Category Archives: Culture

Movies in flight

Some people hate long-haul flights.

I don’t. I embrace the opportunity to strap myself in to an enclosed space for hour after hour. The options are limited, so the distractions of daily life are eliminated.

Get stuck into that book that has been gathering dust on your bedside table for months. Read up on all the exciting stuff you can do when you touch down in a new destination. Listen to some tunes. Talk to someone. Or just think.

But best of all, check out the movies that you can watch on demand, on the personal screen a couple of feet in front of your decompressing face.

On a recent BA flight back from Cape Town I almost had a toiletary malfunction when I saw that Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri was available.

Image courtesy of the New York Times

How original, beautifully acted and darkly humorous Martin McDonagh’s cinematic masterpiece is. Frances McDormand must be odds-on favourite for the Best Actress Oscar, and as good as Sam Rockwell is as stupid, violent deputy Dixon, I hope Woody Harrelson gets the Best Supporting Actor nod as vilified, cancer-riddled police Chief William Willoughby.

Battle of the Sexes didn’t compare with Three Billboards, but it was an entertaining way to spend a couple of hours after dinner, and knowing that my land-based insomnia wasn’t going to disappear in the air.

It captures 1973 uncannily well, the year when Billie Jean King played ageing hustler Bobby Riggs in a symbolic tennis match, at the same time as she fought to discover her own sexuality. The ever brilliant Emma Stone looks uncannily like BJK, and Steve Carell is surprisingly good as feckless opportunist Riggs.

Still sleep wouldn’t come, so I stumbled across an engagingly dry comedy with Ben Stiller on a road trip to check out colleges in Boston with his son. Brad runs his own not-for-profit organisation, has a happy, comfortable home life but feels he has missed out, compared with his own high-achieving college friends. And now his son  Troy is going to fly into the stratosphere too….

Turns out this charming and poignant film is called Brad’s StatusSadly, I don’t know how things end up for Brad, as we landed back at Gatwick before the credits rolled . I was tempted to ask the crew if they could do another couple of circuits around the south of England…..

On the way down to Cape Town, the stand-out movie on offer was The Big Sick. In this charming clash-of-cultures comedy, a Pakistan-born stand-up comedian living in the USA falls in love with a very American student. Emily succumbs to a mystery illness, and Kumail has to navigate his way through families, faith and friendships.

With no sign of sleep things got Stronger, the true story of Jeff Bauman, who lost both legs while watching his girlfriend near the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon. Jake Gyllenhaal plays the inspirational Everyman, fighting battles with his girlfriend and blue-collar family whilst putting on a brave face to the outside world.

And just as I thought I would pull my earplugs out and close the aching eyes, I stumbled across the full-length film version of previously televised series The Trip to Spain.

I have been obsessed with The Trip, since its original incarnation in the north of England back in 2010. Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon visit six posh restaurants, to review them for a newspaper. Beautifully filmed on location, the real story is the competitive friendship between the two stars, each addressing life and their respective careers in very different ways.

The beauty of the format is that you’re unsure how much is real and how much is feigned. You get to watch a documentary, a drama, comedy, and a food and travel program all at the same time. And then it improved again on The Trip to Italy, with incredible scenery, mouthwatering food, the introduction of interesting peripheral characters and more uncannily good impressions of famous people by both Coogan and Brydon, each convinced theirs is better.

The Trip to Spain was a trip too far when watching the episodic TV version, but on the big screen – well, actually a tiny mid-air one – it seemed to flow much better. Muy bien, amigos.

Where next, I wonder? Perhaps fate will have me watching The Trip to Australia just as we fly over Alice Springs en route to Sydney….

 

 

 

Book review – Lullaby by Leila Slimani

This is a shocking tale, beautifully told. And the scarcely believable denouement is laid bare on the first page:

‘The baby is dead. It took only a few seconds. The doctor said he didn’t suffer. The broken body, surrounded by toys, was put inside a grey bag, which they zipped shut. The little girl was still alive when the ambulance arrived….’

This is no whodunnit either. Louise, the children’s nanny, killed her charges. But the background to why is told sensitively and in almost a staccato literary style, with short sentences and chapters, in what is more a novella than a full-blown novel.

Myriam, a French-Moroccan lawyer and her husband Paul, an ambitious music producer, seemingly have it all. But when Myriam decides to go back to work after having their second child, they need a nanny.

