#TheatreReview by Lou – A Cold Supper Behind Harrods @OriginalTheatre #DavidMorley #PhilipFranks #DavidJason #StephanieCole #AntonLesser #TheatrePlay

A Cold Supper Behind Harrods
By David Morley
Directed by Philip Franks
An Original Theatre Production

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Innovative, Dramatic and wonderfully acted – I highly recommend A Cold Supper Behind Harrods. If you eer see this for a theatre near you or ever online again, I recommend you see it. When I saw this was going to be online, I just knew I had to buy a ticket and I wasn’t disappointed.
Here you can delve into the synopsis and further into the play and why it is so interesting, and I don’t just mean the plot…

Synopsis

Revenge is a dish best served cold.

Fifty years after the war that brought them together, three Special Operations Executive agents meet to record interviews for a television documentary.

As Leo, Vera and John wait to be interviewed in a beautiful English garden, drinking tea and doing the crossword, pleasantries give way to deeper darker subjects. A web of self-deception, lies and guilt begins to emerge. Only when all three are about to leave for London in a taxi, for “a cold supper behind Harrods” does the disturbing truth emerge.

 David Morley’s heart-stopping play stars national treasure and 4-time BAFTA Award-winner David JasonStephanie Cole and Anton Lesser with Saffron Coomber and Lucy Doyle

Produced by the award-winning Original Theatre Company, whose recent successes include hit online productions of Birdsong and The Haunting of Alice Bowles and stage productions including the five-star revival of Alan Bennett’s The Habit of Art.

Review

a-cold-supper-behind-harrodsThis was unusual and yet very interesting. The play was online and yet not just live, but in a theatre and those online were the audience. Cast came on with their scripts, but there was, amazingly, actual scenery and haunting imagery, that shown wonderful technical skill.

It started with conversation between the writer and director and ended with Q&A session that the online audience could participate in, with the 3 main actors involved in this.

What was fascinating was, because in a sense, it was done in quite a raw fashion, as a hybrid of theatre and radio play in a way, it allowed people to see even more of a purity in the inner workings of how actors work as they came on with their scripts. It wasn’t quite a reading, it was more than that and was fully acted out. There were some stumbles, but with so little time to rehearse, this seasoned cast did remarkably well and those moments really did not matter. It added something quite refreshing and the play just kept carrying on. This was just because instead of weeks of rehearsal, they had a day or two. So, no mean feat! There was a bit of a sense of comaraderie amongst them, which is heartwarming. All of the cast, but especially David Jason, Stephanie Cole and Anton Lesser were amazing and it was so good and exciting to see them on stage in a play.

The plot itself was intriguing. We all hear about war heroes or those that started wars, but rarely, to almost never hear of those who weren’t war heroes, but those, in that gap in history, as it were, who seem like ordinary men in wartimes, doing something that later comes back to haunt them. That’s what this play shows with great thought and consideration. David Jason’s character is convincingly a figment of the author’s clever imagination. Stephanie Cole’s and Anton Lesser’s characters were based on real people. Stephanie Coomber and Lucy Doyle were excellent supporting cast, but nevertheless, with important parts.

The play took its twists and turns into their personalities and lives and bit by bit, like droplets of water that get bigger and bigger, the web of lies comes out, until its pouring with deceipt about what had happened to a woman during the war. The technology to portray this woman every so often was expertly done, just enough to show her and depict the memory of her still lingering, still haunting. It all ends in a terrific crescendo and “revenge is best served cold”. When it does come to its conclusion, it may well stay, grasping you and swirling round your mind after it has finished.

If you ever see this play at a theatre, I highly recommend it. I hope that one day this and other plays from The Original Theatre Company tour to each nation in the UK. They are producing some stunning theatre. This performance was online from the Oxford Playhouse Theatre.

All The Lonely People by Mike Gayle #VirtualEvent #Writeup by Lou #HodderBooks #Fiction

All The Lonely People
By Mike Gayle
Available Now in Paperback

I attended a lovely Paperback Publication Day Event of All The Lonely People and had such fun, I thought I’d write a bit about it. Find the blurb of All The Lonely People below. It has been given a new cover and is a vibrant, sunny yellow. Congratulations to Mike Gayle on his RNA news!

Mike Gayle does a number of Facebook events and they are worth looking out for if you want a relaxing, entertaining evening. Although on Facebook they are a real interactive event. He reads many messages out and chats directly to people, as though in conversation with his audience.
Throughout the conversation, he sets the diverse topics to chat about as the events go on… last night it was awards, Netflix/TV, books and he even sings happy birthday to people. It’s a jovial chat that you can easily just go with the flow with. I’ve been to a couple of his events and always had fun!

