Visit Leicester!

When I was younger, I had a big crush on Gary Oldman and his acting skills and I tried to watch as many movies with him as I could. I still like him, despite the ups and downs in his career, but that’s another story.

To me his performance as Joe Orton in Prick Up Your Ears is still the best one. When I saw the movie for the first time (I don’t remember the year), I was amazed and it made me want to know more about the writer. I was making my first steps towards the Gay Culture then, so I went to the library of my city and took his biography home. Perhaps I would change my mind reading it today that I’m older, but at the time I didn’t like the man, for his misogyny and other aspects of his nature that came out from the reading. I had a better opinion on him seeing the movie, so I was disappointed. I think I could like him more now if I try to see his life through his eyes and not from outside. Anyway, he must have been a fascinating man to the people around him and certainly he was for his younger sister Leonie, who had always worshipped him.

I  hadn’t the chance to see a play by Orton until this year, despite in my research I find out What The Butler Saw was performed in some theatres of Italy on tour in 2012.

When, unexpectedly, one day the actor Jack Holden wrote a tweet that made me happy: “What The Butler Saw. This is the next play I’m doing. Filthy, frantic, frisky

The city of Leicester was going to celebrate its national treasure Joe Orton on the 50th anniversary of his tragic death, with a play the playwright wasn’t even able to see staged!

I love celebrations and to be in a certain place in years when events happen. Like last year with Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary in Stratford-Upon-Avon! I couldn’t miss this one neither!

This was going to be a triple occasion: to see a play by Orton in its original language (a challenge to me, to see if I could like his work), to visit Leicester for the first time and, last but not least, to see Holden on stage again. The cast announced was an extra bonus.

I booked immediately everything for my holiday in Leicester, also involving my friend Laura, who will join me in London next May as well. We were both excited, despite we could book for just a short holiday on Thursday 16 and Friday 17 March! In fact, last December I had booked for Ballet Boyz‘s Life on Saturday 18 night in Ravenna and I had to be back in time, while my friend had to work along the week. It’s a pity that the events overlap, or we would have booked for Butler last day, too.

My following step was going back to the library after ages to take a book I remembered I had seen, that collects together three Orton’s plays, included What The Butler Saw, out of print for years here. It’s translated in Italian, but it helped me to understand the story.

I also found a TV movie filmed by the BBC in 1987 on YouTube, and watched it in original, despite now I much prefer it performed live. Theatre got a different rhythm when it’s performed for TV or maybe it was how they used to film stage works in the ‘80s, who knows…

I go on with the things I remember, because this time I didn’t write any note, like I use to do. Time was tight.

On Thursday 16 at very early morning, Laura and me were flying to Stansted via Bologna and later we took two trains plus the tube to Leicester. Going there is quite easy, so I’ll certainly will go back there for more theatre. We arrived on the early afternoon.

I couldn’t wait to visit Leicester also because it got another UK national treasure, Richard III, a historical character I have always found fascinating, for better or for worse. I read the news about the discovering of the king’s grave on the web and I wanted to visit it. I found very effective the way the Almeida Theatre inserted the discovery of the bones at the beginning and at the end of their production of Shakespeare’s Richard III starring Ralph Fiennes, a screening I was lucky to see in my city thanks to Nexo Digital. The king was also brilliantly portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch in the tv miniseries The Hollow Crown and by the Italian actor Alessandro Gassmann, who performed him like a sort of Frankenstein at the Teatro Diego Fabbri in Forlì. This is one of my favourite plays the Bard ever wrote.

Once reached our hotel, we took a walk around Leicester to see where Curve Theatre was located. We had a look outside and inside the Leicester Cathedral, too, which was still open, but a service was taking place so we didn’t visit it. Despite the weather was cold and cloudy, at the sunset the sun came out and spread its light over the buildings. The atmosphere was poetic. The city is beautiful!

On Friday morning (I realized it was Friday 17-03-17, I love such kind of dates!) we had our breakfast at Curve Green Room. it was a nice way to celebrate being in Leicester for the play. Toasts and cappuccino were delicious, have a break there if you visit the city! We had fun seeing a class of children outside warming up with their teachers, before to go inside the theatre. We wondered if they were there to see something or to take part to a performance.

While we were finishing our breakfast, I recognized from their Twitter profiles Nikolai Foster and Chris Stafford, respectively the Director and the Chief Executive of Curve, who were sitting at another table. I didn’t know what to do, I was afraid of bothering them while they were having a break. I have a rule: never bother people out of performing time! But my friend Laura, who didn’t want me to miss such an occasion, went on and introduced herself to them, explaining who we were and that we were going to see What The Butler Saw that night. I’m much grateful she did so. Stafford had to go, but Foster stayed for a chat. He seemed pleased we had come from Italy to see the play and that we showed interest in theatre. So he managed for us a wonderful tour of Curve, asking to a member of the staff if she could guide us inside the building. I’m sorry I forgot her name, because she was really nice.

