The King’s Name is a Tower of Strength

What: Richard III by William Shakespeare

Where: The Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-Upon-Avon

When: Late June to early July 2022

Who: The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC)

This is a very good RSC production. It fades a little in the final third but on the whole, it has much to offer. And frankly, if you look through my recent reviews of the Stratford-Upon-Avon-based theatre, it hasn’t been too often I have been able to say that in the last 5 years.

Of course, the shutdown because of the pandemic has affected the percentages, but some productions have been a real struggle.

The recent Much Ado Nothing had some good sections. Measure for Measure and the Comedy of Errors were absolutely excellent, and far, far beyond my expectations. But, most often the RSC seems to have been embroiled in experimentation, tricky notions and slightly bizarre shapes for their own shape.

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…Doth Indeed Show some Sparks of Wit…

What: Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare

Where: Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-Upon-Avon

Who: The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC)

When: Viewed week of 14th February to 18th of February (runs until 12th March 2022)

Attempts to evoke some sparks of negativity around the principles of the RSC’s productions do become a little tired. The artistic director of this production spoke of a “racist backlash” to the casting of this play. I cannot speak to this directly but having spoken to various audience members, over the days that I attended the show, nobody seemed to be particularly concerned about the casting although some did have other axes to grind.

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Out of Hell… And Back into Hell Again

Bat out of Hell – The Musical, touring version

January – November 2022 (various venues)

  1. If I have seen the show before (during its two West End stints), what differences will I notice?

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Your Jest is Earnest… I familiarly sometimes do use you for my fool and chat with you.

What: The Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare

When: July 21 and 22, 2021

Where: The Lydia and Manfred Gorvy Garden Theatre, Stratford-Upon-Avon

Who: The Royal Shakespeare Company

William Shakespeare’s play “The Comedy of Errors” is a better play than many believe and the Royal Shakespeare Company current production of it is better than I expected…

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A Voice from on High

A Dramatic Narrative based around small sections of the lyrics of songs written performed or recorded by Mr Bob Dylan.

Ninoshka Gomes plays a followerof the Messiah who is tender-hearted but struggles with self-doubt.

Isobel Hirst plays a follower of the Messiah who has a tendency to be judgemental.

The role of the Voice of the Message of the Gospel is played by Darren Hirst

Darren also plays the role of the Voice of the Message of the World.

The duality of his message is shown by the blue line which divides his face.

Moon Culture (Aline Huguelet and Keegan Israel) perform the Dylan song “Saving Grace” after one of the verses of that song is spoken.

Supplementary lines to maintain the direction of the narrative were supplied by the director, Darren Hirst. We claim no copyright on the lyrical sections written by Mr Dylan. We hold the correct licence for use of songswhich are used in worship settings and church performances. No admission charge was charged and the video is not being monetised. This will be the sole performance of this dramatic narrative.

The text of “A Voice from on High” follows.

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Nad Sylvan – An Interview with the Vampirate

(And so as part of my ongoing project for this difficult period, on the day following my Bob and Hilary James interview https://twilightdawning.com/2020/05/22/bob-and-hilary-james-they-are-flesh-and-blood/, I was able to interview Nad Sylvan. As well as being an artist in his own right, Nad is the lead singer with the band led by ex-Genesis guitarist, Steve Hackett).

(In the following conversation, NS denotes the comments of Nad Sylvan, and DH those of Darren Hirst)

DH: Thank you for making some time for me today in these strange circumstances. How is the weather with you?

NS: It’s very cold. It’s only like six degrees. it was up to 15 last week with sun, and you know, scattered clouds. But it’s pleasant enough. And we get to make a huge bonfire tonight because on this date every year it’s called Valborg. When we celebrate spring and we’ll all light a bonfire – the only day in the spring that we’re allowed to do that. I have a load of dead wood ready to go.

DH: Well, we’re in the middle of a thunderstorm at the moment in London, so if you hear any strange noises in the background that’s the explanation…

NS: Okay, cool.

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Bob and Hilary James – They are “Flesh and Blood”

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A Salute to the Salutation!

In March 2020. I was asked to put together an event at one of our local pubs. The Salutation in King Street, Hammersmith, London had been a little quieter than normal since the local Town Hall had closed for refurbishment and I was asked to put on a bill of varied artists in order to get new people over the threshold.

After a few phone calls and a little planning, we had six acts, across a broad range of styles:

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John Shuttleworth is back!

Where: Leicester Square Theatre, London

When: March 2020

Who: John Shuttleworth

When: John Shuttleworth’s back

Or is he? Due to an error in Ken Worthington’s printing of the flyers and posters for the tour, it reads “John Shuttleworth’s back”, making it sound not so much like our hero’s return to live performance but a reference to the rear features of the star. This is not the first time that Mr Worthington has messed up the promotion and so the gallant star plays the first few minutes of the show with his back facing the audience in order to fulfill the promise of the posters.

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