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The Happy Haven/John Arden

Bob Tickler recently received an unusual item by email from an old school friend – namely, the programme of a play The Happy Haven by John Arden which was a school play by his junior school in which he had a non-speaking role as a Lady Mayoress. He forwarded it onto me and asked if I knew [...]

March 4, 2021 // 0 Comments

Blithe Spirit (1945)

It was a mix of incompetence and coincidence that led to me watching this week the DVD of David Lean’s 1945 production of the Noel Coward play Blithe Spirit recently again released as a film. I fancied listening to some of the songs composed and sung by The Master. I recall my parents stack of [...]

January 27, 2021 // 0 Comments

The gay issue

There has been quite a debate over the wholly gay casting of Russell Davies’ latest offering It’s A Sin. On the Radio 4 show Start The Week presented by Andrew Marr on Mondays Russell Davies defended the casting on the grounds that there was unfair prejudice to gay parts. There should be, [...]

January 20, 2021 // 0 Comments

Fiddler on the Roof

Last night on Sky Arts there was a fascinating programme about the continuing appeal of Fiddler on the Roof since its first Broadway production of Jerome Robbins in 1964. Every day since then there has been a production of the musical somewhere in the world. I was fortunate to see the first London [...]

December 31, 2020 // 0 Comments

The End Of The Year Show

Reflecting upon what by any yardstick has been a crowded and extraordinary 2020 – viewed in two tranches from the inside of supposed lockdowns but otherwise generally (as usual) from my habitual sedentary position in front my television and computer screens – I have been struck repeatedly time [...]

December 16, 2020 // 0 Comments

A farewell to two notables

At our stage of life – it comes with the territory – brushes with mortality in one form or another attend Rusters all too often but it is fitting that today we salute two Brits whose deaths were announced on Thursday. DAME DIANA RIGG Diana Rigg will remain an iconic figure in British [...]

September 11, 2020 // 0 Comments


I had reservations about listening to the broadcast last night on Radio 3 of Michael Frayn’s play Copenhagen for 3 reasons. Niels Bohr 1) It is based on the meeting in 1941 of two leading physicists Niels Bohr, a Jewish Dane, and Werner Eisenberg, a Jewish German who headed up the Nazi nuclear [...]

May 25, 2020 // 0 Comments

Bill Naughton

I  was asked to submit films to a list based on the theme of “As good as or better than the book on which it was based”. One of my submissions Alfie was correctly rejected as it began life not as a novel but a BBC radio play. I should have known this as the writer Bill Naughton was a [...]

May 20, 2020 // 0 Comments

You win some … and lose some

Listening to the radio overnight I thought I heard that sales of jigsaws – according to one interviewee, a representative of that industry – have soared over 800% since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, particularly among the 24 to 35 age group. This figures, because – if [...]

May 2, 2020 // 0 Comments


Whilst a new play by 82 year old Tom Stoppard is a significant theatrical event, your correspondent cannot be numbered amongst his greatest fans. For me he is more of a wordsmith than a playwright and too clever by half. He has a talent for comic writing but I have always felt unfulfilled by his [...]

March 13, 2020 // 0 Comments

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