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Recommending: Growing your own vegetables

Hedda – must see production

This is a theatrical highlight of 2008.

The play is brilliant and Lucy Kirkwood adapts it excellently (I’m jealous, I didn’t do it – please someone call me next time (!!) I’d give it a good go…).
Carrie Cracknell directs with keenness. The physical relationships between the characters staged beautifully, concentrating the language and conflict.

The use of a second stage level, I thought was a superb idea. Designer (Holly Waddington) or director or whoever deserves plaudits. The set seemed to sit just right for the atmosphere, peeling layers of neglect, so much potential, needing love. Even, the humid claustrophobic night of the summer we are having, conspires to add to the electric, cloying environment.

The acting was, across the board, excellent and of the highest level. [On a personal note, it's fascinating to see how an actor changes and develops over the years. I remember - not that well - Alice Patten at Cambridge University (Queen's I think), and then in Vincent in Brixton].

Hedda (Cara Horgan) was sensual, vulnerable, manipulative, fragile and tough at each turn. Lots of beautiful leg and bare feet, yet appropriate and not gratuitous. A beautiful flower “rain dashed”
George (Tom Mison) in love with a girl, he can’t save; in awe of a man he can’t match – awkward but somehow still steering a mainly sincere and hopeful course
Thea (Alice Patten) a nervy rabbit, wanting to blossom into the woman she knows she could be. A woman Eli has allowed her to come.
Toby (Christopher Obi) – a smooth snake; a “lawyer at heart”
Eli (Adrian Bower) – perhaps Toby was right when he called him a make-believe; but “I don’t want to be that man but the things is that I also do… because it’s boring with him life is fucking dull that’s what nobody admits
Julia (Cath Whitefield) – the “spinster”, elder sister / mother figure

And all the interlocking triangles these tangled loves and lovers make. All judged extremely well. A beautiful, heart rending mess.

I expect tickets will sell out fast although it may extend slightly or be transferred. Be quick.

At Gate Theatre, until 27 Sep 020 7229 0706

Juan Munoz / Theatre

“dira’ que loque me interesa en el teatro es que no hay replica posible. Cuando cae el telon te vas. Una pieza deberia tener esa anolidal no poderla replicar”

“I would say that what interests me about the theatre is that no reply is possible. When the curtain falls, you leave. A wok of art should have ths quality of not being able to reply.”

I saw this translated as “art should have this quality of not admitting a reply” but I read it as art should make the viewer unable to reply/speak.

I’m not sure I agree in all cases as I consider theatre often a conversation, and art too. It is not complete without a viewer, without an audience. The audience some times needs a reply.

Yet, the best art can leave you “speechless” and perhaps this is what Munoz is alluding to. Or maybe it is as the first translator says, he thinks great art has the quality of not being able to be argued with.

Persephone bookshop

Wonderful, small, independent book shop on 109 Kensington Church Street, W8 7LN. Persephone “reprints forgotten classics by twentieth-century (mostly women) writers

Persephone Bookshop

Persephone Bookshop

I confess to a bias, as I used to work in Elgin Books and when Elgin Books had to close down, it survived in a non-shop form for many years. However, it has now joined Persephone and its spirit lives on. I bought three books; two cookery and one fiction.

Good Things in England by Florence White is an amazing recipe book and record of old English recipes.

The blurb suggests: “‘Ever wondered how to cook Thomas Hardy’s frumenty, make Izaak Walton’s Minnow Tansies or pickle elder buds?’ asked the Sunday Telegraph. ‘Good Things in England is a collection of 853 regional recipes dating back to the C14th. First published in 1932, it was written by Florence White, the country’s first ever freelance food journalist, and, like all classic culinary works, it is a pleasure to read.

Wisdom Teeth

Recently had my wisdom teeth out. Ouch.

Cheap Theatre tips

Look out for pay as much as you want nights and Mondays are good too.

Gate Theatre has Monday as pay as you want. Royal Court has a cheap Monday.

This is on top of previews, and other regular offers.


Milan Kundera: “The struggle of people against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.

How many times have you written letters that you have not sent? I’ve been meaning to write to John Berger for around 15 years. I think this year I may finally do it…

I can’t tell you what art does and how it does it, but I know that art has often judged the judges, pleaded revenge to the innocent and shown to the future what the past has suffered, so that it has never been forgotten.

I know too that the powerful fear art, whatever its form, when it does this, and that amongst the people such art sometimes runs like a rumour and a legend because it makes sense of what life’s brutalities cannot, a sense that unites us, for it is inseparable from a justice at last. Art, when it functions like this, becomes a meeting-place of the invisible, the irreducible, the enduring, guts and honour.

  • About me

    I'm a playwright and investment analyst. I have a broad range of interests: food, gardening, innovation & intellectual property, sustainability, architecture & design, writing and the arts. I sit on the board of Talawa Theatre Company and advise a CIS investment trust on socially responsible investments.

  • Recent Work

    Recent plays include, for theatre: Nakamitsu, Yellow Gentlemen, Lost in Peru, Lemon Love. For radio: Places in Between (R4), Patent Breaking Life Saving (WS).

  • Nakamitsu

  • Yellow Gentlemen