Pests by Vivienne Franzmann, Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, 29 March 2014

We were bowled over by this piece/production. We thought it was brilliantly acted and gripping from start to finish. It is about two feral sisters, both damaged by abuse in different ways.

It divided the critics but it did not divide us.

Ellie Kendrick and Sinéad Matthews are both young actresses to look out for. Vivienne Franzmann is yet another super female writer emerging via the Royal Court.

Here is the rather limited Royal Court resource on this one.

This search term will find you the links you need for reviews and stuff. Believe the good ones, don’t believe the poor ones.

Here is the trailer:


In the Vale Of Health: Japes by Simon Gray, Hampstead Theatre Downstairs, 21 March 2014

Janie and I both really like Simon Gray’s plays and we really like the Hampstead Downstairs.

So this project; taking all four of Simon Gray’s attempts to write about a quirky pair of brothers in The Vale of Health, seemed like something we should do in full.

We saw them in this sequence/timing:

  • 21 March 2014 – Japes;
  • 18 April 2014 – Japes Too;
  • 2 May 2014 – Michael;
  • 16 May 2014 – Missing Dates.

We’d often see the same faces in the audience again. One gentleman who sat next to us on the last night, we’d seen at least once before. I said to him that it would be like saying goodbye to close friends when this little season ended and he said, “that’s exactly what I was thinking”.

Very intimate plays, beautifully written (it’s Simon Gray after all) and very well acted/directed.

I’m cutting and pasting this same piece for all four evenings; the above and the links below basically apply to all four.

Here is a link to a search term that will find you Hampstead resources and (unusually for downstairs) reviews, as they transferred this little season upstairs afterwards, because it had done so well downstairs.

Here is a YouTube interview and stuff:

We Are Proud To… by Jackie Sibblies Drury , Bush Theatre, 15 March 2014

This was a very unusual piece about the Herero people of Namibia and the tragedy that befell them at the hands of the German colonial power in the late 19th and early 20th century.

The whole title is unfeasibly long.

It is written & performed in the post-modern style of a group of young people trying to put together a performance about…

It occasionally grated but mostly it worked well; a very moving, informative and entertaining piece.

Here is a link to the Bush resource on the play/production.

It divided the critics, did this one – a search term with links to reviews is here.

Here is a YouTube with the playwright and director:


A Short Break in Oman, Zighy Bay, 1 to 12 March 2014

We needed 10 days of complete rest and relaxation, so opted for Zighy Bay at the North-West tip of Oman. So “tippy”, it is actually much closer to Dubai than to Muscat, hence flying in to the Emirates and driving across to Zighy Bay.

Mike Smith had persuaded me to try playing the baritone ukulele a few weeks before and lent me such an instrument. I said I would get no chance to start before my holiday and was reluctant to take his instrument with me, but Mike assured me that he would not be fazed if anything happened to it. So I basically took up the instrument out there. Baby steps.


I don’t think I kept any kind of written log, so spaced out were we with the pampering luxury of it all, but there are about 50 photos to be seen here…

…and Janie (Daisy) was on a bit of a moving picture fix at that time, so some pretty weird vids:

In case you remain unaware, I am Ged and Janie is Daisy – these have been our pet names for each other since 1993.

Itinerary and info on Zighy Bay downloadable below.

Wormleighton – 01 Mar 14 – Itinerary

Six Senses Zighy Bay – Fact Sheet