Saw Hamilton yesterday, at last, after hearing its praises sung for long time. They were right…..it is a glorious show, original, compelling and quite brilliant. I defy anyone to dislike it. The story is fascinating in itself and I will be reading the book…..it’s a very good way of educating anyone about the US’s early history as a country independent from England. King George III’s lament at losing the Colony, as it was then is one of the funnier parts of the show. Anyway congratulations again to Cameron Mackintosh for bringing yet another winner to London’s West End theatre scene.
Also just read, in one sitting, Phyllida Law’s hilarious book Dead Now of Course, about her very early days as a young actress.I knew Philly as she is known, for a while, when we both served on the committee of The Theatrical Guild….know then as The Ladies Theatrical Guild…an old charity set up by the leading ladies of the 19th century theatre to help needy and distressed back stage staff. Since both my uncle and my grandfather had been members of the amazing back stage staff, who keep the shows going, I thought it an appropriate charity on which to serve. I was, for a while, the Treasurer! But I wasn’t handy with Excel in those days, only paper, pencil (with a much used eraser on the end) and calculator and in the end resigned from the position. However part of the pleasure was knowing Philly as she is known. She is a lovely, witty Scottish lady and a fine actress. Her book is very funny and full of snippets about a few people I have known.
Apparently Peter O’Toole sold yo-yo’s outside Selfridges ( department store). I sold fancy bottle corks INSIDE Harrods ( department store)….we have all done it as out of work actors, who need to put food on the table.
I love doing film, but more often than not, there is a bit more fun doing theatre. Long runs can be boring, so actors start to behave badly sometimes, playing jokes on each other. Fortunately I didn’t get caught up in too much of that- I am a terrible giggler and have a hard time controlling it. The theatre is an entertaining part of an actor’s life. One of my best performances was in a wonderful play Country Dance at the Hampstead Theatre Club with Edward Fox and I playing, brother and sister, who have rather incestuous feelings towards one another. Eddie is a wonderful actor and I loved working with him. Our Director, decided that we should do some improvisation in rehearsal, which involved brother and sister regressing to playtime in the nursery and playing “doctors and nurses” and all that that implied. Edward and I were both serious, classically trained actors out of RADA and this “new” way of working did not go down very well with Eddie……remember this was the sixties and we were just away from of Noel Coward and into Arnold Wesker etc and “realistic, so called kitchen sink” drama. Eddie, though being a gentleman, did as he was asked and we
proceeded to crawl about on the floor playing little children….however the “doctor and nurse” bit though went a bit too far with examining our bodies etc, as children do and the Director took offence and decided we weren’t taking our work seriously enough, he stopped the rehearsal. But Eddie and I had a lot of fun, a good laugh. The play and the performances got good reviews and the job got me the part in The Lion in Winter, as O’Toole had seen the play.
Signing off for now from London – rather sad that UK is currently the laughing stock of the world….Hamilton et al, were probably right to get out while they could!