At first Louise seems too good to be true, quickly making herself indispensable to the family. But with deft writing, unpeeling Louise’s troubled past and gradually changing the dynamics between the family and their needy nanny, the author prepares the ground for the unthinkable conclusion.

In such a short book, it’s remarkable that Leila Slimani has managed to raise so many important issues ‘de nos jours’, in addition to the main sad story – society’s attitudes to motherhood; social deprivation; domestic violence; mental health problems; the immigrant underclass; and more.

Translated by Sam Taylor from the original French – entitled ‘Chanson Douce’ – it’s no surprise that this book won France’s most prestigious literary Prix Goncourt in 2016.

The novel is firmly based in Paris, with a poignant contrast drawn between the luxurious arondissement where Myriam and Paul live, and the remote slum banlieu where Louise rents a run-down apartment. But it is the dark, unsettling story of how a nanny comes to murder her charges that will linger in the mind long after you’ve turned the final page.

Bravo Leila Slimani.

Movie review – The Shape of Water

Would you walk into a restaurant, not knowing if you were going to be eating a juicy steak, Bombay Duck or monkey’s brains?

Or would you risk going to the airport, unsure if you’re flying to a beach, a forest or to the Antarctic?

No? Thought not. But that’s sort of what happens at Odeon’s Screen Unseen presentations. As Forrest Gump’s Mom told him: ‘life is like a box of chocolates: you never know what you’re gonna get.’

We’ve seen some cracking films at this pot-luck movie-fest….but we’ve also seen some dogs. And that’s the point: you’ll most likely see something you wouldn’t ordinarily choose to watch, and isn’t that worth the risk….even if you don’t find Oscar gold every time?

On Monday night in Guildford, many of the audience whooped with relief and happiness when the credits revealed The Shape of Water. Gill and I looked dumbly at each other in the half-light.

And the initial omens weren’t good. After 15 minutes, we couldn’t really tell if we were watching a sci-fi movie, a black comedy, a fantasy, a romance or a thriller.

As it turns out, The Shape of Water is all of those genres – and more – and what a cinematic treat it turns out to be.

At a top secret research facility in Baltimore in the late 1950s, mute, lonely and sexually frustrated cleaner Elisa Esposito (Sally Hawkins) forms a left-field relationship with a creature from the deep, being abused in captivity by violent security agent Colonel Richard Strickland (Michael Shannon).

Image courtesy of Rolling Stone

The unlikely plot evolves to include boiled eggs, Russian spies, the Space Race with the US, Elisa’s next door neighbour Giles – a failing artist and closet gay man – and Zelda, Elisa’s cleaning colleague and interpreter at work.

You just have to suspend your disbelief and revel in the movie magic of a love story beautifully told, with sensitivity, warmth and unbridled imagination. And just try to forget that the last time you saw Sally Hawkins she was Mrs Brown in Paddington 2.

Image courtesy of Celebzz

So go on…..get up off the couch on the first Monday in February and take a cinematic leap of faith with Odeon’s Screen Unseen.

 

 

Book review – My Absolute Darling

The word “masterpiece” has been cheapened by too many blurbs, but My Absolute Darling absolutely is one.’

This fulsome praise is wrapped around the cover of Gabriel Tallent‘s debut novel, and comes from the mouth of no less a literary giant than Stephen King. I’m not sure I can be quite as unequivocal, but there can be no doubt that My Absolute Darling is a dazzling work of fiction, bleak, shocking and portraying a depth of character that is both rare and unsettling.

Turtle Alveston is just 14, friendless and almost feral, living in woods on the wild northern California coast with her abusive father Martin. The house is filled with guns, mould, insects and latent violence. Turtle is regularly raped by Martin, but their unhealthy relationship is nevertheless rooted in a twisted form of love.

The story may be a hard one to read but the poetic lyricism of Tallent’s narrative is spellbinding:

He lays her down, fingertips dimpling her thighs, her ribs opening and closing, each swale shadowed, each ridge immaculate white. She thinks do it, I want you to do it. She lies expecting it at any moment, looking out the window at the small, green, new-forming alder cones and thinking, this is me, her thoughts gelled and bloody marrow within the piping of her hollow thighbones and the coupled, gently curved bones of her forearms. He crouches over her and in husky tones of awe, he says. “Goddamn, kibble, goddamn.”

