Gently does it. The Fitzrovia Radio Hour takes us back to the droll and elegant world of light entertainment in the 1940s when the airwaves were full of racy detective shows and overheated melodramas about pushy Yorkshiremen and rogue Nazis.
In the absence of any operas to attend, I’ve been reading the most recent defence of ‘director’s opera’, a book with the characteristic title Unsettling Opera, by the American academic David J. Levin.
It’s that time of year. The great reckoning is upon us. Insurance is being renewed. Tax returns are being ferreted out. Roofing jobs are being appraised and budgeted for. And spouses are being trundled into central London for the annual session of dialysis at the theatre.
I couldn’t wait for this one. Nina Raine’s debut play Rabbit was a blast. With exquisite scalpel-work she dissected the romantic entanglements of a quartet of posh young professionals. Her new effort, Tribes, opens on similar terrain. A family of bourgeois Londoners are seated around the dinner table punishing each other with rhetorical flick-knives. Dad and Mum are writers. Ruth is a jobless soprano. Dan is wasting his youth smoking skunk and writing an impenetrable thesis on linguistics.
According to some, Onegin is the ultimate expression of John Cranko’s choreographic and theatrical genius.
‘We’re a beastly family, and I hate us!’ laments Sorel Bliss in Hay Fever. And at first it seems all four Blisses share that sentiment.
Who’s my favourite stage actress? Since you ask, Olivia Williams in Shakespeare and Nancy Carroll in anything.