News

Alan Rickman meets Broadway censorship; and Preston from Big Brother finds it’s hard to be an editor

Alan Rickman

A couple of interesting stories in The Independent’s Pandora today. First, but less amusing, is the news that Alan Rickman is fuming after getting his play cancelled by the Broadway theatre that was supposed to be staging it. The New York Theater Workshop claimed Rickman’s filming commitments, among other things, had forced them to cancel the play concerning the death of a peace activist at the treads of an Israeli army tank. But dear old Alan (who was once kind enough to send me his autograph so that I could give it to one of his fans as a birthday present) wrote a strongly worded letter to point out that they were telling a bunch of porkies. Only sounding a little bit like a conspiracy theorist, he said the theatre had caved under pressure from local Jewish leaders (whoever they might be). Whatever the reason, the moral of this story is not to cross Alan.

Preston from CBB

Story two, which is far more amusing, concerns that Preston from the Ordinary Boys, whom most people know from Celebrity Big Brother. Someone at the BBC, whose brain had clearly been infected by some kind of Brighton-based lead paint (it’s the Islington-based lead paint of the South), thought it would be a simply super idea to get him to be guest editor for the BBC South Sunday Politics Show. Well, what do you know – turns out it’s all going a bit pear-shaped: he can’t get any of the people he wanted to show up. Didn’t see that one coming.

It’s always entertaining to see a TV show such as Wife Swap where people are parachuted into other people’s jobs and find they’re not that easy to master in a week – again how surprising? But why are some journalists so masochistic and deprived of self-esteem that they think that their own job is a complete doddle and even the untrained lead singer of ska band could do it? Having guest editors is just as bad as a free DVD in a newspaper – it’s more effort, makes the final product worse and the audience you get is only ever temporary. Forget misplaced ideals of making your show accessible to “ordinary people” (and who are they supposed to be exactly?) – do your job properly and the “ordinary” viewers should follow.

Theatre

Otherwise Engaged

Otherwise Engaged

Just realised that I promised elsewhere that I was going to review Otherwise Engaged, a revival of the 1975 Simon Gray play, starring Richard E Grant and Anthony Head. I’ve been holding off on this one, much as I’ve held off reviewing Broken Flowers, on the general grounds that I didn’t know what to make of it. There are spoilers in it, so look away now if you don’t want to know what happens.

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Robert Newman and Mark Thomas

Went to see Robert Newman and Mark Thomas at the Broadway Theatre last night. Mark Thomas was pretty good, purveying less agitprop than he did with last year’s “boycott Coca Cola because they collude with murdering Colombian paramilitaries” tour. Unfortunately, for his regular attendees, there was some repeated material, which was a shame, since he’s usually not short of new material.
Thomas at least knows how to tell a joke and make people laugh, though, something that Robert Newman appears to have forgotten. I last saw Newman at the infamous Wembley Arena gig he did with David Baddiel back in the early 90s and he seems to have degenerated since then. Fair enough, Newman had a cold, but not only did he mumble most of his act, it was absolutely incoherent. And, oh dear, he appears to have read a book or two and wants to show off.

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