A new piece is up, MAJOR BRYLCREEM OR MY ADVENTURES IN THE CCF (LINKED). It’s a companion piece to the school experience articles, LANGUAGE LEARNING IN BRITAIN PAST and ENG. LIT IN BRITAIN PAST. It’s a humorous memory of my state grammar’s school’s Combined Cadet Force in the 1960s, and how and why I got ‘dishonourably discharged ‘ from it.

An addition to the 60s Pop Exploitation films reviews, EVERY DAY’S A HOLIDAY from 1964. Yes, I watch them so you don’t have to. This one featured two rapidly fading stars, John Leyton and Mike Sarne acting as new entertainers at a Holiday Camp (Butlins Clacton-on-Sea). Some good supports … Ron Moody, Liz Fraser, Michael Ripper. The Mojos are good. Freddie & The Dreamers must have thought themselves amusing.

The Doctor, ‘created by Robert Icke’ (LINK TO REVIEW)was a major critical success at The Almeida Theatre in 2019. Its long-delayed transfer to the West End has finally arrived and we saw it at Bath Theatre Royal, where it previewed for a week. It’s on its way to the Duke of York’s Theatre. The play is based on Arthur Schnitzler’s 1912 play ‘Professor Bernhadi.’ At a private clinic a young girl is brought in suffering from a botched abortion. The doctor, (Juliet Stevenson) refuses to allow a Catholic priest to enter her room and give her the last rites, as she wants her to die in peace (without knowing she’s dying). That’s the start. Then the trouble begins.

The Narcissist (LINK TO REVIEW) is a new play by American dramatist Christopher Shinn, opening at Chichester Festival Theatre’s Minerva stage. Featuring Harry Lloyd as Jim, a political spin doctor, sought out by an American Senator (Claire Skinner) to help her campaign for president. The thing is, Jim has troubles of his own with his co-author, with his drug addict brother and his toxic partner, then with a gay waiter. An innovative set design allows us to ‘hear’ his constant text message interchanges. Like most Chichester first runs, it will probably go to London.

A “rant” added on air travel. I was a frequent flier, but my last flight had been late 2018. We didn’t fly at all in 2019, then Covid lockdown cancelled our travel plans for 2020. So here we are in September 2022 with our first flight in four years, waiting to see WHAT’S HAPPENED TO AIR TRAVEL? (LINK TO ARTICLE) Follow the link for my thoughts on air travel 2022, and this is only short haul!

Review of ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL at the RSC, 2022 (follow link).It’s a rarely performed one. In 2013, the RSC did it so incredibly well that I couldn’t understand why this “problem play” was under-rated. Now we’re in 2022, completing the RSC’s trawl through the complete works of Shakespeare (minus a couple). So how did they do? IS the play under-rated? Read on … Picture is Jamie Wilkes as Paroles, the boasting soldier and Rosie Sheehy as Helena.

This is a review of something everyone can access. The new version of Chekhov’s UNCLE VANYA (link to review) opened in London in February 2020. It starred Toby Jones as Vanya, Richard Armitage as Dr Astrov, with Aimee Lou Wood (from Sex Education TV series) as Sonya and Rosalind Eleazar as Yelena. Covid killed it after a few performances. They had to replace Ciaron Hinds (who had played Alexander Serebryakov), because he was filming. So they re-cast with Roger Allam, then they went back onto the stage, the set was still there, and they filmed it in the empty theatre. It was hailed as a 5 star version of the play and it is. It’s on blu-ray and DVD and must be streaming too. Well worth it … the blu-ray was a fraction of our tickets for the Harold Pinter Theatre cancelled performance. The close-ups improve it.

There hasn’t been an addition to “REVILED! The Albums Critics Love To Hate” at Around and Around for a while. Now we add (Sweet) Gene Vincent. Released in January 1970, Gene Vincent’s penultimate album, I’m Back and I’m Proud (FOLLOW THIS LINK) had major session musicians and a state of the art studio, but sometimes you just can’t improve on an artist’s classic era. The article has a great deal on Gene Vincent in general.


At AROUND AND AROUND: Dandelion was John Peel and Clive Selwood’s short-lived 1969 to 1972 record label, named after Peel’s hamster. John Peel was an icon at the time, but displayed a remarkable lack of acumen in choosing artists for his label. It’s quite a story, full of acerbic quotes from co-owner Clive Selwood on the artists. LINK TO DANDELION ARTICLE.

I’m getting through the 2022 film releases. The latest review (Follow the link) is THE PHANTOM OF THE OPEN with Mark Rylance, Sally Hawkins and Rhys Ifans. This is based on the real person, Maurice Flitcroft, who wangled his way into the Open Golf Championships several times, and did so badly that he was known (to his annoyance) as The Worst Golfer In The World. A genuinely heart-warming comedy. Seethe review. No plot spoilers.