The unholy equilibrium of their relationship is unbalanced by Turtle happening across a couple of boys from school – Jacob and Brett – and by Martin returning home with an even younger lost soul, Cayenne, whom Martin collected in dubious circumstances at a gas station.

There is a child on the porch, face in her hands, black hair in tangles, matchstick arms tiger-striped with bruises. The girl is nine or ten, maybe seventy pounds. When Martin gets out the truck, the girl looks up and runs to him. He picks her up by the armpits and swings her round, laughing. Then, with his arm around her shoulders, he walks her back to Turtle. 

Kibble,” he says, “this is Cayenne.”

The inevitably violent denouement is dripping with irony. Turtle’s affinity with nature, mental strength and familiarity with guns are inherited from Martin, but they might just ensure her survival.

I hope Hollywood is brave enough to transfer this challenging story to the big screen, in these sexually sensitive times, and I can’t wait to see what Gabriel Tallent chooses to write about in his second novel.

Image courtesy of The Times

 

Theatre review – White Christmas

White Christmas  – review for  Essential Surrey website.

Review: White Christmas by the Runnymede Drama Group

White Christmas is being performed by the Runnymede Drama Group at the Rhoda McGaw Theatre in Woking until December 9

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White Christmas is a wonderfully festive feel-good musical, up there with movies It’s a Wonderful Life and Love Actually to guarantee sending you home with an elfy spring in the step, and a song in even the most Scrooge-like heart.

Irving Berlin wrote the iconic song in 1940, and Bing Crosby’s recording of it in 1941 has since sold over 100 million copies. But it was the 1942 film Holiday Inn, starring Bing and Fred Astaire, which has probably done most to immortalise the music, within a heart-warming story.

This production of the musical version of White Christmas is performed by the Runnymede Drama Group, an amateur company but with a rich thespian heritage and renowned as one of the best am-dram groups in the country.

It’s Christmas Eve, 1944. American soldiers from the 151st Division are putting on a Christmas show, to rally the troops on the Western Front. Captain Bob Wallace and Private Phil Davis are natural performers, and close friends. The Division’s commanding officer, General Henry Waverley, is a stickler for discipline but with a heart, and a leg injury that is forcing him to return home. In his Christmas message, he prays for peace and wonders what life will be like in 10 years time…

Fast forward to 1954….Bob and Phil are stars of stage and screen, even appearing on the legendary Ed Sullivan Show. Phil fraternises with the showgirls, but Bob is more traditional and is drawn to Betty Haynes, one of the dancing and singing Haynes Sisters, when Phil engineers a visit to a club where the girls are performing.

The action migrates to Vermont – although Bob thinks he’s going to Florida for the Christmas holidays – where they are all staying at a struggling Inn owned by their old General, and where there is an unseasonal heat wave.

Each episode of the story is brought to animated life by song and dance, every member of the cast throwing themselves into the joyous spirit of the occasion. Count Your Blessings (instead of sheep!) is the advice given by Bob to Susan, the General’s grand-daughter; Let me Sing and I’m Happy is belted out beautifully by Martha, the Inn’s concierge and self-confessed busybody; Love You Didn’t Do Right by Me is the plaintive cry from Betty, back in New York and performing solo after she misjudges Bob.

But the real show-stopper is I Love A Piano, Phil and Betty’s sister Judy opening the second half in a blaze of tap-dancing glory with the rest of the troupe, piano keys on their lapels and fire in their shoes.

Leave your cynicism at the door and embrace this joyous tale of optimism and festive cheer. Come the final curtain, all the loose ends are neatly tied up with a large red Christmas bow and – spoiler alert – it even starts snowing on Christmas Eve, by which time the audience is singing along with the cast and good old Bing.

It would be wrong to call out any single member of this talented group. The whole production – from cast, dancers, set designers, the entire production team and to the excellent 11-strong band, whimsically visible in a retro-style recording booth – exudes professionalism and passion.

Congratulations and thanks to the Runnymede Drama Group for banishing any bah humbug thoughts. Let the festive period begin…

Theatre review – Nocturne – The Romantic Life of Frederic Chopin

What an original concept. Lucy Parham has scripted this engaging performance, fusing music and words as deftly as Rick Stein marries food and travel.

Lucy provides the magical music, some of the favourite piano concertos of Frédéric Chopin , as a dazzling soundtrack to the story of the composer’s romantic life.