Not only we got to go behind the scenes of WTBS! We also walked through the stage and were able to see the details closely! It was so very accurate, like being inside a real clinic. Our nice guide told us that the set designer made the stage inclined on purpose. I love to discover such tricks. It’s even more incredible thinking that actors had to run over it, the ladies and Holden even wearing hig heels! I had seen some photos of the making of on Twitter, I would never imagine I would walk through it one day! We couldn’t take any photos of the stage, though, due to the copyright, which we understood. The set looked like a treasure chest from the backstage. We could took some pictures there. My friend took a photo of me near the blonde wig Jack Holden wears during every performance, just for me to remember that I lived that day for real! In a corner there were all the clothes I recognized from the production photos, also the leopard dress! I was gloating! It made the wait for the incoming show even more exciting! I thought I got a pic of those clothes, but I can’t find it anymore…

We continued our tour and we saw a rehearsal room and then the workroom when a costume designer was making one wig for Mrs. Prentice: he  told us they make it for every performance because they want it to appear fresh. And on the same floor, as promised by Nikolai Foster, we could attend to the rehearsals of Grease, which is going to Dubai soon! What a honour to be there! He introduced us to Nick Winston, the co-Director and Choreographer, a very kind man. One of the actors, Keisha Atwell, came to shake our hand and told she was happy we had come from Italy! What a warm welcome! Later I searched and followed both on Twitter. We took a seat and seeing them rehearsing was like being inside a movie. Like being inside A Chorus Line for example, but in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere! A dream coming true! It never happened to us! The actors were learning the choreography for “Born To Hand Jive”, one of my favourite scenes in the story. They seemed to enjoy themselves. What great artists performers and theatre-makers are! Rehearsing again and again a single scene for hours, every day for weeks, and then doing it on stage in front of an audience for weeks again, sometimes for months! I definitely can’t say how they do that keeping the passion on, it must be the big love for what they do which brings them ahead! I can understand that! I took a sneaky photo of the wall with the pictures the cast&creative were using as samples for the style of the Grease’s era, I hope they don’t mind.

Our tour came to an end and we had to leave our guests! We were so grateful! Unforgettable morning! I don’t know if we had said thank you to them enough! We kept talking about that morning between us!

Later, we went to the Visit Leicester office to get information about Richard III and what was available to visit in just few hours. They were very kind and helpful and suggested the King Richard III Visitor Centre and the Leicester Cathedral. We also took some goodies they sell.

On our way to “meet” RIII, we noticed a fruit market and had a look around. We love such places, full of colours. There’s also a stall that sells beautiful gift cards! I bought two.

The visit at the RIII Centre was very interesting, they explained with panels and videos about the time he lived in. Scientists used his skull to reconstruct his face, it looks quite similar to the ancient portrait we knew before the discovery was made, and the man that came out doesn’t look like the fierce King we have imagined from the chronicles of the time or from the play Shakespeare wrote! In the room built over the place where bones have been found, a guide explained us about the work made there after a proper research. Then RIII’s remains where transferred into the Cathedral inside a decorated coffin, after a ceremony along the streets of Leicester. Before to leave the Centre, I bought for myself a book with the story of RIII and a notebook for my diary.

Our guide at the Cathedral, a beautiful Gothic church opposite to the Centre in the same square, told us that perhaps all was said about the King came from the bad propaganda Henry VII the winner wanted to be made against him. It wouldn’t be a surprise. If true, history should give him justice! Anyway, Shakespeare’s Richard III is still a much fascinating character actors will continue to perform that way! Below you can see the definitive tomb where RIII was buried and the coffin used for the ceremony.


And, finally, our time to see What The Butler Saw arrived on the evening at 7.30 pm! We got good seats in the stalls in two different rows. Curve is a beautiful and comfortable theatre! The play is exhilarating, I was crying with laughter, it’s a bit weird laughing on such things, but the script is so brilliant that you can’t get offended by it. I will write my report on seeing this “Filthy, frantic, frisky farce” on this other page (I’m sorry I’m still working on it). This blog is long enough!

But I’m happy to say we got to meet Jack Holden after the show, he was as nice as always, he stayed for a chat and we were happy to talk to him about the play and performing dressed as Geraldine. I was all focused on him, but I loved the performance of all the six actors. It’s really a good cast! Another time, maybe, I will get the chance to meet them. I still have hope that a theatre in London, hopefully in the West End, calls them to perform Butler for the Londoners. I’d certainly go there to see the play again!

