First Look at David Mitchell as William Shakespeare in Upstart Crow

Looking forward to it!

The Consulting Detective


The BBC has today released the first promotional picture of David Mitchell as William Shakespeare in Ben Elton’s new BBC 2 sitcom Upstart Crow. Set to be broadcast this April as part of the BBC’s Shakespeare festival, described by BBC 2’s controller as a “wonderfully witty new show”.

It’s 1592 and Will Shakespeare is just at the beginning of his extraordinary career. The series will focus on both Will’s family and professional life and include the surprising stories of where many of his ideas came from. Also featured are his wife Anne and his extended family, his servant Bottom, his friends Kate and Marlowe, his theatrical troupe, and his rival Robert Greene.

In the series, Will finds inspiration for Romeo from an unlikely source; mislays a nearly treasonous masterpiece; gets tricked into a very embarrassing pair of tights; has a spot of bother with the wife over some sonnets; meets…

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Happy 100th birthday Poirot!


To celebrate the anniversary of the famous Belgian character, the Italian publishing house Malavasi gives away Agatha Christie‘s agenda, if you buy at least € 50 in DVDs from their collection of episodes 1989-2013 from the series Poirot with David Suchet or other crime TV series (Marple, Sherlock Holmes and Prime Suspect)!

The DVDs are dubbed in Italian or you can watch them in original with or without subtitles.

They have some extras, too: interviews to the cast&crew, photo galleries, actors’ C.V.s and so on.

The agenda looks nice, as you can see below! I’m tempted to get one myself, as my DVD collection is not complete, yet! And I love this TV series!

The blog is in Italian, so feel free to ask me a translation if you are interested.

(For the record, I’m not in any way involved with Malavasi, I just like to post the news I got by newsletter 🙂 ).


(images from Malavasi’s web site)


The Boys In The Band play goes to London

This morning actor Mark Gatiss shared the great news on Twitter:

We’re having a party! Wanna come?


So the play The Boys In The Band by Mart Crowley goes to the Park Theatre in London from the 28th of September to the 30th of October 2016.

Mark Gatiss will play Harold and his husband, the actor Ian Hallard, will play Michael.

No surprises they’re going to play the two main characters.

Here the official website, Twitter account @BoysBandPlay and Facebook page BoysBandPlay. Park Theatre @ParkTheatre.

Here an article on the revival:

I think the 1970 movie by William Friedkin from the same play was a masterpiece! So funny and bitter-sweet at the same time! Harold and Bernard are still my favorite in the movie, btw. While I’m still divided about Michael.

So I was hoping it would be made on stage, sooner or later. It’s about time someone take it to a theatre again!

Unfortunately, I’m quite sure I can’t make it, as I booked for London and Stratford at the beginning of September, so would be hard to me to be back to the UK again from Italy on the same month – and for sure this show will go sold out in a snap, as soon as the booking starts on Tuesday 3rd May – what a pity! Typical Italian problem…


Shakespeare 400 and The Complete Walk

No surprises, of course, but there are plenty of events in celebration of the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death, 1616-2016. The hashtag is #Shakespeare400.

It’s hard to write about all of them, so I focus on just some which got my attention.


First of all, the amazing Royal Shakespeare Company season in Stratford-Upon-Avon, London and other UK venues! See details on their website:

They take to London some of the Stratford’s plays:


  • The Alchemist (2 September – 1 October) directed by Polly Findlay, featuring Ken Nwosu, Mark Lockyer and Siobhán McSweeney
  • Doctor Faustus (7 September – 1 October) directed by Maria Aberg with Sandy Grierson and Oliver Ryan sharing the roles of Faustus and Mephistophilis
  • Cymbeline (31 October – 22 December) directed by Melly Stillwith Gillian Bevan as the first woman to take on the role of Cymbeline for the RSC 
  • King Lear (10 November – 23 December) directed by Gregory Doran, with Antony Sher in the title role, David Troughton as Gloucester and Paapa Essiedu as Edmund


Love’s Labour’s Lost and Much Ado About Nothing (or Love’s Labour’s Won) transfer from Chichester Festival Theatre. Christopher Luscombe directs one acting company in both shows from 9 December 2016 to 18 March 2017.

And they bring to cinemas Henry V, Shakespeare Live!, Hamlet, Cymbeline and King Lear. See the schedule:

Shakespeare Live! from the RSC” will be also aired on BBC Two on Saturday 23 April at 8.30pm & in UK cinemas. Tickets:

Not forgetting, the wonderful “A Midsummer Night’s Dream – A Play For The Nation” still running in UK venues, before to return to Stratford June 15, 2016 – July 16, 2016 for the last run: with the free event “Midsummer Music – Free music gigs curated by and featuring leading musicians from the West Midlands, responding to themes in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” in June and July 2016.

