Only Fools and Horses dinner show row – ‘a nasty battle’ (your views, December 20, 2018)
What a battle – and a nasty one (‘Only Fools: feud over dinner rivals escalates’, News, December 13, p1).
Interactive Theatre International claims it is not using any material from the series. As you cannot copyright an idea or financially control an impersonation or tribute, then no royalties can be involved. So these companies are fighting over something that is not subject to copyright. It will be interesting to see what happens.
These dining experience shows use a variant of the title of the sitcoms in their publicity material, and presumably characters not unlike those in the shows to entertain the guests over dinner.
If someone is making money from those properties and not passing on a percentage, surely the original copyright holders are losing out.
Programming the Everyman
While Liverpool’s Everyman and Playhouse leaving Arts Council England’s national portfolio is unfortunate (‘Liverpool Everyman drops out of national portfolio amid money woes’, News, December 13, p2), the programming is to blame.
Audiences are out there, but if you use them as guinea pigs to drive forward diversity, inclusivity and gender-blind casting (all of which have merit), they may flock away in their droves, as Liverpool has witnessed.
Box office is everything, and ultimately it will decide which plays theatres programme – for good or bad.
The Everyman and Playhouse are an excellent pair of theatres producing great work.
It seems to me that Liverpool’s Royal Court is doing very well at producing the sort of local programming that used to feature regularly at the Playhouse and the Everyman. There was a time when Alan Bleasdale and Willy Russell were writing for both theatres.
Has the Royal Court stolen all that thunder, or have the (now combined) Everyman and Playhouse failed to connect locally?
Disabled ticketing row
In the case of the choreographer being asked to prove her disability to buy a ticket to her own show, I can understand where See Tickets is coming from (News, December 13, p1).
A permit is required to use a disabled parking space, for example. How is this scenario any different? I would have thought those who are entitled to those seating areas would be glad that their facilities are being protected.
With home-grown stage magic having being largely absent from British television in the past couple of years, The Stage might have paid more attention to the We Are Most Amused and Amazed gala broadcast on November 13.
Having comedians in the gala was unnecessary as they already receive plenty of TV exposure: hosting and participating in quizzes, acting, appearing on chat shows and occasionally telling jokes in front of an audience.
The royal show could still have been titled after that mangled Queen Victoria quote with a bill consisting entirely of magicians, many of whom use funny patter as part of their act. Magicians’ galas exhibiting a wide variety of performing styles are produced routinely in Britain every year, so it would not have been difficult to compile two hours of televised conjuring. Perhaps even Kylie or Cheryl could have been involved, rather than just doing the intros for archive footage. They might have creased their posh frocks, but that used to be good enough for Leslie Caron.
In Network, Howard Beale said: “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not gonna take this anymore!” I’m getting there.
Having a stressful job and working long hours, I like to lose myself in a wonderful performance. But, increasingly, I can’t. Most patrons behave well, but a not-so-silent minority doesn’t. I don’t expect audience members to sit there like stuffed dummies, but some fidget, talk or use mobile phones during the show.
Personally I favour trapdoors, but instead I’m telling others to tell management. Considerate customers need ‘protecting’ or they may not come back. I’m heading that way myself.
When, as in The King and I, librettist and lyricist have done a good job, everyone leaves the theatre humming the songs. Little wonder that the coach party behind Claire Adams (Letters, September 6, p6) joined in with Getting to Know You – the song is indelibly in their minds.
If anything should be banned, it’s rising to one’s feet when applauding the cast, blocking view of the stage for anyone seated behind.
Quotes of the week
“When you’re a working actor and you’ve got children and a mortgage to pay, work is work. It gets to a point where you go, ‘I can’t go back to theatre at the moment because I have young children. How do I get into a character again and a script again and how do I make decisions again? How can I be brave again? Where do I find my freedom?’” – Actor Eve Myles (Times)
“I didn’t want to go anywhere near it [theatre]. I thought it was full of self-indulgent, narcissistic people.” – Director Marianne Elliott (Evening Standard)
“I like horror, I like comedy, I like the genre. I like to entertain people. Some stuff I’ve done people have hated, and that has probably hindered my career. What I do some people will really love and some people will despise. But I get surprised and hurt when people take offence as if I am just doing it to fuck with them.” – Playwright Anthony Neilson (Times)
“My whole job in Scotland for nine years had been about what is a national theatre? Then you get here and London – even though I love it – suddenly seems incredibly small-minded in one way. Everyone is measuring success against another London theatre, not on its own merits.” – London’s Royal Court artistic director Vicky Featherstone (i)
“When you have a couple of shows in the Olivier theatre that haven’t caught light, you can feel the morale and the cash draining away. Then you get a hit and the weather changes. But that’s the point, in a way: it’s empirical. Your policy as an artistic director is the shows you choose to do and the people you get to do them. That’s how you show what your organisation is about.” – Director Richard Eyre on running the National Theatre (Guardian)
“A lot have seen the trailer for our Brexit film and I can’t wait to engage reasonably to curious Q’s once it’s actually been seen. Until then, abusive language and misinformation should never intimidate writers/artists working on politically sensitive themes.” – Playwright James Graham (Twitter)
“I want to see people my colour. I want to see people from different horizons coming to Rambert, that’s one of my missions. We can’t alienate anybody and we cannot be elitist. A lot of people say, ‘I feel stupid when I see dance because I don’t understand.’ I say, whatever you feel is right. Good or bad, there is no manual.” – Rambert’s new artistic director Benoit Swan Pouffer (Guardian)
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