The intimate atmosphere of the Harold Pinter theatres is a good choice for the one-man show, Being Shakespeare.
Simon Callow is brilliant as the raconteur of Shakespeare’s life. The history behind Shakespeare’s life is cleverly written by Jonathan Bate, using the seven ages of man, as outlined in ‘All the World’s A Stage’ from Shakespeare’s play As You Like It.
The story unfolds, with Callow using different accents to portray people, and interspersed with lines from Shakespeare’s numerous plays. Often, his discourse includes an explanation as to why Shakespeare had written them.
We learn that Shakespeare was an apprentice to his father in the glove making trade; that his father was a man of importance in Stratford-upon-Avon; and that he, Shakespeare married an older woman with property, and with whom he had children. He disappeared for several years, turning up in London working for the first established theatre in Shoreditch. This theatre was later rebuilt in Southwark, and opened by King Henry V, becoming known as the Globe. Initially, he used his experience to write lines for the actors, eventually gaining recognition writing his own plays. Not to be missed.
The season runs until March 15.
Beingshakespeare.com T. 0844 871 7622
Harold Pinter Theatre, Panton Street, London SW1Y 4DN.
Revival of the classic A Taste of Honey in the Lyttleton at the National Theatre on London’s Southbank.
As always the acting at the National Theatre is superb. However the theme of the play, a revival of A Taste of Honey is sadly dated in every way.
Set in Salford in the late fifties, Lesley Sharp and Kate O’Flynn star as mother and daughter in Shelagh Delaney’s play. When originally written, everything about A Taste of Honey would have shocked. Indeed, a film version quickly followed under the direction of Tony Richardson in which Rita Tushingham made her name in the part of the daughter, Josephine.
In today’s society having a baby out-of-wedlock or having a relationship with a person of a different ethnicity is now part of everyday life. Even the gay boyfriend Geoffrey, shock horrors, is now acceptable. It is surprising that Jo accepts being bossed about by her blond, good time mother, Helen who sends Geoffrey packing. Geoffrey has taken on the role of surrogate father, and it is seems unlikely that he would have slunk away so easily.
What a shame that with so many young writers struggling to gain recognition that the National chooses to stage a play that is so out of zinc with modern times. Is A Taste of Honey now a ‘period’ piece, and therefore acceptable as of a bygone era?
In rep until May 11.
www.nationaltheatre.org.uk T. 020 7452 3000
Poppy goes to Puppy Training
Poppy is now three and a half months old and growing. She is still a relatively small dog but she is a puppy. Puppies like to play and anything within range is a suitable toy. Like children you don’t have to buy them expensive toys. Plastic bottles, empty cartons, paper, and particularly tissues are a source of pleasure.
If I put my handbag on the floor by mistake her nose is immediately in it. Tissues are the objects of choice, to be taken away, pulled apart and the eaten or left shredded. That doesn’t mean that she doesn’t have toys. Yes she does. Balls and squeaky toys are plentiful but not as exciting as my recycling bag. This always has lots of objects in it to be taken out and played with no matter what they are. Being a puppy, she is also teething, and aren’t those teeth sharp even if she is nipping in play.
I thought I could train Poppy myself but she is fulltime work, similar to having a young child. I soon realised that I had no choice. The London Veterinary Clinic recommended Nina Bondarenko as a suitable puppy trainer. Fortunately the lessons are held nearby and yesterday was lesson one. As well as Nina there was also a young lady having work experience, and another doing a thesis on puppies so with only three dogs we were taught on a virtually one-to-one basis. I must say it is not just Poppy who is being trained. I had to learn the techniques, and am now practising them at home. I wish I had gone earlier.
Interestingly, when we got home Poppy was so tired that she spent the afternoon resting so I had some respite. We will have to see how much of it works.