Mike Gayle then did a lovely reading of All The Lonely People with all the accents of his characters to great aplomb and with much fun!
 
All The Lonely People is available in Hardback, Paperback, Audiobook, E-Book. Now in the UK.
 
All The Lonely People is published in the USA in the summer.
 

Blurb

All The Lonely People Paperback

‘A heartwarming story about the power of community and human connection. Hubert Bird stole my heart’ Beth O’Leary, author of The Flat-Share and The Switch

Hubert Bird is not alone in being alone.
He just needs to realise it.

In weekly phone calls to his daughter in Australia, widower Hubert Bird paints a picture of the perfect retirement, packed with fun, friendship and fulfilment.

But Hubert Bird is lying.

The truth is day after day drags by without him seeing a single soul.

Until, that is, he receives some good news – good news that in one way turns out to be the worst news ever, news that will force him out again, into a world he has long since turned his back on.

Now Hubert faces a seemingly impossible task: to make his real life resemble his fake life before the truth comes out.
Along the way Hubert stumbles across a second chance at love, renews a cherished friendship and finds himself roped into an audacious community scheme that seeks to end loneliness once and for all . . .

Life is certainly beginning to happen to Hubert Bird. But with the origin of his earlier isolation always lurking in the shadows will he ever get to live the life he’s pretended to have for so long?

From bestselling author Mike Gayle, All the Lonely People is by turns a funny and moving meditation on love, race, old age and friendship that will not only charm and uplift, but also remind you of the power of ordinary people to make an extraordinary difference.

‘Timely and poignant…Mike Gayle’s writing is beautiful and engaging and All the Lonely People is both heartbreaking and uplifting, devastating and thought-provoking. It is the kind of book you will want to press into the hands of everyone you know and tell them to read immediately’ Heat

‘This poignant book flits between the present day and Hubert’s early life as one of the Windrush generation. Heartbreaking, yet also uplifting and thought-provoking’ i Paper

 
All The Lonely People Paperback All The Lonely People Hardback
                         
                                                                                                                                                                             
 
 
 
 
 
 
                            

#Review by Lou of Love In The Wood – 5 stars for the entertaining play (still available) by William Wycherley, Directed by Hermione Guiliford @hermy1G @JSTheatre #theatre #TheShowMustGoOn #YouTube

  Love In A Wood
By William Wycherley
Rated: 5 stars *****

Love In A Wood is a great night in! There is humour, intrigue, romance and jealousy in this entertaining play with a terrific cast from stage and TV. It premiered on Sunday 31st January and is available for a week. Find out more below in the plot and then my review. Throughout, you can also find the link.

Love In The Wood is a  free online reading of a 1671 comedy by William Wycherley (The Country Wife), conceived and directed by Hermione Gulliford, is performed in aid of Equity Charitable Trust, supporting industry professionals in need of urgent assistance. There is an opton to donate on Just Giving.

Discover more about it in the plot and then you will come across my full review.

You Tube Link: Love In A Wood

Love In A Wood

THE PLOT

Lady Flippant wants a husband, while pretending not to, with her eyes on Dapperwit. Sir Simon Addleplot’s looking for a wife with a fortune, eying up Mrs Martha. Valentine only has eyes for Christina, but is jealous of everyone. Ranger has his eye on anyone, playing fast with his love, Lydia. And Vincent only has eyes on anyone if it’s in the dark. The night is young, and never has there been a better time for frolics and fun in the wood. —————- LOVE IN A WOOD By William Wycherley Directed by Hermione Gulliford STARRING Jo Stone-Fewings as Mr Ranger James Anderson as Mr Vincent  Danny Sapani as Mr Valentine Ian Gelder as Alderman Gripe Nicholas Le Prevost as Sir Simon Addleplot Paul Chahidi as Mr Dapperwit Christopher Chung as Mrs Crossbite’s landlord, a waiter & servant Nancy Carroll as Christina Lorna Brown as Lydia Linda Bassett as Lady Flippant Ellie Fanyinka as Mrs Martha Debbie Chazen as Mrs Joiner  Hermione Gulliford as Mrs Crossbite Shaofan Wilson as Miss Lucy May Walker as Isabel Jules Melvin as Leonore   Stage Managed by Lou Ballard Edited by Daniel Morley-Fletcher.


