Monday, 29 June 2015

flying tigers and other animals

Okay, A Damsel in Distress has finished its Chichester run. I bet you'll be able to see it again some sunny day, but it's a big show and all the cheeses involved are big ones, so it might not be easy to corral them. It wasn't last time, but it was worth it. It was literally lovely to be in the room with it every night I was there. I'm absolutely biased, of course. But there are reviews.

In other news, I've been interested in volunteer air forces every since I researched Charles Sweeny, who married Maggie, the eventual Duchess of Argyll (who did rude things to a headless man). He was the American who set up the US volunteer squadrons in England - the Eagle Squadrons - and helped fund them, in WWII. He's been deleted from Wikipedia. I wonder why.

I didn't know about the Flying Tigers, who were Americans who flew for China. That picture above has their nosepiece, which is very famous, and which I did know from putting it on planes in my Airfix youth (I was bad at them). I also didn't know that they copied it from some Nazi bombers.

I also recently googled, I'm not telling you why, The Best House in London. It turns out to be a movie starring a wide range of characters, from Warren Mitchell as an Italian Count to John Cleese as 'Jones'. It also features Sherlock Holmes and IMDB's description runs: In Victorian London, the British Government attempts a solution to the problem of prostitution by establishing the world's most fabulous brothel. I dare say it seemed like a good idea at some point, but I do not plan to watch it.

An article about Japan's ageing population. It's a cliche to say things are beautiful and sad, but still.


Wednesday, 17 June 2015

whisky galore

It's been a while since I parroted Wikipedia.

Compton Mackenzie wrote it, and Monarch of the Glen. He was English, technically, but allegiance is an odd fish and it seems perverse to go with the technicality when Mackenzie was an ardent Jacobite, Governor-General of the Stuart Society and helped found the Scottish National Party.

Among is seven million other books were histories of the Battle of Marathon and Salamis, a biography of FDR and Extraordinary Women, a roman a clef about three lesbians based on what sounds like a very frisky time he had on Capri in the 20s. He married three times and supported, enjoyably given everything else, West Bromwich Albion. I want to know more about him and, given the fact that he wrote ten volumes of autobiography, there is more to know.

In other news: this is funny about the awful experience of having written what might have been a good script for Grace of Monaco.

Friday, 12 June 2015

a damsel in distress

NB I will periodically update this page.

Me not writing anything here has been good news for you, maybe, but bad news for the heroic cast of A Damsel in Distress, who had to deal with all kinds of preview week changes (Query: is not lesson from this that should have written a more competent show in the first place? Answer: probably best not thought about).

The first night was marvellous. The cast was brilliant. The reviews are in. Modesty, I find, is flexible enough to permit me posting all the reviews I can find.

an instant classic ... In an age of metamusicals from The Producers to the current Broadway hit Something Rotten, which offer their own ironic commentaries on the genre itself, A Damsel in Distress is both blissfully affectionate yet never affected as a young Broadway composer (Richard Fleeshman) and a British socialite (Summer Strallen) are set on an tangled but inevitable course towards each other in a dizzying, but always sincere, series of romantic collisions - The Stage

perfect summer fare ... a sunlit fantasy realm of ancient castles where batty peers, feisty showgirls and affectionate pigs get into comic muddles ... an evening of sheer, effervescent summer fun - Daily Telegraph

Here’s a joyful thing: a confection of butterscotch and sunshine, a tale of turrets and twosomes and tap-breaks, friendship and chivalry and secret passages and great legs, with glorious, soaring Gershwin songs to punt it all along - Libby Purves (She also tweeted, A DAMSEL IN DISTRESS wins fifth mouse cos I woke up grinning 8hrs later. Sunshine, kicks and Wodehouse whoopee.)

This magnificently ridiculous romantic comedy sweeps all objections aside, and, while constantly reminding you of the absurdities of the Broadway musical, revels in them to joyous effect. It’s another canny musical triumph for Chichester’s creative team - Financial Times

diamond-bright, five-star froth - Daily Mail (Baz Bamigboye)

A Damsel In Distress is a great “new” musical. It completely encapsulates the feeling of a different time, a different style of musical. It is not Les Miserables or Wicked, but that is its strength. It is what it is – and what it is is beautiful, full of froth and bubble, syrup and cream. Utterly delicious - BritishTheatre.com

As a huge fan of Wodehouse I was as happy as the Empress in her sty at Blandings to see what Sams & Hudson had done. What we have is a cute, schmaltzy, feelgood, funny musical - Stage Review

Crazy, hilarious and tremendous fun—great show! - British Theatre Guide

by golly it works ... a spiffing good show - What's on Stage

There are perhaps only two words for this show: one is delightful and the other is ditzy - Daily Mail (Patrick Marmion)

what joyous nonsense - The Argus

a delight - The Public Reviews

Fresh, funny and scattering musical numbers from brothers George and Ira Gershwin like so many petals, it reduced the audience to tears of mirth and rapturous applause - The Southern Daily Echo

the entire show sparkles - In the Cheap Seats

an evening of pure escape - Eastbourne Herald

Wow. What a show. The perfect end to a long day at work. The perfect end to any day, in fact ... There’s so much to love about A Damsel in Distress, from the wonderful way it exploits all the new staging possibilities at the ‘new’ CFT to the glorious battiness of the show itself; from the fabulous costumes to the delightful choreography; from the terrific score to the complete fun of it all; from the way a castle suddenly appears before your eyes to the wonderful range of characters who inhabit it, all beautifully played by a cast at the top of its game - Chichester Observer

a new(ish) musical confection that feels like it's been around for years ... a delightful night in the theatre - Jonathan Baz

Brilliantly executed blissful nonsense - Frost Magazine

gorgeous and joyous! - Musical Theatre Review