I got from Jack Holden the most lovely dedication ever on my programme! The only thing I regret is I didn’t take a photo together with him, like other fans of the cast did, but I asked the autograph already and for sure he was tired after the performance! Maybe next time.

What a fantastic day it has been for us! The Curve’s team made our day on so many levels!

I’m glad we made it in Leicester! And a reply I got on Twitter made me happy again:


I greatly suggest people to go to see What The Butler Saw in Bath from 27 March to 1 April 2017:!


(Some photos were taken by my friend Laura, some by me.)


My London-Stratford-London diary!

My London-Stratford-London diary in pictures!


Everything began last January, when I noticed these two tweets by the theatre expert Terry Paddock:

cymbeline-cast  king-lear-cast

I booked as soon as I could manage a new holiday, I wouldn’t have missed the occasion, even if the two plays got an alternate schedule and I had to think about my booking accurately! RSC Oppenheimer’s actor Oliver Johnstone (an actor I’m following for some time) was going to play two opposite characters, one good person and one villain, Edgar and Iachimo. Edgar is my favourite character in King Lear! While I was new to Cymbeline, we didn’t have it in our bookcase, yet, so I bought the book in double language and read it.

I know that isn’t very popular to say so, but I immediately liked the cheeky Iachimo on paper, more than Posthumus, Imogen’s soulmate. I have the impression that William Shakespeare himself didn’t root for this love story, while the sneaky bedroom scene is maybe the best one he wrote in the whole play.

I don’t like Cymbeline (and his wife and step-son) either, another selfish king in the Bard’s long bibliography, who causes his own ruin, as often happens in Shakespeare. While Imogen is lovely and bold, as well as her servant Pisanio, Belarius and his two sons, who are actually the king’s sons. I found the gender changes in the RSC production intriguing.

I also liked the idea of seeing the two plays in Stratford-Upon-Avon, Shakespeare’s birthplace, on the year of the 400th anniversary of his death. I hadn’t visited the city before.

Since I had to travel via London and to stay a few nights there, I took a look to some more plays to watch.

So, here my diary of that new UK adventure.


I went to London via Bologna airport. The day was splendid in Italy, so I could see the surface of my beautiful country from above! I was particularly impressed by the shapes of the San Luca mountain near Bologna and of the Lake of Garda! Pity I didn’t think to take photos, but maybe I enjoyed the view better, with my mp3 player on. While, approaching the UK, the weather went cloudy.

At Heathrow, I changed my booking with two train tickets to Stratford. At my hotel on middle afternoon, I had only to wait for the night to come.

Hobson’s Choice, the play with Martin Shaw and Bryan Dick (an actor I admire and I want to see on stage whenever I’m able) in its cast, was announced at the Vaudeville Theatre after the UK tour. I booked for it on that first night in London. It was a very enjoyable show, I wrote my report there. It was great to be back at that gorgeous theatre to see it!

It was also a real pleasure to meet Bryan Dick at the stage door after the show: he was very lovely, hugged me and signed my programme with a nice dedication! He writes my name right, that’s even nicer! Not common in my experience, haha!



On the morning, I had an appointment with the National Theatre Archive to see a recording of War Horse, before to go to Stratford. I saw the 2013 and 2015 cast at the New London Theatre already, but consulting the archive online, I noticed they had some recordings of previous cast. At home in Italy, I exchanged some emails with a member of the staff: I asked her if it was possible to watch it again, with Luke Treadaway or Jack Holden in the role of Albert Narracott. It looked like it was possible, she told me I could watch the one with Holden, plus I could consult the script and the programme. I was very happy! I saw some scenes with the actor on the NT 50th DVD and in the 2012 trailer and I was curious to see that performance!

So scheduling my holiday, I posponed for some hours Stratford while booking and I decided to take an appointment at the NTA for that morning. But once at the archive, the woman apologized she thought I could watch the one I wanted, but the NTA put away those recordings, so only the newest are now available to watch there. I was disappointed, but I didn’t protest… too much. The recording was the 2013 one with Sion Daniel Young as Albert, so I decided to watch it again, also because I loved Ian Shaw’s performance as Friedrich Müller. But the programme was the 2015 one, so I didn’t consult it, as I have it at home. I don’t blame the NTA, though. I saw some great recordings, there, so I can’t complain.