Guildhall London


Simon Russell Beale and John Heffernan open Shakespeare’s event at on 10 May (via City Of London on Twitter).

Read the article: “Leading actors perform at Guildhall’s ‘open mic’ Shakespeare day ”

John Heffernan and actors Luke Thompson and Patsy Ferran viewed 1623 First Folio at the Guildhall on 1st April 2016, see a gallery: (more other actors viewed the book)

Shakespeare's Globe


Saturday 23 April – Sunday 24 April 2016
2.5 mile route from Westminster Bridge to Tower Bridge
Free event

This is a really fascinating event lucky people and tourists of London and Liverpool will be lucky to watch!

Every play had been filmed in real locations, where the Bard’s plays takes places!

The Globe wrote:

<<A free, interactive celebration of Shakespeare’s plays

Download The Complete Walk Map to plan your route (PDF version)

Over the spring weekend of 23 – 24 April 2016, the banks of the Thames will come alive with an extraordinary celebration as Shakespeare’s Globe invites the world to join The Complete Walk.

37 specially-made 10 minute films will be screened along the iconic 2.5 mile stretch between Westminster Bridge and Tower Bridge.

Each film explores one of Shakespeare’s plays and includes scenes shot in the locations Shakespeare imagined when he wrote them. Picture Cleopatra in front of the Pyramids, Shylock in Venice’s former Jewish Ghetto, Hamlet on the rocks of Elsinore and much more.

These scenes will be combined with extracts from the BFI’s iconic early silent films and our Globe On Screen filmed stage productions. Featuring a host of the world’s greatest actors, The Complete Walk is an accessible, interactive way to celebrate Shakespeare’s life, work and legacy, exactly 400 years on from his death.

The films will play continuously throughout the weekend enabling you to join us for the entire route or to dip in and out of your favourite plays as you stroll along the river.

A digital map will be available to download from this webpage in the days leading up to the event, or you can pick up a print copy from Shakespeare’s Globe over the weekend of 23 – 24 April.

Cast includes:

Nikki Amuka-Bird
Gemma Arterton is Rosaline in Love’s Labour’s Lost
Zawe Ashton
Hayley Atwell is in Cymbeline
Simon Russell Beale in Timon of Athens
Eve Best
Jessie Buckley
Tom Burke
David Burke
David Calder
Peter Capaldi
David Caves
Paul Chahidi
Kenneth Cranham
Marty Cruickshank
Philip Cumbus
David Dawson is Berowne in Love’s Labour’s Lost
Phil Davis
Bryan Dick told me on TwitterI’m playing Touchstone in As You Like It. We were the first to film.
Omid Djalili
Lindsay Duncan
Ray Fearon
Susie Fielding
Mel Giedroyc
Aidan Gillen
Boothby Graffoe
Trystan Gravelle
David Harewood filmed Othello in Cyprus, he will play the title’s character
Kevin Harvey
John Heffernan filmed Othello in Cyprus (will he play Iago?)
Clare Higgins
Douglas Hodge is Prospero in The Tempest, filmed in Bermuda
Alex Jennings
Toby Jones
Will Keen
Tamara Lawrence
John Light
Joel MacCormack
Sarah MacRae
Joseph Marcell
Neil Maskell
Eleanor Matsuura is Cleopatra in Anthony And Cleopatra
Joshua McGuire
Pauline McLynn
Ben Miles
Dean Nolan
James Norton
Jamie Parker
Katherine Parkinson as Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing
Nikesh Patel
Jonathan Pryce
Phoebe Pryce
Prasanna Puwanarajah
Ekow Quartey
Paul Ready
Sheila Reid
Olivia Ross
Dominic Rowan
Danny Sapani
Joanna Scanlan
Katy Stephens
Tom Stuart
Meera Syal
Matthew Tennyson
Michelle Terry
Luke Thompson
Alex Waldmann
Dominic West in Coriolanus, filmed at Ostia Antica in Rome
Samuel West as Benedict in Much Ado About Nothing
Olivia Williams
Ruth Wilson
Angus Wright as Henry IV in Henry IV Part 2
Ashley Zhangazha

Further casting to be announced.

I will update the list as soon as I find them out.

The plays

The Complete Walk plays

(from The Globe pdf above)

Great to see that eight plays have been filmed in Italian locations!


Some more events here:

 I’m quite sure I will not be able to see everything, but I’ll do my best!

Some tickets have been booked and recorders set.

It’s going to be busy but quite enjoyable!