You Tube Link: Love In A Wood

Review

Love In A Wood is a delightfully entertaining play in 5 Acts with a 15 minute interval. There is also a lovely surprise from the cast during part of that time.

You get a wonderful feel for who the characters are at the start to read about and then the cast come on. It clearly and ingeniously states character names as people come on and the setting for each act and scene.

It’s brilliant and witty and technically it works well with what they’ve got. It’s a wonderful script and one which I was not familiar of, but that’s one of the beauties of the arts. There are opportunities to explore something different.
The cast speak as though they were in character and on a stage. The characterisation of the households is sublimely played out.
You cleverly only see each character at the time you need to ie not all at once, which works so well and seems theatrical, even on screen. The timing from them all is perfect in all aspects, from comedic timing to when they appear on screen, to passing on coins. It would be no mean feat, but is expertly done and is so well directed by Hermione Guilliford.

Acts in St. James Park, has some lovely sound effects to suggest so. There are occasionally some props and inventive ways to create scenery and costume – pretty impressive for such times. The timely period music is used to great effect between scenes.

There’s some gossip and passing on information and some scandal to be had, which has some intrigue to see what happens next. Throughout they are able to create some changes of atmosphere from humour, to a bit of seriousness and trepidation to more comedy and the energy given, even in a reading is brilliant!

It is above all, such an enjoyable, entertaining Restoration Play that is well worth a look.

You Tube Link: Love In A Wood

Love In A Wood

The Deal by Jonathan Whitelaw @urbanebooks @JDWhitelaw13 @HoneyandStag @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours

The Deal
By Jonathan Whitelaw

Blog Blitz

The Deal Poster 2

Today I am so very pleased to share with you – The Deal by Jonathan Whitelaw, a book perfect for Halloween, thanks to an invitation by Kelly Lacey at Love Books Group for this 1 special day. This isn’t just any ordinary book. This book is for a charitable cause – The Samaritans, which I think is amazing and lovely. What is incredibly exciting is the interview links into one he did for Honey and Stag Literary Events on You Tube.
The book is a short, entertaining read and the cause is fabulous, plus you get time to relax a little and enter someone else’s world and get to the end as it is a novella and help such a worthy charity.
The interview lasts just 30 mins. It is so fascinating to find out about the book and why The Samaritans will benefit.

Please don’t find yourself alone. Samaritans are there to help 24/7 all year round. You can call them for free on 116123  The website is http://www.samaritans.org and you can find them across all social media too.

Now onto the book. Please enjoy a moment to yourself to discover about the author, the blurb and finally, the terrific interview, the buy link.

About The Author

The Deal authorJonathan Whitelaw is an author, journalist and broadcaster.

After working on the frontline of Scottish politics, he moved into journalism. Subjects he has covered have varied from breaking news, the arts, culture and sport to fashion, music and even radioactive waste – with everything in between.

He’s also a regular reviewer and talking head on shows for the BBC and STV.

HellCorp, from Urbane Publications, is his second novel following his debut, Morbid Relations.

The Deal pic

Blurb

Following the sinful shenanigans of Hellcorp and The Man in the Dark, the hellishly handsome Devil turns his attention to the most frightening of all holidays … Halloween.

onathan Whitelaw has written a unique, one-off special tale starring Ol’ Nick himself – and set in the wild Wild West. After lending a hand to a down-on-his-luck prospector, The Devil returns thirty years later to collect his debt – but as ever when The Devil is involved, nothing ever goes to plan.

A prequel to the bestselling HellCorp, this enthralling and very funny tale is the perfect read for Halloween and fans of Ben Aaronovitch, Christopher Fowler and Benedict Jacka.

All proceeds from every sale of The Deal will be donated to Samaritans.

Interview with Jonathan Whitelaw

https://youtu.be/Zgeeu6CM1rM

Buy Link 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08KGGY6KF/?ref=exp_kellysloveofbooks_dp_vv_d

The Deal poster

 

A write up of some of the Never Ending Panel – Authors, Writing, Books and Food @BloodyScotland @Lin_Anderson @StuartMacBride #SandraIreland @SirBenfro @NlBro

The Never-Ending Panel

The Never Ending Panel consisted of 27 authors having a chat about books and writing and plenty of food, especially Stovies to begin with. Lin Anderson, Gordon Brown and others took it in turns to chair.  I have written about a handful of them here. I could not write about everyone as I had other things to tend to part way through, but I listened in and they were all great! The full event will be put up on social media, You Tube at a later date. Here is a bit of what you can expect:

Lin Anderson chaired first from her home in Carrbridge in the Highlands of Scotland.

