George bernard shaw

As gripping as an Agatha Christie thriller: Shooting Hedda Gabler, at the Rose Theatre, reviewed

The unlovely Rose Theatre in Kingston is a modest three-storey eyesore. The concrete foyer looks like an exercise area on a North Sea oil platform, and the auditorium itself is a whitewashed rotunda that resembles the chapel in a newly built prison. Yet this cheerless, functional space is perfect for a mischievous new satire, Shooting Hedda Gabler, about recent developments in the acting trade. The central character, Hedda (Antonia Thomas), is a washed-up American starlet who wants to gain artistic credibility by taking the lead in a pretentious film version of Hedda directed by Henrik, a tyrannical Norwegian auteur. ‘There is no script,’ he announces on the opening day. But

The folly of garden cities

In his 1981 autobiography A Better Class of Person, the playwright John Osborne described an encounter he’d recently had with an actor who’d bought a house in Finlay Street, Fulham for £15,000. Osborne, having lived on the same street in the 1930s when properties there changed hands for £300, was astonished by the sum. Yet, as Simon Matthews notes in House in the Country, £15,000 was then only 3.5-3.75 times the average national earnings, while to buy a house on Finlay Street today you’d need £2,136,667 – which works out at 69 times the current average annual salary. In the light of the government’s recent proposal of a ‘benefits to