A Scena Aperta: an open day for historic theatres of Emilia Romagna

On 9 and 10 April, historic theatres of Emilia Romagna will be open with visits, shows, ballets and other events, in the name of Ariosto, Cervantes and Shakespeare!

(Region Emilia Romagna’s card for the event)

This year, in fact, the world celebrates three very important anniversaries:

  • on 1516, 500 years ago, Ludovico Ariosto published “L’Orlando Furioso” for the first time,
  • both William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes died on 1616, 400 years ago.

The theatres which will take part to the event under the name of “A Scena Aperta” (At Open Scene) will make lectures, gigs and other things to commemorate the three writers.

Here an article, in Italian:

Here, 107 pages of the beautiful historic theatres of Emilia Romagna with photos, in Italian: teatri storici

The full programme, in Italian:


The IBC Region Emilia Romagna also launched an Instagram contest: people who will attend to the week-end, can share their pictures to describe their experience at one of the theatres, adding the hastag #ascenaaperta and tagging @ibcemiliaromagna (from the 9th to the 16th of April).

All the pictures will be reposted by the IBC and the best ones will be published on a brochure dedicated to the event and on the pages of the theatres on the IBC website. No pictures of children and minors allowed.


Read: “My Love Letter to the Dream16 company”

So rare to read the composer’s point of view on a play! Makes even more hard to me to wait to see Dream2016 in May! I feel sorry for the amateur who literaly broke a leg, while I find amazing the digital lessons and that children can work so hard (but having much fun, I bet)! Great piece of writing below!


There is a special kind of grief reserved for composers. It’s the moment when your presence is no longer needed to make your music function. You can listen and give notes for ever, of course, but ultimately, the whole point of the exercise is to provide a score which is iterable, coach it until it resembles as closely as possible your ideal version, and then leave them to it. The deadline for scores in theatre is the Press night, at which point the vast majority of companies consider the show ‘frozen’, ie no substantive changes will be made thereafter.

Last week I was at Northern Stage in Newcastle with the RSC’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream – a Play for the Nation. I’ve been working on this show since April 2015. We’d already opened the show in Stratford-Upon-Avon, and there had, indeed, been a press night there, but the dimensions of…

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War Horse London is saying goodbye

So today there will be the last two performances for War Horse On Stage London.

It was Morphurgo’s decision to give it a rest, while tours are continuing around the world.

The English production will go on UK tour in 2017, with another cast, I suppose.

I was lucky enough to see it twice, in 2013 and 2015, both at the New London Theatre, but I still regret I haven’t seen all the different cast and productions. Would have been interesting. Let’s hope the National makes some recordings available in streaming or in their archive.

For some hours, old and current cast & creatives are tweeting their “goodbye” to the play.

(direct links)



NT Bookshop1

NT Bookshop2

I confess: me, too!


Dominic Hodson

Nada Zakula

Matthew Forbes




Toby Olié

Alisdair Simpson



Matthew Churcher

Markus Schabbing


More will follow, as soon as I find them.

I’ve booked for two plays in Stratford!

I couldn’t resist, even if I’ve still to plan everything else and I’m not even sure if I can make it!

But tickets are selling fast and I was afraid to miss the occasion to see two plays by William Shakespeare in his birthplace the year of the celebration of Shakespeare 400 (400 years since his death), or to find none or bad seats last minute! Those I’ve bought in stalls seem quite good.

And I’ve never seen Cymbeline, so it was worth to book for it and King Lear by the Royal Shakespeare Company, with very interesting cast performing in both the plays!

It will be also a good occasion to visit Stratford-Upon-Avon for the first time. It looks gorgeous from the pictures!


Cymbeline 29 April – 15 October 2016 – hashtag #RSCCymbeline

King Lear  20 August -15 October 2016 – hashtag #RSCKingLear

In protest: too few nominations for Oppenheimer!

I look back in… anger!

I can’t find an explanation on why Oppenheimer is not getting recognition from the theatreland: time goes by and some important awards on season 2015-2016, after just few months, seem to have forgotten how beautiful, gripping, entertaining and ridiculously well performed this play was, giving preference to latest productions and, even more irritating, to more famous – not necessarily more deserving – actors! Not talking about the fact that musicals seem to steal attention everywhere.

I’m so disappointed that any other nomination for other good plays I saw last year didn’t take me at all and I know is not nice from me, I should be happy for them and support them all, but I can’t help it!

I’m so so happy Catherine Steadman got her Olivier Awards nomination, of course! It’s amazing but I shouldn’t be surprised: she really deserved that!

I know there were little chances that any of the other supporting actors could get a nomination, they were all at the same good level, so it would be hard to choose between them, but they could get one as Ensemble, at least! How could be possible they didn’t?