Stuart MacBride was located in Aberdeen, North East Scotland, with Grendle and a whole lot of other animals and seems to have brought some good luck in publishing. Gherkin came with the house. He has Onion and Beetroot, who are kittens, who he, along with a vet, has saved from near death.
There was a thread that started here, about Stovies. You will be able to find Stuart MacBride’s recipe on his website.

His take on surviving a global pandemic. Social Distancing is his natural thing, but he missed seeing people as in listening to other conversations. It’s interesting that they talk about social distancing for 2 metres. It was pleasing to hear that they seem to be following the rules.

Sandra Ireland is Carnoustie – East Coast of Scotland, associated with golf. It’s picturesque. She has 4 books out – Sight Unseen is the latest. It was interesting hearing them talk about when she was in India with Lin Anderson and all the goings on that sound humorous now.

Sight Unseen: Darkly mesmerising . . . A fabulous read (A Sarah Sutherland Thriller)

James Oswald then joined in. Interesting seeing his office/study. His Inspector McLean series is set in Edinburgh, but actually lives on a farm in Fife. Check out his Twitter page for his books and pictures of his Highland Cows. It’s interesting how he names his cows and he goes through the alphabet each year. It’s interesting hearing about how he can tell the differences between all of his cows.
James helped out a lot in Bloody Scotland in the second year of the festival and has been there ever since, but was thrust in to cover for another author who couldn’t make it due to illness at the last minute and seems to be grateful to this.

Bury Them Deep: Inspector McLean 10 (The Inspector McLean Series)

Andrew James Greig then joined and he is a celebrated newcomer to crime fiction. He once helped behind the scenes of Bloody Scotland and now has written Whirligig. The word comes from 15th century and means spinning toy, but in Scotland is really a rotary clothes drier.
He runs an audio-visual business in Dunblane. In Bloody Scotland in Stirling, he provided sound and stages. He didn’t know too much about Scottish crime scene at the time and now is shortlisted for the McIlvanney prize. About 3 years ago he started a prologue of a book and hadn’t trained in it. Fledgling Press took his now published book.

Whirligig by [Andrew James  Greig]

Neil Broadfoot is from from Dunfermline, prior to writing crime fiction novels, he was a journalist. His books are set in Stirling, Scotland. His first book was nominated for an award in 2014. No Man’s Land has been nominated for the McIlvanney Award. He is an integral part of Stirling and has set books there and further afield. Falling Fast was his first novel, which first introduced Edinburgh investigative journalist Doug McGregor and his police contact, DS Susie Drummond.

No Man's Land      The Point of No Return

Lin Anderson talked about how Bloody Scotland’s remit is to encourage and to provide a platform for new writers and how she hopes Bloody Scotland supports writers. There are new and established names. There are spotlight authors, cleverly placed before the main events.

Plotting and Research and more…

Morgan Cry otherwise known as Gordon Brown took over.

Thirty-One Bones: It can be dangerous out in the sun

Andrew is on book 2 and doesn’t plot. He hopes he doesn’t change how he writes at the moment. He describes writing as having all the strands that make up a tapestry and they have to be fitted together.

Neil Broadfoot has Connor’s book number 4 due to be published in 2021. Plotting isn’t his thing as it kills some of the fun of seeing the story develop. He gets his chapters down and says get something down, finish the first draft. Take a break and then edit to fix all the problems later.

James Oswald is working on McLean book number 11. He has a whiteboard and word document for plotting his stories a bit, but doesn’t in its entirety and wants to just get everything done. He has a basic technique. He says to get a first draft down and then edits.

Sara Sheridan has set her new book in the 1950’s in the Highlands of Scotland with her detective, Mirabelle and she researches what would be worn etc. She seems to find the way of landlords up there interesting and also the fashions. She has a job outside her job and during lockdown, realised suddenly that she has a writing process, but isn’t a big planner and thinks if it is fresh to you, it will be to the readers.

Highland Fling (Mirabelle Bevan)

 

Write Up of @BloodyScotland Panel #VirtualEvent – Criminal Masterminds Ian Rankin and Lawrence Block @Beathhigh

Write up of Criminal Masterminds
At Bloody Scotland Online

This was a talk with Lawrence Block in Manhatten, New York and Ian Rankin in Edinburgh. It was informative with some poignancy about their careers, and above all, very entertaining and the atmosphere created, even online, was excellent.

