March 3rd, 2012

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Lord of the Flies, Greenwich Theatre

Presented by Sell a Door Theatre Company
By Nigel Williams, Adapted from the novel by William Golding

Cut and pasted from the Greenwich Theatre website:

A plane has crashed on an uninhabited island. The only survivors are a group of school boys. There are no homes or schools, no adults, no rules and before long the boys’ fragile sense of order begins to collapse... With the discovery of ‘the beast’, their games take on a more sinister significance and this once well-behaved group of children quickly turns into a blood-thirsty, murderous tribe.

William Golding's Lord of the Flies is one of the most disturbing and celebrated novels of modern times. Multi award winning Sell a Door Theatre Company brings the classic tale of morality vs. immorality to the stage, in an unforgettable adaptation by Nigel Williams.

Raks's Review

Lord of the Flies will always have a special place in my heart. My English teacher Mike Birks taught it to me and it was the book where he finally broke down my defences and got me to speak up. For years he had been saying that I had the intellect but that was wasted as I was reticent in class. Anyway, with this book I finally exploded all over the classroom, and Mr Birks could not shut me up after this!

At the time, I championed Jack's cause, because he was a leader, he was a winner, and he was strong. However, a very wise person told me last year that life is not about winning, it is about doing the right thing. I now agree with this view. Therefore, my allegiance has now transferred across to Ralph and Piggy. They were making a stand, trying to do what was right, and trying to hold together the vestiges of civilisation. Yes Jack had all the winning cards but he was a savage and he led through brute strength. Doing the right thing and integrity is paramount and so I am now championing Ralph not Jack!

However, in the novel, as in real life, good is very nearly wiped out by evil. Simon and Piggy are killed (murdered would be the more accurate term) on the island, and Ralph himself is being hunted to the death. He is only saved by the timely arrival of the adults (British naval officers). Being on the side of the angels guarantees nothing!

I saw this production today (Friday matinee) and I completely loved it and thought it was just brilliant. I thought it was THE most amazing fringe theatre production I had seen in a long long long time (bar Swivel of course!). All the actors were very young men. They were excellent and they each lived and breathed their characters. Ralph and Jack were bang on the money. Ralph just so was the decent Englishman trying to do the right thing, be scrupulously fair, trying to be sensible and look after everyone. Jack had the right combination of evil, scariness, arrogance, condescension, and priggishness all rolled into one. Piggy was Piggy! Sam and Eric looked nothing like eachother, but I loved the way they interacted with eachother, and talked one after the other, finishing off each other's sentences. That really worked and so it actually did not matter that they did not physically look like each other. Roger was pure evil. There was a brilliant portrayal of Simon; one of the best I have ever seen; the young actor really got Simon's otherworldliness and prophetic character down to a tee. And finally, I have to give a special shout out to Percival who was just simply brilliant at conveying what it would feel like to be a little un on the island, having lost your parents and everything that was familiar to you, and being effectively thrown to the lions. Each of the actors just completely and utterly were the characters depicted in the novel; I love the novel to pieces and so I loved that about this production.

The ebb and flow of the production was spot on. It climaxed in all the right places. And the soundscape was nigh perfect. I also loved the simplicity of the set design; it was simple and yet it conveyed the variety of the island.

All in all, highly highly highly recommended. I have seen many theatre and film versions of this piece, and I love the novel with a passion; this is one of the best adaptations I have been lucky enough to see because the actors were the living and breathing embodiment of the characters in the book.

Unfortunately, it closes on Sunday (4 March), so if you want to see this production you need to get your skates on! They are then continuing their tour.

For more details follow the link:

Full details of where the production is next touring to, and the creative team and the cast are here:

Sell a Door Theatre Company are here:

I would also recommend Greenwich Theatre as a venue. It is the first time I have been there but it is a lovely little theatre, small and intimate, and well connected to public transport links. I will be returning! Gutted to realise I had just missed Kafka's The Trial!

Buy the book here:
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Twelfth Night, Swivel Theatre Company, Cockpit Theatre

The Swivel Theatre Company: Classic theatre … with a twist

I just wanted to run a rehearsal photo from the Swivel Theatre Company's production of Twelfth Night, which is one of my favourite scenes in this particular production.

