West End Return – Jennifer Saunders

Today I went to see my first theatre show since Covid began. I was due to see this actual production in March 2020 but something got in the way. Nevertheless, after a long wait, I found myself outside the Harold Pinter theatre again today.

Excited to be back.

I originally heard about this play in 2015 when Angela Lansbury did a turn in the role of Madame Arcati but I was too late to get tickets. So naturally, as soon as I was aware that Jennifer Saunders was taking that role I immediately booked some tickets.

I was lucky enough to see another play with Jennifer in and meet her briefly in 2018.

I looked like a startled ghost but it was good to meet Jennifer.

Anyway, in today’s play she was on top form as a happy ‘medium‘ brought in to make a connection with the afterlife by a well off gentleman and his wife, in the presence of the local doctor.

Written by Noel Coward and directed by Richard Eyre, this production was brilliantly funny. Richard famously directed ‘The Children Act’ with Emma Thompson, ‘Iris’ with Kate Winslet and ‘Notes on a Scandal’ with Cate Blanchett and Judi Dench.

I love when the curtain goes up.

All of the actors were superb. Special mention goes to a very amusing servant (Edith) played by Rose Wardlaw. Her physical comedy was hilarious and added laughs to an already vibrant matinee. Of course, Jennifer played an older lady with crazy amounts of vigour and moments reminiscent of The wonderful Edina in Absolutely Fabulous. With two hour-long acts, this play kept us interested and laughing.

I absolutely loved my first outing to London this year and totally recommend getting tickets for Blithe Spirit if you are nearby.

For a previous film review of mine click here. If you enjoyed this article please consider following my blog for similar future articles.

Why Roald Dahl Books Are Educational.

Roald Dahl made everywhere seem magical.

Today, as we head back to work and school for Autumn, I wanted to talk about Roald Dahl. He was my favourite author when I was a child in the 1980s and his work still resonates with me now.

He had such a busy life, in the airforce, working around the world and eventually writing for a living. Starting as a writer for adults, he then wrote a book for his daughters and began to produce brilliant kids’ books.

His stories were sometimes edgy, with strong characters who were usually quirky and unique. Often his books had powerful messages and really made the readers think about family values and what being a good person actually involved.

Here are five of my favourite Roald Dahl Books:

1) George’s Marvellous Medicine

This was peculiar because George mixed up some random household chemicals to make a powerful medicine for his grandma. It talked about the fact that families are not all perfect.

2) Matilda

Matilda’s teacher saw the very best in her even though her father didn’t. She overcame adversity in many different ways.

3) The Witches

This reminded me of my close relationship with my gran. The main character was turned into a mouse by some witches but his gran stood by him as he tried to get his own back.

4) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

This delightful tale is about a boy who wants to please his family. It is a story where good overcomes bad.

5) The Twits

In the Twits he wrote about a couple who were ordinary people until their ugly thoughts made them appear ugly. The message in this was clear.

So if you have never read a Roald Dahl book, it is never too late to start. His stories are fun, totally entertaining and full of meanings. Hollywood is currently making a new version of Matilda and Roald’s work is repeatedly being remade into theatre and TV productions.

His characters are often very thoughtful, sometimes cheeky and usually easy to relate to. The settings are always interesting and the plots full of action, comedy and brilliant storytelling.

I hope that you will check out Road’s wonderful work and might also consider following my blog.