Once I left the NTA, I took a walk along The Cut, because it was a bit too early to get to the train station. So I took this photo of the Young Vic, in appreciation of them putting these two flags on their balcony:

I had my train for Stratford on early afternoon. At Marylebone, a poster of Cymbeline was waiting for me:

Cymbeline's poster, Marylebone station, London

Cymbeline’s poster, Marylebone station, London

It was the first time I was on train in UK, if we don’t consider the one I took sometimes from Gatwick to London, so I was excited but worried at the same time I could take the wrong train or do something wrong changing it at Leamington Spa. But getting to Stratford was quite easy and I arrived around five o’clock.

I found my b&b Stretton House the office of tourism suggested me by email, a lovely house not too far from the station and the theatres. The owner was very welcoming and gave me a map of Stratford, explaining me the best way to get to the RSC theatres and Shakespeare’s famous places. It was good, I should remember not to trust entirely the Google maps I print, it’s better to ask to hotel’s owners!

I took a walk to the theatres and I was immediately taken by the modern/ancient building from far!


I visited the bookshop of the RSC and bought the two programmes in advance. I also noticed some stuff I would have liked to buy the following days.

The first of the two plays with Oliver Johnstone, King Lear, was taking place that night.

It’s hard to say if I was more curious to see Oliver playing Edgar, a wonderful character, or Iachimo, the sneaky Italian, a fellow countryman of mine then, who tries to seduce the chaste Imogen. I can say he performed both the men in a wonderful way!

But let’s tell things in order.

On the night, I was sitting at my place inside the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. It was a very good seat at one side of the stage, on the front row. I didn’t dare to take a photo, but the atmosphere was exciting. A full report on the play will be posted there soon. The whole cast was terrific! The RSC always chooses well!

After the show, I wanted to meet Oliver at the stage door to say congratulations to him for the wonderful performance, but also to tell him I was going to see Cymbeline the day after. That because I read the cast speak Italian, French and Latin in the play, so I wanted to see if he could say any comment about it, knowing I was Italian.

He was very nice and asked me from which part of Italy I came. Then he exuberantly explained that Iachimo is from Siena, while I replied I thought he was from Rome (I didn’t remember that detail from the book). I also told him that I wanted to see him playing such opposite characters and he told me that, yes, they are two very different roles to play, but he finds it stimulating.

I thought that Oliver’s performance was very physical and reminded me of a figure from a painting of Caravaggio. I was right, as later, browsing the programme, I found a page mentioning the painter!


I had a great night.


After a delicious English Breakfast, on the morning I decided to visit Shakespeare’s grave first. It was due to pay homage to the Bard!

With my precious map on my hands, I reached the Holy Trinity Church, a beautiful church with original Gothic architecture. Photos were allowed, so I could take several pictures inside and outside. It was a great emotion to me to be there! Here the gallery with the description:

Outside the historical complex, the garden overlooks the Avon river and the view is stunning. You can see the RST tower from far. I took a walk along the river through a passage in the party wall. Definitely, this city is still focused on Shakespeare, as you can see from the gallery (see the pavillion’s photos, for example):

In my walk, I found by chance the famous The Other Place, the RSC mentions often on Twitter and I wanted to visit. I bet that, if I was looking for it on purpose, I wouldn’t have find it so soon! I liked that place. If I only think that inside there rehealsals take place!!

They use the walls as a glorious gallery of the RSC productions, so I couldn’t help taking pictures. You’ll see why:

I also had a delicious cappuccino at the bar.

Then, I continued my tour along the river and around the RST. I had the whole morning.

I took some stuff for my theatre collection at the bookshop and then I came back to the b&b to get ready for the other play, Cymbeline. You can well see why I wanted this calendar…I don’t think I’ll move the page any further, when I’ll find the one with Oppie….


There, a bad news: my mobile didn’t charge! Gosh. I had just the time to text my friend Chris time and place for our appointment on the evening, before the battery abandoned me.

I run to be at the theatre in time for Cymbeline. This time, I had a seat in front of the stage, first row. I was very curious to see if detractors of the play were right. They weren’t. Apparently we saw a different show. I greatly enjoyed the play, it was dynamic and funny, played not in a classic way. A full report on the play will be posted there soon.

Meeting Oliver at the stage door again, he smiled at me and told he hoped his Italian was okay and looked glad that I thought so. I can’t talk for French people and I didn’t study Latin, but I think that he did well. Actually, he spoke the best Italian in the cast and I told him so. I have to admit I didn’t understand some lines from the others actors during the scenes taking place in Rome and I had to read subtitles in English on screen, oops! But it was just the languages, because I really enjoyed all the performances!

I would have liked to ask Oliver how he manages two different performances day after day and where did he learn Italian and French, but I felt silly and I left him with his acting secrets.

