P/REVIEW: View From The Sofa 15

Brian Butler July 2, 2020

George Stiles and Anthony Drewe are undoubtedly today’s equivalents of Rodgers and Hammerstein and their annual song-writing contest this year is a casualty of the virus and so will appear online.

This Sunday the 15 finalists will have their compositions performed by some of the West End’s best in a virtual concert, where the songs have been recorded by the singers themselves in lockdown. Performers  include: Luke Bayer, Louise Dearman, Fra Fee, Melanie La Barrie and Natalie Paris.

Also performing are Laura Pitt-Pulford, Zizi Strallen and Marisha Wallace. MD is Steve Ridley. Star judges include the creators of smash hit musical Six, Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss. The show will raise funds for struggling writers under the auspices of Mercury Musical Developments’ “ Keep Writing “ fund. It will stream on YouTube here:

The ever – exciting Hope Mill Theatre presents an evening with writer Jonathan Harvey on Saturday 18 July. Hosted by Corrie’s Denise Welch , it boasts an array of guests,  including Olivia Coleman, Frances Barber, Joshua Asare, and Danny Lee Wynter and coincides with the launch of a new prize for playwrights – Through The Mill . Harvey is best known for Gimme Gimme Gimme, Beautiful Thing, the Pet Shop Boys musical Musik and many episodes of Coronation Street. Tickets are £10. Go to

David Lilly , a member of Hove-based lgbtq + chorus Resound is also one of a handful of restorers of the highly original 1930’s Dalle De Verre stained glass, first introduduced to England in 1955 in Reigate. He’s making a fascinating series of YouTube videos on his step-by-step restoration of a fine piece of the rare window glass.  Worth a watch for the sheer exuberance of the colours alone.

We are running out of National Theatre live productions but his week’s is of particular relevance . It’s  Les Blancs by Lorraine Hansberry, about an African colony teetering on the brink of civil war. It’s a story of the hope and tragedy of revolution; imperialism , racism and colonialism. It streams on YouTube for a week from 7pm Thurs 2 July.

When the British Museum opens again in early July it promises that one of its first guided tours to be reinstated will be its LGBTQ+ one, in honour of Pride.  Which I admit I didn’t know existed.  Some 20 objects are included and a new addition is the famous Rosetta Stone.

This is because Egyptologist William Bankes who helped provide a key to its meaning had to flee the country after being found having sex in Green Park with a soldier. Once the tour is up and running I promise to review it.

And finally news this week that veteran actor/activist Sir Ian. McKellen has gone into rehearsals for an “ age-blind” production of Hamlet some 50 years after he first played the tragic hero – sounds amazing.

I’ll keep you posted.