Image courtesy of Classic FM

Esteemed thespians Alex Jennings and Patricia Hodge speak the words, the core of which is the outwardly surprising love affair between the delicate genius of young Chopin, newly arrived in Paris from Warsaw in 1831, and George Sand, the slightly older and sexually voracious literary sensation.

Through letters to each other, and occasionally from friends, we follow the lovers from Paris to a disastrous winter in Majorca, where Frédéric is plagued by a consumptive cough, on to Barcelona and back to France, where they at their happiest in Nantes.

But the affair is fated to end in disaster.

Frédéric dies in Paris, in relative poverty and at the tender age of 39, his short life dominated by ill health and melancholy, reflected in many of the pieces played so beautifully by Ms Parham.

This was a charming – and innovative – performance, but I must confess that I found myself more engaged by the words than by the music. And by Alex Jennings’ sensitive acting of his script more than by Patricia Hodge’s sometimes stuttering recital of hers.

Image courtesy of Alisa Connan

But in a nice personal squaring of the circle, this all gave some touching context to my stumbling across the charming hidden Musée de la Vie Romantique a few years ago, the home of Dutch artist Ary Scheffer in a cobbled back street of Montmartre, where the lovers would meet at his Friday salon.

Two of his most regular visitors were George Sand and her lover Frédéric Chopin. Somewhat bizarrely, you can see a plaster cast of her right arm – and the musician’s left hand – in one of the 8 small rooms forming this understated museum.

 

Theatre review – The Real Thing

The Real Thing – review for Essential Surrey website.

A revival of Tom Stoppard’s painfully witty play about love and infidelity is being performed at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford until Saturday 11 November

Mr. Ingram was my English teacher in the mid-1970s. He instilled in me a love of English language and literature that has endured, and for which I am constantly grateful. He introduced me to Tom Stoppard for old-fashioned ‘O’ & ‘A’ Levels, and – from hazy, distant memory – we studied ‘Jumpers’ and ‘Travesties’, both terribly clever, wordy works from the wunderkind playwright who was just hitting his considerably long stride.

By the time Stoppard wrote ‘The Real Thing’ in 1982, I was distracted by Real Life so it was a joy to see this play for the first time this week, in a revival performance that remains faithful to its period of creation.

Max is brooding and drinking in his minimalist urban lounge, building a house of cards that collapses when his actor wife Charlotte returns from a trip ‘abroad.’ After some wickedly witty wordplay, Max tells Charlotte that he has found her passport in the bedroom. She refuses to respond to Max’s accusations of infidelity, and leaves him.

It is only in the second scene that we come to understand that the first was the performance of a play, written by Henry, a renowned playwright who is himself married to Charlotte. In this real world, where life and art are often hard to distinguish, Henry is in love with Annie – Max’s wife and another actor, but also a nascent political activist – and they’re having an affair.

Fast forward two years: Max discovered Annie’s infidelity, and she and Henry have been married for a while. But cracks are beginning to show….

There are multiple themes in this intellectually challenging play. One is words. Writers and words. In a parallel thread, Annie has asked for Henry’s opinion on a play written by Brodie, a former soldier who has been imprisoned for making a misguided political gesture, and whose cause Annie has taken up.

I don’t think writers are sacred, but words are. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones in the right order, you might nudge the world a little or make a poem that children will speak for you when you are dead. Henry’s cricket bat analogy to compare his writing with Brodie’s is a huge hit, smashed over the literary boundary.

But the main theme of the play is love. Can The Real Thing survive betrayal and imbalance, infidelity and uncertainty?

‘I believe in mess, tears, pain, self-abasement, loss of self-respect, nakedness. Not caring doesn’t seem much different from not loving.’

Stoppard’s inspiration for The Real Thing came from being ‘intrigued by the playful thought of writing something in which the first scene turns out to have been written by a character in the second scene.’ Otherwise the play has less theatrical artifice than most of his others, and relies more on raw emotion oozing from the actors, as they bring the playwright’s dazzling wordplay to life.

Laurence Fox plays Henry in this emotionally charged revival, directed by Stephen Unwin. He acts with less outward exuberance than the rest of the excellent cast, but perhaps that is just his interpretation of a man constantly torn between his art, life and love.

Image courtesy of The Telegraph

And in the final twist of the play-within-a-play theme and life imitating art, it’s interesting to reflect that Stoppard had a long affair with Felicity Kendall, after she acted in the first performance of The Real Thing in 1982.

