Tuesday, 24 November 2009


Further to my last post, when I was having a little moan about various confusing bits of advice I received, I wanted to clarify that I'm immensely grateful to people who can be arsed to read my random nonsense. I'm just a bit not sure what to do with it all sometimes.

But hell, I need to get a grip. My job is all about frickin' editing. No reason I can't edit my own stuff. Just need a bit of clarity...

Next up, when I have some spare brain, an exclusive review of the latest show in town!

(Not really, it's this, which has been on for a million years, but I'm not going to let that stop me chipping in my two-pennorth. Whatever a pennorth is.)

Tuesday, 17 November 2009


What not to do when you return to writing a script after several months of not writing:

Don't under any circumstances get over-excited by your own brilliance and show your script to other people. And definitely not to more than one person.

And if you are foolish enough to do these things, don't encourage people to give you advice or comments on what you've written, because they will inevitably provide contradictory and downright confusing advice along the lines of:

'I love your main character don't you think you should change the entire narrative arc because the ending doesn't work...'

'I love the narrative arc but why doesn't your character have a more distinctive voice?'

'Your main character has an amazingly distinctive voice but why don't you set it in Grantham?'

(I don't why I said the last one. Clearly it's not real. Who would give you this kind of advice? Unless, perhaps you were writing a script about the early life of Margeret Thatcher and thought it would be thrilling to set it on Mars in a brave stab at a kind of counter-historical/fantasy genre. In which case it might be sensible advice.)

So when you sensibly haven't shown your script to anyone, and haven't had the remains of your brain power utterly scrambled by bucket loads of advice, you presumably won't feel confused and unsure and generally a bit stuck about where to go next.

I imagine.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Comedians by Trevor Griffiths

Comedians was written in 1975, but it's a very timely revival, what with the recent Jimmy Carr/Frankie Boyle nonsense.

It's a play that looks at the purpose of comedy and what the things we laugh at say about us. For a comedian, what is the real cost of going for a cheap laugh?

It's brilliantly structured over the course of an evening: firstly, the nightclass where a number of aspriring comedians prepare for their big break - a showcase at a local club attended by a talent scout/agent. Then, the routines themselves, then the post-mortem of how it all went.

There's one pretty compelling reason to see this production, namely the cast, which includes Matthew Kelly, Mark Benton and Reece Shearsmith (ex League of Gentleman, total genius, and disturbingly attractive in full 70s get-up, including greasy moustache. I digress.)

I don't know if Keith Allen is a deeply unpleasant individual or an exceptional actor, but he's certainly very convincing as the arsehole agent.

I was going to have a whinge about how David Dawson hadn't had enough recognition for his frankly amazing performance as Gethin, but then I read the reviews properly and it turns out everyone thought he was great, not just me. So that's alright then.

This is an intelligent, thoughtful production that generates some decent laughs along side some genuinely uncomfortable moments as racist jokes of (hopefully) yesteryear make the audience wince.

After the mystifyingly well-received Punk Rock at the same theatre, this is a play that has something to say, and says it well.

This is the latest in my continuing series of reviews that go up just as shows are about to finish, but if you can get tickets for the last week of the production, it's well worth seeing.