as well as uploading high price-point bookazines and premium one-shot titles.”

Newsstand’s presentation style certainly makes electronic editions of magazines feel much more integrated into iOS in ways that iBooks, which originated the “bookshelf”-style look and feel Newsstand uses, does not. And despite the gnashing of teeth regarding Apple’s commission level and the lack of personal information publishers can receive about subscribers, the revenue implications should be more than welcome.

Park Avenue Cat, Arts Theatre

Editor’s Rating

I’m not going to devote a full review to Park Avenue Cat, because I’ve already wasted enough of my life on this poor quality comedy currently playing at the Arts Theatre (also, because I want to field test my WordPress-powered blog’s “aside” format, but that’s just the techie in me).

A good calibre of cast – Gray O’Brien, Tessa Peake-Jones, Josefina Gabrielle and Daniel Weyman – struggle with a tale of a woman who can’t seem to decide between her rich but emotionally unconnected boyfriend, or her super-rich and extremely randy ex. Would that we all had such troubles…

The bulk of the action takes place in a therapist’s office, which belies most of the play’s problems – everybody talks about their feelings at every opportunity. I know plays that are all subtext can be exhausting, but believe me, those with none at all are far worse.

Park Avenue Cat, Arts Theatre1Scott Matthewman2011-07-26 14:27:05I’m not going to devote a full review to Park Avenue Cat, because I’ve already wasted enough of my life on this poor quality comedy currently playing …

Saturday night reviews: Smith and Jones and Joseph

My review of Smith and Jones, the first episode of Doctor Who’s new series, is now online. A review of Any Dream Will Do is to follow.

In something of a departure for TV Today, we’re going to try and review each episode of these series, along with ITV1’s Grease is the Word, every Saturday. This is straying into the sort of territory that blogs like TV Scoop do so well, but each series in its own way is an illustration of the strength of Saturday night television – a beast who, just a few years ago, was on the brink of extinction.