He also asked me when I was going back to Italy and if I planned to see other plays in London. I replied that I had booked for Pride And Prejudice and Groundhog Day, he told me he was hoping to see GDay, too, once in London. Unless he saw the play on one of the last two Sundays, I’m sorry he will be disappointed, as the play ended last Monday, 19 September! I didn’t notice, or maybe I could have told him. What a pity for him, that musical was great!

I also got the occasion to ask for the autograph to the lovely Bethan Cullinane, I told her I loved her performance and that she and Oliver were my favorite in the cast. She said me smiling that they went to the acting school together, so I told her that I knew that last Summer they made together Young Bloods, a RADA play about Waterloo, too.

They both cheered my day up! Cheeky me, I looked for these two actors at the stage door only, as I think they stole the play.

I was in Stratford just for a short holiday, it’s a pity I could see each play only once, I’d need to focus on details! Who knows if I can make the London season at the Barbican, but looks like tickets are selling fast! So I hope that the RSC will edit the two plays on DVD, next year!

I will always regret I didn’t make an effort and didn’t go to Stratford before, to see Oppenheimer at the Swan Theatre! I found Stratford and the Royal Shakespeare Theatre gorgeous and I greatly miss them already!

On the evening, I had an appointment with Chris, an English friend I met through Twitter. We had dinner together at the RST restaurant. It was a lovely way to end the day. Courses were delicious and a pleasure for the eyes.

I found bizzarre the changes that have been made inside the building, as Chris explained me. They left just three seats on the wall to show where the old circle of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre ended. And posters.

After dinner, we walked around to see the city by night. Chris suggested me a shop where I could ask to check my phone in the morning. Pity I couldn’t take photos of Stratford by night, as my camera card was full already and I couldn’t use the phone. The atmosphere outside Shakespeare’s house was magic.


Another lovely English Breakfast. I had my train for London around 5 pm, but I had to renounce to visit to some Stratford places as I planned, for I had to fix my phone problems and I couldn’t leave my luggage at the b&b for more than few hours, as they apologized they had a last-minute commitment on the afternoon. So I took another long walk through the city, but it was nice.

Then I stayed around the RSC theatres and I sat on Ian Richardson’s bench. What a honour!

But I had enough time to visit the RSC’s free exhibition “WELL SAID, Favourite Shakespeare Quotes” inside the RST. Lines by Shakespeare were chosen by actors, like Ayesha Dharker, Hiran Abeysekera and Paapa Essiedu and inspired new artworks made by some artists.

After that, walking around the ground floor, I noticed that big photo Tom Morton-Smith tweeted about some months ago. Looks like at the RSC are still proud of that wonderful performance by John Heffernan! Oppie is still there! I can’t blame them!

I didn’t want to leave the RSC palace too soon, so I decided to have another lovely cappuccino and a slice of cake at the bar. The British now how to prepare them!


Later, I visited the Guild Chapel, another amazing Gothic church in the city. There are some ancient affrescos in need for restoration, so they’re collecting money. I really hope they can make it.

And around the city there still are some amazing buildings of the time of Shakespeare, fortunately the city saved fro the passing of time. Is part of their cultural heritage, no?

I would have liked to stay in Stratford more days, but I had to leave. I took some last photos at the train station.

I had no plays to see in London in the evening, so I enjoyed an episode of Law & Order: UK on TV. It’s always a pleasure to see James Steel on screen!


I started my day going to The Cut again. In my schedule, I didn’t think I could excange my ticket for Groundhog Day at the Old Vic on Wednesday. Oh well, it was also an occasion to do my ritual: walking along the Southwark, which for me is like throwing a coin into the Fontana Di Trevi to get back to Rome!

Waiting for the Old Vic’s box office to open, I went to the bar of the Young Vic, where I know they do a good cappuccino. It was fun, because the barman asked me if I was there for an audition. Haha! I told him that I wished I was! Then he asked me if I was seeing Yarma, but no, unfortunately.

I took my ticket for GDay and then I went to the Southbank. Everytime, I have to go inside the National Theatre for their bookshop, where I bought a copy of The Stage, and then inside the BFI, where I use to visit the exhibition they set on the mezzanine. This time it was “Recent acquisitions to BFI special collection“. I took with me a programme of the incoming Film Festival, too. I wish I could have attended to it.

I was nervous and excited for the afternoon. I was going ot the Open Air Theatre for the first time, to see Pride And Prejudice, but the weather was cloudy, so I feared it could rain. I was right. As I wrote in my report there, I was able to see just few minutes of it, then the staff interrupted the play! I was so disappointed! For the second time in that holiday, I couldn’t see a play I planned to see!! I just took some photos around.