No noms for Best New Play, Direction, Music, Sound, Set Design, Light Design either! I would give it a nom even for Choreography for the dynamic movements the cast made on stage, even if it wasn’t a ballet nor a musical!

And Oppenheimer got very good 4* and 5* reviews from many important magazines and blogs and it’s a fact that it was requested by the audience of London, after the run in Stratford-Upon-Avon and was sold-out in several dates. Both the Trailers made as adv for the two cities would deserve an award, too, expecially the first one in black&white.

Are theatrical awards’ juries blind or too posh to reward it, I wonder?

But, even more absurd and unfair, the wonderful John Heffernan has been ignored for his performance as Robert J. Oppenheimer! He’s a performer of great sensitivity and dedication, he got the play on his shoulders, I’ve never seen an actor so taken by a role like him at the end of the play! He totally blew me away! What an amazing actor!

Yesterday and even today, I read many tweets of other people disappointed by the lack of nominations for Oppenheimer and Heffernan, so I’m not the only one who’s gutted!

I know awards shouldn’t matter, as you can read in this conversation:


and that those actors and creatives who worked in Oppenheimer will stay in the audience’s hearts forever (I suspect the cast itself had great fun doing it), and – again – I’m aware anyone can say that about their own favorite play or musical, but I’m still convinced this particular one should deserve awards like rain! I wouldn’t have seen this play four times in eight days, if I wasn’t totally taken by it! It never happened before and I will never regret it! You can read my review there. It’s a pity it wasn’t recorded for streaming or disks!

Anyway, at least let’s root for:

Oppenheimer poster

2016 nominees

Fingers crossed for both the nominations!


You can have your say writing me a comment below.


Save The Honest Actors’ Podcast!

I’m following The Honest Actors’ Podcast & Blog for some time, as they share precious, honest words from actors about their profession, which is always so interesting to me, being not one of them, but loving Performing Arts and everything related. I like to know how the profession is from the inside!

Because it’s not all roses being an actor, but it’s great to see how they go ahead with every day’s problems and don’t give up!

The creator is an actor himself, Jonathan Harden @jonatharden

You can listen for free to podcasts or read blogs on the website:


(logo copyright of The Honest Actors’ Podcast)

Words are on the profession, training, advices to other actors, journals, health problems, depression, muggle life, but also family and humour.

It’s such an interesting archive already and it will be a precious source for new actors of the future. Or actors already in the field can see their own experience through the point of view or their colleagues.

It will be very interesting, as he said below, if we hear the voices of younger and less experienced actors moving their first steps in the profession!

Here five of my favorites, so you can see the hard work the Honest Actors do:

Here, some notes from the author about the episodes: episode-notes.

But is now “The End for The Honest Actors Podcast” after just one year?

Let’s hope not!!!

The response to the all things Honest Actors’ has been overwhelming since day one!

Harden was determined to keep the podcast free for everyone, eventually even for him, but without a sponsor, the project just isn’t sustainable anymore.

In his own words: “I feel that there’s an audience who want and need The Honest Actors Project to continue. With them in mind, I would love to take it to the next level. I’d love to start releasing new episodes weekly. I’d love to open the project out and start interviewing not just actors, but directors, producers and casting directors. I’d love to find a way to give voice to younger and less experienced actors. And I’d love to start having occasional round-table discussions and maybe even live events.

So follow the hashtag #savehonestactors on Twitter and Facebook and spread the word, let’s help him keeping up the good work!

Here some ways you can help The Honest Actors’ Podcast & Blog:

To #savehonestactors and get it back on, we need to show potential sponsors that it is worth getting behind, demonstrating the value of the project in the only thing business understands: numbers. Numbers on the mailing list, numbers of social media followers, numbers of tweets, numbers of downloads, numbers of ratings etc etc.

To that end, I need just 2 minutes and 25 seconds of your time. Starting now…

  1. Tweet your thoughts on the podcast and the suspension using the hashtag #savehonestactors (45 seconds)
  2. Post a link on facebook linking to the iTunes feed, recommending your favourite episode (45 seconds)
  3. Joining the mailing list (15 seconds), click like on facebook (5 seconds) and click ‘follow’ on Twitter (5 seconds)
  4. Leave a rating on iTunes (30 seconds – there’s a video explaining how to do it here)

Finally, please do your best to listen to the latest audio content today, so that I can show a big spike in downloads and hopefully a Top 10 spot on iTunes.

Here the Press Release in PDF.

Fingers crossed for him we save The Honest Actors’ Podcast & Blog!

I’m sure many fans would listen to their favorite actors’ words

or discover some new ones through the site!