By week two, I had learned some of the techniques. Poppy can sit on a slippery bench and jump on and off. Sadly, we don’t have anything like that at home to practise. The main problem is the repetition as although she caught on easily, we had to keep practising especially when she was in a strange environment. The good thing is that there are other puppies there too for her to play with and despite them being bigger she can hold her own. Keeping my fingers crossed that she remembers her lessons, and I do too!
The Classic From Here to Eternity on Stage
Tim Rice’s long awaited return to the theatre with the musical From Here to Eternity is at the Shaftesbury Theatre until April 12, 2014.
It is difficult for those of us who have seen the film, which was and still is so memorable, not to compare it to the show. Taken from James Jones’s novel the film starred such famous names as the Burt Lancaster, Deborah Kerr, Montgomery Clift and Frank Sinatra.
Just prior to Pearl Harbour in 1941, the story is set in an American army camp in the magical setting of Hawaii. There is enough intrigue to endear itself to all audiences (children excepted) incorporating two love stories, a gay club, and several fighting/boxing scenes.
The production manages to incorporate an atmosphere of sexual tension, which in the original wouldn’t have included any nudity, but does here. I personally felt that Rebecca Thornhill who played the part of Karen Holmes, and had the most enviable figure, did not add anything to her role by disrobing.
For me, the result of seeing a good musical is that I, and others in the audience come out humming or singing one of the songs. Certainly, an enjoyable evening, and the jazz played at the end by the orchestra was a highlight, but there are sadly no memorable songs.
Shaftesbury Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, London WC2
Box Office: 020 7379 5399 http://www.FromHeretoEternityTheMusical.co.uk
Whoever dreamed up the sentence couldn’t have said it better.
Getting a puppy can be a real trauma. This is the first time I have bought a dog other than a miniature Yorkshire Terrier, and never realised what a huge responsibility and how much time is needed to care for and train a puppy. No-body tells you. Whatever you do, don’t trust what your breeder tells you. They may be decent people but, as I experienced, they are in the business of breeding to make money, and will tell you what you want to hear. I was told Poppy would not likely to be more than 3 kilos, and here I am with a puppy of no-more than three and a half months and already weighing more than that. I have to be honest, the breeder did give me feeding guidelines for a 6-kilo dog but assured me that Poppy wasn’t likely to be that big. How gullible am I and in the longrun that can determine how you feel about your dog.
Buying a puppy is emotive. You definitely have to think it through before you buy one. It is not just about taking it for walks. It needs to be watched all the time. Anything on the floor or within reach is an easy target. Spines of books have been nibbled, slippers ransacked of their stuffing, shoes carted around and chewed. The recycling bag is pounced on at every opportunity and objects taken out and played with. Any washing that is on the dryer and within reach is taken off and carried around as a prize trophy to be then hidden. Where half my socks are, I still don’t know.
Doesn’t she have toys you may well ask? Of course, she does, scattered around the room – empty plastic bottles, balls, squeaky toys, but like children they easily get bored and look for something new. Wires are a prime target. Vigilance is everything and forgetting can be very expensive. My laptop lead, at £65 a time, has been nibbled through twice.
Yesterday she came onto the patio from the garden with a plastic flowerpot on her face, which she then dislodged to show off her black face, normally snowy white. Not content with this, she returned to the tub where she had found the flowerpot. It was filled with water from the rain and its contents very muddy, and returned with a lot of her body the same colour of her face. My lovely white fluffy dog had become a black monster.
Another problem is that although she has learnt her name, she has restrictive hearing. That is, she comes when she wants to and ignores me when she doesn’t. Nobody told me that Coton de Tulears eat their pooh. Well she did, and maybe still does unless I go out with her and pick it up immediately. This means I have to stand out in the pouring rain with her when she wants to go to the toilet.
When she was checked out, the vet suggested puppy-training classes, but I stupidly thought I could do it on my own. After all, I had had two dogs, both beautifully trained, and of wonderful disposition. How wrong I was. I am signing up for puppy training classes this week, if not for her, definitely for me!
Posted in Pets
Tagged dog, puppy, training