But I took consolation on the evening, as Groundhog Day was indoors and very enjoyable! My report there.


A brief visit to the British Library to buy a present for one of my two brothers, who celebrated his birthday the day after.

And then, on my way back to Italy, sigh. End of another great holiday! Looks always too short to me! Haha!

I hope you liked the gallery, I had to share how beautiful Stratford-Upon-Avon is!

Perhaps this diary matters just to me, really…

I took many other photos, but I posted here just the more interesting.

Bye bye!


It’s Shakespeare, again! In Veneto this time!

I’m in late on this, but it’s worth it to share it!

I’ve just found out on Twitter that brings Shakespeare around the Italian region Veneto!

logo Shakespeare in Veneto

Their motto:

from March to December 2016, 60 shows
in the original languages, in the cities of the Veneto region
where they were set by William Shakespeare.

Celebrating the 400-year Anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare, representing Shakespeare’s works in the cities of the Veneto Region where they were set by the author: in the legendary cloister of Juliet’s Tomb in the romantic Verona; in noble, historical, outstanding Venetian Palazzi in Venice; in antique Villas in the ancient Republic of Venice territories and in a fairytale castle with a breath-taking panorama on Garda Lake.

> VERONA: Romeo and Juliet

>VENICE: Othello and The Merchant of  Venice

>PADUA – Legnaro: The Taming of the Shrew

> LAKE GARDA – Torri del Benaco (Verona): The two Gentlemen of  Verona

From 1st March to 21st December, 60 shows to relive William Shakespeare opere in unique places and magic atmosphere.

I’ve just started to follow them on Twitter ad Facebook!

I would like to see one of their shows!

Tourists visiting North Italy could be interested, too!


Midsummer on the dancefloor

I can’t count how many companies around the world bring A Midsummer Night’s Dream on stage this year, in many creative ways, to celebrate the Bard’s 400th anniversary. I focused my interest on the RSC’s version RSC Dream 2016, which I liked much and I saw three times at the Barbican (read my report here), but for sure this other one caught my attention today: The Donkey Show, A Midsummer Nights Disco at Proud Camden in London.


It was introduced to me via Twitter by , who is involved in the project ( We follow each other there and I’m grateful he suggested me the show.

I take the synopsis straight from their gorgeous, glittering site

Taking over Proud Camden, this Midsummer Night’s Dream has a disco flair and you’re in the party! Inspired by Shakespeare’s story of love, magic and mishaps, and boasting a catalogue of retro hits including; I Will Survive, We Are Family, You Sexy Thing, Carwash and Don’t Leave Me This WayThe Donkey Show is bringing the divas, dancers and disco balls to London this summer for a strictly limited season from 10 June.

You can follow them on several social media:


Facebook donkeyshowldn

Instagram donkeyshowldn

YouTube channel

Snapchat donkeyshowldn

Here the Cast&Creative list: with their Twitter accounts – some characters’ names are different from the original, so I’d like to know if there still are the four lovers and how the story develops.

In the News session, you can find interviews to the cast&creatives and a rehearsals diary. I like when a production shares a lot of material with the audience.

Venue: Proud Camden, Camden Town, London – a strictly limited season from 10 June to 21 August 2016.

I love Disco music! I love Midsummer: to me it’s the most musical and colorful play that Shakespeare ever wrote, so putting it on the dancefloor is a great idea!

This show looks sooo cool! If I was in London this Summer, I would certainly go to Camden to see it!

I leave you with this promo shoot, which is really nice:


In praise of Jack Holden actor


I started to follow Jack Holden on Twitter in 2012, on a list first, when I noticed he was playing Albert Narracott in War Horse at the New London Theatre after Luke Treadaway and because he showed interest in WWI.

I didn’t see the 2012 production of War Horse, I had to wait the year after, but the cast was different.

Anyway, the staff of the National Theatre Archive wrote me that a version with Jack as Albert is available to view at their location, so I will go there in my next London holiday to watch it.

I think Jack is playing very interesting roles, of course I started to follow his Twitter account after a short time! And WWI seems to be a regular feature in his career.

In 2014 through his tweets, I saw that Jack was starring in the one-man show Johnny Got His Gun from Dalton Trumbo anti-war novel, on WWI again. He got praises for his performance in reviews and from the audience. I’m curious about that book I heard of several times, I’m going to search for it soon and I will try to imagine how he did play Joe. Must have been challenging being alone on stage every night for weeks!