Image courtesy of The Telegraph

But it didn’t endure. Unlike my love of English. I wonder if Mr. Ingram is still alive….

Theatre review – Tango Moderno

Tango Moderno – review for Essential Surrey website.

5 STARS, November 1-4. This is an irresistible explosion of dance, music and song, says Andrew Morris

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The tango has its dance roots in the barrios of Buenos Aires, fused with immigrant influences and rhythms from Andalusia and Africa. It thrived in Argentina in the 1930s and exploded anew into the British consciousness with the huge success in recent years of Strictly Come Dancing.

The authentic Argentine tango exudes passion and physical closeness, ‘the heat of the streets and the pulse of life.’ To the spectator, the dance steps look impossibly intricate but for the dancers, the emotion is perhaps more important than the technique. As Al Pacino says in the famous scene from Scent of a Woman, ‘there are no mistakes in the tango. Unlike life.’

Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace have become synonymous with the tango revival in this country. Multiple UK, European and World Champion dancers, they have used their Strictly stardom to move into choreographing, and performing in, innovative new shows.

Their first – Midnight Tango – was based in a moody Buenos Aires bar, weaving a story of tangled love through dazzling displays of the authentic version of the dance.

They are now performing their fourth collaboration – Tango Moderno – co-choreographed with, and directed by, Karen Bruce and I was lucky to catch it at Woking’s New Victoria Theatre. Sadly, Vincent was injured and unable to dance, but his place has been taken temporarily by two world-class dancers, Italian Pasquale La Rocca and Argentinian Leonel Di Cocco.

Tango Moderno is heavily influenced by the classic Argentine dance, but the show has been deftly constructed to be so much more.

A dynamic team of youthfully exuberant dancers perform routines influenced by ballet, hip-hop, cha-cha-cha, break-dancing and many other styles. A cleverly consistent theme of searching for love runs through each piece, with whimsical sets energising the stories. In one, would-be lovers swipe a huge mobile phone screen to deliver Tinder-matches and entertainingly danced date nights. In another, the couples introduce garden tools into a dance. Really.

The story of the show is narrated by Tom Parsons, often in comedic rhyming couplets. The epitome of cool, he wanders through the performance like a roaming troubadour, guitar slung across his shoulder and breaking into excellent voice to accompany some of the dances. His delivery of Rag ‘n’ Bone Man’s I’m Only Human will haunt me for a while yet. Rebecca Lisewski shines with voice and is also one of the dance team.

But of course the star of the show is Flavia Cacace. She floats in and out of the danced love stories, and book-ends both halves of the show with sensual performances of the authentic Argentine tango, lithe limbs wrapping around her partner in a blur of ochossacadas and trabadas.

This quality of dance and song is only achieved with the help of equally professional musicians, especially from Oliver Lewis, a virtuoso performer who was recognised as the world record speed-violinist in 2010.

The final tango number, with a sensational marriage of classic Argentinian dance and raking violin, brought the house down, sending the rapturous audience out into the Woking barrio, in search of an empanada and dreaming of a trip to Buenos Aires.

Argentina map, courtesy of Encyclopedia Britannica

 

Theatre review – A Song at Twilight

A Song at Twilight – review for Essential Surrey website.

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(image courtesy of Alexey Kuznetsov)

I love ScripTease performances from the innovative team at Lynchpin Productions.

Classic, rarely performed or completely new plays are delivered as rehearsed readings. This creates a very different actor-audience dynamic, compared with a traditional play delivered on a large stage, accompanied by complex set designs and with multiple costume changes.

A ScripTease performance is stripped down to a few actors sitting on stools, the playwright’s words, some succinct stage directions read by one of the actors…..and the audience’s imagination.

At last night’s reading of Noël Coward’s A Song at Twilight, we may have started off in the intimate bar space at Guildford’s Electric Theatre, but we were immediately transported to the suite of an opulent lakeside hotel in Switzerland.

Sir Hugo Latymer is staying here for a few months, recovering from illness and lamenting the onslaught of old age. He spends his time abusing Hilde, his loyal Germanic wife of 20 years, and barking orders at Felix, the strapping young Italian-Austrian waiter. The literary titan of his generation is irascible, arrogant, rude and has a jaundiced view of humanity.