                                 

 

It was interesting to hear this as it is so honest: Lawrence admitted he couldn’t remember his books precisely. His first story was written in 1957 and sold to a magazine. He knew he was going to be writer and decided this at 15 and was doing it a couple of years later. He hadn’t set-out to write crime fiction. He just wanted to write something that someone would be pleased with. Over time he evolved into writing crime fiction.

Ian Rankin asked what he wrote early on.
Lawrence said he would like to write Science Fiction, he wrote a couple that didn’t get published. He talked about not having the mindset really for this genre.

Early on he read some crime fiction and then more general fiction. He thought about writing great literary fiction and wanted to write an outstanding book.
He talked about William Campbell Galls, with affection.

Ian Rankin and Lawrence Block discussed that sometimes writers copy other writing styles and modes until own voices are found. Ian admitted to copying Lawrence and seemed to really admire his work.
Lawrence said that Jazz writers did that a bit and how he writes from some influences.
It’s interesting that he hadn’t realised that Baloo was going to be such a big part of his books and Ian had the same with Cafferty, who had a small part to begin with and then featured more with Rebus. It was fascinating that he left him out in one book, to please someone who had reviewed, who didn’t like him, but didn’t enjoy the process as much, by keeping him out.

The talk moved onto the Scudders series. An angst-ridden, ex-cop – Scudders has a lot of baggage – his marriage is down and out and he’s left the police force. At the time, it wasn’t too hard to get into his state of mind as Lawrence had split from his wife.

His character was a window to the world and at an unspecified age, but something happened that he had to evolutionise, but there was no reason to be specific with age. He has however written about evolution of ageing in his 12th book, so therefore he had to give an age.
The humour in the talk about age is great!

A Time to Scatter Stones was published in 2019 and it could be the last Scudder book, but then he thought the one before might have been the last.
Ian Rankin asked if he was tempted to go back in time, but Lawrence had done it a couple of times but didn’t want to do it again.

Lawrence Block and Ian Rankin discussed the films with big named actors like Liam Neeson, Whoopi Goldberg and more… but it was so fascinating hearing their views on the films and about contracts, which seem complex.

Ian Rankin talked of the Burglar books, that are about a cat burglar by night, an antiquarian bookshop by day. Ian Rankin talked about them having humour within them. It was interesting hearing Lawrence talk so candidly about not having a job and had self-esteem issues and all the jobs that have those words – experience required in the ads. It then occurred to him that he shouldn’t rule out crime and became quite inspired. His anecdotes were really entertaining as he thought about it all, only entertaining because he didn’t actually go into burgulary and decided to write a book instead.

They discussed being in lockdown and Lawrence thought he would write all the time, but he didn’t and doesn’t seem concerned about that. 

Dead Girl Blues wasn’t a book he expected to write and thought it would be a short story and ended up being a short novel. He says he likes it enough

Ian Rankin was an early reader of the book and said he went self-publishing. He said it was going to be a problematic book to get published and his agent was industrious in submitting it to the best publishing houses and a lot liked it, but they didn’t see it as something that could be published profitably. After a couple of offers, he decided to self-publish. It wasn’t a book he expected to finish and so he wanted to publish it how he wanted it.
Ian Rankin talked about it being very dark, but there is a small light and said there is a very moral theme and says it is a book that is thought-provoking. It has got a lot of favourable reviews.

It was so poignant about how Lawrence Block may be coming to the end of his writing career and as Scudder comes to the end of his. Ian Rankin is at a different stage in writing career.
They talked about travel and Lawrence seems like he was quite the explorer and yet, now seems different. He enjoy cruises and train travel. Ian Rankin talked about taking The Blue Train in Africa. Neither of them sound in any hurry to actually travel at the moment, due to the virus of course.

The Darkling Halls of Ivy is edited by Lawrence Block. Ian Rankin has a story in this anthology, set in Edinburgh. Lawrence enjoys doing the anthology and is doing one now.

Ian Rankin said he enjoys writing short stories and he likes a set of rules that come with it, such as a setting or a time of year.
Ian Rankin tried to enthuse Lawrence into writing more short stories to reinvogorate him.

Ian Rankin asked a question that covered settings and NYC. Lawrence Block said what he likes about Manhatten is familiarity and has lived there a long time and knows a few people there. He finds the energy of the city extraordinary. He talked about leaving NYC for Florida in 1985 at that time for awhile, but still set books in NYC.

Ian Rankin, when he lived in France thought he would go off and set his books there, but found he still wanted to set his books in Edinburgh.

It was fascinating hearing Ian Rankin talking about how he has writing heroes who he wished had books signed by.