The same year, since Jack is also a writer, he wrote Dawn, which was played as rehearsed reading at the Etcetera Theatre in Camden on Tuesday January 28, 2014. The synopsis is very interesting, I hope we get to see it in a theatre one day:

<<In the trenches of World War One, two English boys are bound together by the terrors which surround them. One dawn, whilst their regiment surges forward to their deaths, they run the other way, together. On their hopeless flight for the Channel, shaken and scared, they find the seed of a mutual love. But how can that love bloom when all they have is the bombed-out wilderness and each other?

In the centenary year of the start of World War One, Fine Frenzy Theatre are proud to present a reading of Royal Court Young Writer Jack Holden’s haunting new play.>>

I had my first chance to see him on stage in the play Oppenheimer by Tom Morton-Smith, which was announced by the Royal Shakespeare Company to be staged in Stratford-Upon-Avon and later in London.

The cast looked very promising and, as I said in my report, I got tickets to see the show in London and I totally fell in love with the story and its cast.

Jack was Robert Wilson, one of the young scientists who worked with R.J.Oppenheimer at the atomic bomb. I agree with the 5 stars review in thinking that <<Holden is absolutely outstanding; a star on the rise.>> I loved how he talked and moved on stage!

He played one of the most moving scenes, when Wilson tried one last time to prevent the use of the bomb, but, then, I suspected he could be good for comedy, too, for some funny moments he was in, like when he took milk and egg as a remedy for booze. His Wilson will always stay in my heart!

Pity I wasn’t able to see him playing the funny role of Hastings in a quite modern version of She Stoops To Conquer at the Royal Bath Theatre in Bath, he must have been hilarious,


but I booked immediately for A Midsummer Night’s Dream – A Play For The Nation at the Barbican in London, (a play I wanted to see on stage from long time) as soon as the cast was announced. I think that Jack is perfect as Lysander! The role requests a good-looking nice actor with a very physical presence, which he is. He goes very well together with the other members of the cast. Dream 2016 will be back to Stratford-Upon-Avon, from where the UK tour started, from June to July, I wish I could see this play there again! I wrote my report there.

Jack Holden as Lysander

Currently, Jack plays Roland Pemble in the BBC Four radio play Home Front, which takes place during the WWI years. Roland is a young photographer who falls in love with the woman who owns the photography shop where he works. It’s a tender and bit of a troubled love story. And then he joins the Army. I really hope he’s back ‘in safe’ in the next season.

Home Front is available to listen to on the BBC Four site: where there is information on the play and on WWI.

Roland and Lillian

Jack can play so well the romantic hero!

I suggest you watch online a nice short movie called In A Bookshop by Aideen Johnston, where Jack plays Jake Ryan, an ex uni student who works in a publishing house: The ending is funny, I have the impression maybe something similar happened for real! I find Jake very nice! I can’t say the same about the teacher, haha!

In A Bookshop

Jack has just finished shooting the movie The Levelling with Ellie Kendrick, currently in post-production. He plays James, but we know very little about the movie, yet. IMDb says: <<Hope Dickson Leach has written and is directing the film, which is set in the aftermath of the dramatic flooding in Somerset last year. Kendrick will be a young woman who returns to her family’s dairy farm after the tragic death of her younger brother.>>

So I’m looking forward to it, hoping it will come to Italian cinemas, as Ellie is quite famous here for her role in Game Of Thrones.

From Hope Dickson Leach Twitter account

From Hope Dickson Leach Twitter account


I admire Jack Holden as a bright, talented actor! And he’s a very nice young man in person! I met him twice, once after Oppenheimer and once after Midsummer, he was lovely to me!

And, for the record, I got to live a magical “stage moment” with him in both the plays!

During Oppenheimer, ‘Serber’ and ‘Wilson’ pointed at me and applauded me saying: “…and hey, you’ll kill everyone in the room…well done.” when I was sitting in the front row. I’m still blushing thinking about it, but I had fun! Well, they were just playing their lines, I was there by chance! Haha!

At the end of Midsummer, while dancing, ‘Lysander’ smiled and winked at me from the stage. I saluted him back from the front row, again. And that was not part of the play, just him being cheerful and pleased I was seeing the play again that day. What a lovely thing he did!

And is not just that. Jack is also a good human being. In 2010, with a friend, he raised money for Action Aid, with the project Skye is the limit. They reached the highest point of the Isle of Skye, by hitch-hiking from Bristol, with the help of a crowdfunding. They decided to embark on the trip to support ActionAid’s relief efforts in Pakistan and its child sponsorship programme. If you take a look to the nice videos they filmed, they faced a big challenge, but I bet they had fun!

I wish Jack all the best for his career!

