Dirty Rotten Scoundrels at the Bristol Hippodrome

DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS. Michael Praed (Lawrence), Carley Stenson (Christine) and Noel Sullivan (Freddy). Photo by Phil Tragen

The stylish Michael Praed is wonderfully languid and vain as Jameson, masquerading as a prince from some Ruritanian backwater as he smoothly seduces wealthy ladies into handing over their jewellery. In comic contrast, Noel Sullivan is outrageously uncivilised as Benson, a Jack-the-lad who makes up for his lack of sophistication with formidable cunning. Much of the fun in this hugely entertaining show comes from the disguises they adopt as they try to dupe their chosen victims and outwit each other at the same time.

BEFORE THE PARTY at the Everyman, Cheltenham.

Before the Party 2

Rodney Ackland was, in the 1930s, ranked alongside Terence Rattigan, Noel Coward and J B Priestley as a playwright of note. Priestley’s An Inspector Calls never goes away, Rattigan is always being revived and Coward is, well, Coward. But Rodney Ackland? His play Before the Party, adapted from Somerset Maugham’s short story, does little to persuade us of the status he once, apparently, commanded. Whereas the plays of other the three aforementioned writers are equally stuck in time and place they are either relevant today or are very witty. Before the Party, sadly was neither

Cheltenham Literature Festival 2015

Flags outside Cheltenham Town Hall

6th October. FRANZ KAFKA: AN INTRODUCTION and FRANZ KAFKA: THE METAMORPHOSIS. The ever personable Misha Glenny introduced both Kafka events, the first featuring Kafka expert and Oxford professor Carolin Duttlinger; in the second Joyce Crick, Kafka translator, Ritchie Robertson, Oxford professor of German and Jeff Young, playwright and life-long fan shared the platform. Joyce Crick was particularly interesting, explaining the finer points of producing a ‘translation’ that is true to the spirit of Kafka’s language.

RAYMONDO at the Bristol Old Vic


Marcus Hamblett’s clever music score augments the atmosphere, and shifts in mood are emphasized by skillfully placed changes in the lighting, but above all Raymondo is a dazzling display of unconventional story-telling. There will be those who find the language a little too self-consciously aware of its own cleverness, but I was totally absorbed by this strange and beguiling tale. Annie Siddons has described Raymondo as being about ‘resilience, adversity, fraternity and love.’ By delivering these themes through the medium of magical realism she has been able to let her imagination run free, to great effect.

1984 at Bath Theatre Royal

1984 Slider

Orwell’s novel of existential angst (subsequently given the appearance of alarming prescience by events in the Cold War) set in a dystopian future, is well established as a classic of the genre. The mark of its status within the culture is that even those unfamiliar with the novel will likely have heard of Big Brother and Room 101 and thoughtcrime. The story is an ironic take on a post war Britain which has supposedly been subsumed into the super-state of Oceania, that is ruled by the invisible, omnipresent being known as Big Brother and who is not known directly, but only through his iconic image. It is a dark vision in which ‘thought crime’ is relentlessly policed and punished.

Handbagged at the Oxford Playhouse

A scene from Handbagged by Moira Buffini @ Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury. Directed by Indhu Rubasingham
(Opening  09-09-15)
©Tristram Kenton 09/15
(3 Raveley Street, LONDON NW5 2HX TEL 0207 267 5550  Mob 07973 617 355)email: tristram@tristramkenton.com

Name the two most influential British women of the past 50 years. I can confidently predict (mainly because we are not face to face, so I can happily make up statistics with no fear of repercussions) that 95% of you said The Queen and Margaret Thatcher . . . Seamlessly mixing the serious with the absurd, Handbagged is great fun. It’s a real treat to get to imagine what made The Queen and Margaret Thatcher tick, and to get to know them, just a little bit. Yes they were influential figureheads, but they were also real people.

Birmingham Royal Ballet costume exhibition

Costume exhibtion

BIRMINGHAM’S ICONIC DEPARTMENT STORE PUTS THE SPOTLIGHT ON 25 YEARS OF CLASSIC COSTUMES BIRMINGHAM ROYAL BALLET: 25 YEARS OF COSTUME. For the first time ever, Birmingham Royal Ballet have teamed up with the city’s most illustrious department store, House of Fraser to display a few highlights from the company’s extensive catalogue of costumes from their 25 year residency in the city. This intimate exhibition is created to give members of the public a rare up-close experience of the beautiful and intricate designs seen on stage . . .