P/REVIEW: View from the Sofa 7

Brian Butler May 5, 2020

Hello sofa-dwellers ! This week there’s theatre news about Alan Bennett , Chichester Festival Theatre, a very rare Lloyd Webber offering , Broadway treats and a rather special recipe for flapjacks .

Alan Bennett’s classic BBC TV monologues Talking Heads are being re-made under distancing constraints featuring a stellar cast that includes Killing Eve star Jodie Comer, Kristin Scott Thomas, Harriet Walter, Martin Freeman, and Imelda Staunton.

Director Nicholas Hytner says: “ The shoot will never bring any of us within touching distance of each other , but  I hope that in every other way it will reach out and touch millions of viewers.” The shows are in production – watch Gscene for full screening details.

Chichester Festival Theatre has announced further lockdown streaming performances. David Walliams’ The Midnight Gang , with music and lyrics by Joe Stilgoe will be available until 29 May , and it will be followed by Chichester Festival Youth Theatre’s production of Beauty and the Beast, from 21 May for 30 days.

Sadly Chichester has announced the inevitable -the cancellation of the rest of its much-anticipated 2020 season , which included South Pacific.

The Theatre spokesperson  told Gscene: “ We are currently considering a revised shorter programme for the Autumn, including Pinocchio over Christmas and are working on a new schedule for 2021 , which we hope will include some of the planned 2020 season, including South Pacific. “ Let’s hope so.

This week’s offering from the National Theatre at home is Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra, starring Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo in Simon Godwin’s 2018 production . It airs from 7pm on Thursday 7 May for a week.

And Lord Lloyd Webber has opened the archives yet again to give us a very rare work – his 1996 resounding flop By Jeeves. I journeyed to Scarborough to see the world  premiere , with words by Alan Ayckbourn. Even AA couldn’t save it. But it did go to the West End and Broadway, sinking  without trace. On its side, it is light, funny and easy to watch, so give it a go.

Aubrey Beardsley shocked and delighted late Victorian London with his sinuous black and white drawings. He explored the erotic and the elegant , the humorous and the grotesque . Spanning 7 years of his work, Tate Britain has produced s virtual tour of the Beardsley exhibition it had mounted . It’s 7 minutes of delight.  Watch it above.

A new streaming service will bring Broadway shows to the UK, starting in June. Entitled “ Broadway on Demand “ it will fulfil a dream to make Broadway “ the longest street in the world” . The shows, as yet unannounced will be live-captured performances that can be viewed on-demand as well as backstage videos and masterclasses. While some of the content will be free, there will also be a subscription service for a small monthly fee.  Find out more at the Broadway on Demand website.

Netflix subscribers have spent the last few days binge-watching the engrossing and delightful series Hollywood, which is worth the charge to see Broadway legend Patti Lupone. No spoilers here and watch out for my review of all 7 episodes coming to Gscene online shortly.

And finally I am indebted to my friend William Halsall, head chef at the distinguished eatery Le Caprice in London for his recipe for flapjacks. William tells me  he and his staff are still hard at work, making meals for NHS frontline workers and for vulnerable people for  the charity The Felix Project , via the Caring Foundation. Le Caprice is joined by the likes of the Ivy, Annabel’s , Bills and Scotts.


To make 2 baking trays :

750g butter; 500g soft brown sugar; 550g golden syrup; 1 kg oats;

Melt and bring to the boil the butter, sugar and golden syrup, mix with the oats and press down into baking tray. Cook in the oven at 160C with no fan for 20 mins .

William tells me you can add other ingredients like fruit. But that’s up to you. Pure comfort food.

If you bake it and you like, please consider donating to The Felix Project, thank you.