LINKS Jack’s official site Jack’s Twitter profile Aideen Johnston’s Twitter profile Workshop on WWI on Skye is the limit Dawn Rehearsed Reading Facebook event interview to Jack The Levelling official site

News of 10 June: photographer Jack McGuire shared a gorgeous new headshot of Jack on Twitter:

Actor: @1JackHolden Represented by @UnitedAgents #Headshots #Actor

Jack McGuire headshot 10June16

Very nice headshot, top notch actor!

McGuire official site:


My first of 2016 London adventures and Shakespeare list

So from 19 to 22 May I had my first 2016 London adventure, planning to be there again in September, ready to travel to Stratford-Upon-Avon to see two other RSC plays (will be great to visit the Bard’s birthplace on his 400th anniversary!). I will also see Hobson’s Choice at the Vaudeville.

This May holiday has been such a treat! Short, but amusing and full of good theatre!

I’ve also made two pleasant… “close encounters” that made my days! Especially the second one, with a lovely, nice blonde actor…

I saw Orange/Blue at the Young Vic…

…and RSC’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Barbican Centre.

Both the plays are such fun, I will write a proper page for them in the Theatre session.

I collected everything I could find from newspapers and magazines about the two shows and some “theatricalia” of course, for my collection which is getting big.

Joe Penhall’s Blue/Orange deserves all the 4 stars the ES review gives it! The three actors were great, it’s a play worth to see! I wanted to see David Haig on stage for some time and finally happened, in a role that is perfect for him!

While I’m 80% agree on the 3 stars by Time Out and review of CamdenNewJournal about Dream 2016: it deserves 4-5 stars and it really charms! Lucy Ellinson, Jack Holden and Chris Hayak deserve all the phraises, of course, I’m 100% agree, I got tears in my eyes and pain in my stomac for laughters thanks to them and the mechanicals! I don’t see Titania and Oberon so understated, but, ok, it’s an opinion. Other members of the cast would deserve to be mentioned, as well. While I liked Tom Piper’s staging and costumes, as I find interesting to see it posponed in more modern times, not necessarily a play staged in a medieval forest.

My reports and opinions on the two plays to come soon!

I will add a Puck tribute page to my “Favourite Stuff”, too, because it’s a very likeable character!

I also came back to the Southbank for a walk on Sunday morning, which is always a pleasure to me!

A brief look at the National Theatre….

National Theatre

…and then inside the BFI, where I have always to visit their exhibitions in the mezzanine each time I go to London. The one on currently is “Shakespeare On Film“.

Thinking about A Midsummer Night’s Dream, I feel ashamed to say I didn’t see all the 37 plays, yet.



37 Shakespeare plays list



Nr.2 One screen version (which I didn’t like at all)

Nr.5 One screen version (terrifying)

Nr10. Two screen versions, one TV version, one radio play, one stage version (three times the same, wonderful production)

Nr.11 One screen version, one stage version (at V&A archive), two ballet versions

Nr.14 One screen version

Nr.18 One screen version, one stage version

Nr.20 One screen version

Nr.22 One screen version, two stage versions (and one with NT Live, one on DVD)

Nr.26 Two stage versions (one with NT Live)

Nr.29 Two stage versions (one with NT Live)

Nr.30 One screen version, two stage versions (one with NT Live)

Nr.33 One stage version with NT Live

Nr.36 Two screen versions, one stage version

Nr.37 One stage version


And Chimes At Midnight, The Hollow Crown and West Side Story versions.


Nrs. 1 – 3 – 4 – 6 – 7 – 8 – 9 – 12 – 13 – 15 – 16 – 17 – 19 – 21 – 23 – 24 – 25 – 27 – 28 – 31 – 32 – 34 – 35

(for some, I have the BBC DVDs, which I have to watch, yet)


Nr.29 and Nr.35 in Stratford on September 2016

Ok, I saw only 14 of 37 plays (soon to become 16), but I will do better in the future!

Cymbeline production images

Cymbeline is a play I can’t wait to see live in Stratford!

I haven’t seen this play by WIlliam Shakespeare, yet, in fact I never heard of it before the RSC announced it in their new season.

No surprises, as is being told that this is a play seldom performed and not much loved by the British audience.

From articles and reviews, this new version intrigues me, it got refers to relationship between Britain an othe countries (with modern refer to Brexit), some of the characters turned in female, like the title’s character, and they added to the script some dialogues in Italian, French and Latin with English subtitles on screen. Of course I’m intrigued!

The reviews are very different so far, from 2 to 4 stars, but in general they praise the cast, especially Bethan Cullinane and Oliver Johnstone. I’ve booked immediately when I read he was in the cast.

And the style they chose for the staging is very interesting, as you can see in the images below.

The use of these images by Ellie Kurttz on my blog is courtesy of the RSC Press Office.