And he’s nervous about the impending arrival of Carlotta Gray, with whom he had a 2-year love affair more than 40 years ago. What can she possibly want now….revenge for what Sir Hugo wrote about her in his blunt autobiography? Money, after a less than stellar acting career in the United States, where she fled at the end of the affair? Or something less tangible, perhaps?

The stakes – and voices – are raised when Carlotta tells Hugo she is collaborating with a Harvard professor on a biography about him, and asks for permission to use some old love letters written by Hugo to her and to a mutual friend.

Coward’s script and the actors’ nuanced readings lead us through a labyrinth of witty words, bluff and counter-bluff, surprises and shocks, camouflaged lives and missed opportunities, to a surprising denouement.

Alan Freeman and Rowan Suart clearly enjoy their verbal jousting as Hugo and Carlotta, Edie Campbell’s subtle German accent never wavers and belies Hilde’s inner strength, and Ray Murphy switches seamlessly between the roles of subservient Felix and stage director.

‘A Song at Twilight is the first in a trilogy of plays entitled Suite in Three Keys, which Noël Coward called his ‘swan song’. Each takes place in the same suite of a luxurious hotel in Switzerland.’ Jack Lynch of LynchPin Productions is considering whether ScripTease will perform readings of the other two plays. I hope they do.

Theatre review – Green Forms and Say Something Happened

Green Forms and Say Something Happened – review for Essential Surrey website.

This Alan Bennett double-bill is being performed at the Nomad Theatre in East Horsley until October 28.

Would you like some Marmite on your toast, Mam?’

Remember when our Margaret was late for school, Dad? She made that much of a fuss when we gave her Marmite soldiers for breakfast. She even missed seeing Bert, the Lollipop man, and got into proper trouble with Mrs Swinson.’

If you’re a fan of Alan Bennett, you will love this double-bill of a couple of his rarely seen plays (from 1978 & 1982), currently being performed by Graham Pountney’s Theatre Reviva! community theatre company.

In Green Forms, spinster Doris Rutter and younger married Doreen Bidmead idle their way through a working day in the Precepts and Invoices department of a large national organisation. Processing a single form gets in the way of endless cups of tea, gossiping about people in other branch offices, and re-directing forms to the dreaded Personnel department upstairs.

But the cold wind of change is blowing through their mundane working lives. The computerisation word is whispered in hushed tones. Redundancies have been announced at other branches. And why have they suddenly got a positive avalanche – well, six – Precept forms landing in their in-tray today.

With a bit of unusually energetic detective work, Doreen and Doris realise that Dorothy Binns – the ominous harbinger of change – is coming to work in their cosy office.

Mam Elizabeth and retired Dad Arthur Rhodes are in their 60s, comfortable sitting in their armchairs and with their own company, content reading the newspaper and twitching the curtains to watch the leaves falling from the neighbour’s garden onto their path. Mam is wondering whether she should wash one or two stockings today….

In Say Something Happened, their peace is interrupted one autumnal day by the unexpected arrival of June Potter, a gentle but inexperienced young lass from Social Services.

As I see it, young people have a lot to give old people, and old people have a lot to give young people. You know….caring.’

June has a questionnaire, so that she can make a list of at-risk elderly people for the local Council to keep an eye on. She means well, but is out of her depth with the independent, able-bodied and outwardly perfectly contented couple.

June crumbles as Mam and Dad resist her attempts to pigeon-hole them, and the emptiness of her own life is laid bare as Mam and Dad tell June about their ambitious high-flying daughter – ‘our Margaret’ – whose postcards from around the world adorn the lounge.

But Mam shares a secret with June, and as the deflated young council worker leaves there is a suggestion that the old couple might need to place the patronising HELP sign in their window at some time in the future, after all.

Image courtesy of Melville House Books

Bennett’s genius is his ability to wring meaning and nuance from the minutiae of daily life, and from the cadence of everyday conversations. That outward simplicity and inner depth is beautifully acted by the cast in these two short plays: by Reviva! Founder and Director Graham Pountney as a delivery man in Green Forms and as Dad in Say Something Happened, by Catharine Humphrys as Doris and Mam, and by Louisa Lawrenson as Doreen and June.

And whoever knew that the charming Nomad Theatre was tucked away behind the shops lining East Horsley’s Bishopsmead Parade, camouflaged like Bennett’s perceptive writing?