Sir Andrew, Sir Toby and Maria spying on Malvolio as he reads the letter, supposedly from Olivia, but in reality from Maria
Image courtesy of The Swivel Theatre Company

Cut and pasted from the Swivel Theatre Company website:

Twelfth Night returns to the London fringe with a Swivel Theatre Company production. Set in the late 1920s Morocco, Swivel’s unique interpretation will be a feast of live music, traditional dance and raucous laughter.

You can now book your Twelfth Night tickets online at:

You can also book tickets by calling The Cockpit box office on: 020 7258 2925 (lines open 12 till 6, Monday to Friday).

Follow the link for all the details:

Swivel Theatre Company

Swivel Theatre Company is a new theatre company, based in London. Our mission is to produce classic plays in a new and dynamic way, to make the plays more accessible to the general public. We are a group of young professionals, who are passionate about theatre and who want to share our love and enthusiasm for the theatre with others.

The Swivel Theatre Company website is here:

My feature on the Swivel Theatre Company is here:
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Posters for this film have just gone up all across London. I was completely oblivious to this film until I saw the posters. But I am very keen to see it because it is based on one of my favourite novels of all time - Tess of the D'Urbervilles (I studied it for A level) - and because both the lead actors (Frieda Pinto and Riz Ahmed) are excellent.

Cut and pasted from Wikipedia:

Trishna is a 2011 British drama film directed by Michael Winterbottom, starring Freida Pinto and Riz Ahmed. The story is an adaptation of Thomas Hardy's novel Tess of the d'Urbervilles. It is Winterbottom's third Hardy adaptation, after Jude and The Claim. It and was shot in Jaipur and Mumbai, India, in early 2011.

Based on Thomas Hardy's classic novel Tess of the D'Urbervilles, Trishna tells the story of one woman whose life is destroyed by a combination of love and circumstances. Set in contemporary Rajasthan, Trishna (Freida Pinto) meets a wealthy young British businessman Jay Singh (Riz Ahmed) who has come to India to work in his father's hotel business.
After an accident destroys her father's Jeep, Trishna goes to work for Jay, and they fall in love. But despite their feelings for each other, they cannot escape the conflicting pressures of a rural society which is changing rapidly through industrialisation, urbanisation and, above all, education. Trishna's tragedy is that she is torn between the traditions of her family life and the dreams and ambitions that her education has given her.

Finally, I am highly recommending the book which you can buy here:

Thomas Hardy is my favourite Victorian novelist, even over and above Conan Doyle!
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Bingo, Young Vic

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Without a doubt, this has got to be one of THE most dull, tedious and mind-numbing pieces of theatre I have ever had the misfortune to sit through. It was so bad that, although I had paid for a full price ticket, I left at the interval (which I never do) because I literally could not bear to sit through another minute. Enough said!

That is two Patrick Stewart duds in a row - the truly awful Merchant of Venice at Stratford and now this, which was even worse.
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Show your support for Equal Love by signing their petition - I have done so

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Cut and pasted from the Equal Love website:

Equal Love Petition

"We call on the government to end the twin bans on same-sex civil marriages and opposite-sex civil partnerships. In a democratic society, everyone should be equal before the law. This means opening up civil marriages and civil partnerships in register offices and other licensed premises to all couples, gay and heterosexual, without discrimination."

Please note that this petition must only be signed by residents of the United Kingdom.

Follow the link to sign the petition:
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The Doyle Diary: The Last Great Conan Doyle Mystery

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I was in my local British Heart Foundation bookshop today and I picked this up for the grand sum of £2.50. I had never heard of it or seen it before. But it is just beautiful and a real treasure trove.

What is it?

Cut and pasted from

The Doyle Diary: The Last Great Conan Doyle Mystery.
With a Holmesian Investigation into the Strange and Curious Case of Charles Altamont Doyle
By Michael Baker

Paddington Press Ltd. New York & London. Copyright 1978 Paddington Press (U.K.) Ltd.

Charles Altamont Doyle, father of Arthur Conan Doyle, spent the last days of his life in asylums, but the question remains: was he actually mad? This book provides the evidence for readers to judge for themselves. Here reproduced in its enterity is Doyle's diary, a wondrous blending of words and watercolour, a collage of fact and fancy featuring exquisitely detailed fairies and birds, Punch-like cartoons and a never-ending stream of quips and puns.

You can get a flavour of the book and what it contains here:

You can purchase your own copy here:
or here: