Friday, 21 June 2019

Dance our ringlets to the whistling wind

"...since the middle summer's spring,
Met we on hill, in dale, forest or mead,
By paved fountain or by rushy brook,
Or in the beached margent of the sea,
To dance our ringlets to the whistling wind."

"I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine:
There sleeps Titania sometime of the night,
Lull'd in these flowers with dances and delight."

- extracts from A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare
It's Midsummer's Day, the Summer Solstice.

Nights start drawing in from this point on, dear reader.


Thursday, 20 June 2019

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Mavis is 90!

Thelma Barlow (née Pigott, born 19th June 1929) aka "Mavis Riley" in Coronation Street, aka "Dolly" in Dinnerladies, aka "Lady Thaw" in Doctor Who (!), is 90 years old!

All hail.

Monday, 17 June 2019

I have been a bit of a girl

Remarkably, today marks the centenary of the birth of one of Britain's most beloved comedienne-actresses (and Patron Saint here at Dolores Delargo Towers), Miss Beryl Reid!

From the BFI website:
Producers, like critics, are strange people: once they have pigeonholed an artist, nothing they do later can alter their status. Thus, Beryl Reid is categorised as a merry, apple-cheeked comedienne, despite the fact that her non-comic performances displayed an uneven, yet indisputable, talent for powerful characterisation.
From variety shows and stage revues, to the early days of radio, to television, to award-winning actress, Miss Reid covered the full gamut. Although revered as the "funny lady", full of instantly-quotable characters (such as "Marlene" and "Monica") and always in demand for guest appearances on light entertainment shows, she proved her true mettle by tackling the ground-breaking role of the troubled lesbian actress in The Killing of Sister George, and followed it soon after with another lead role in a camp black comedy (and another house fave), that of "Kath" in Entertaining Mr Sloane. She jumped from sitcom to Shakespeare to Sheridan to Smiley's People, and won awards for all of them, culminating in an OBE in the New Year's Honours list in 1985 and the Lifetime Achievement Award for Comedy at the 1991 British Comedy Awards.

She also liked to be a bit mischievous, apparently...

From her obituary in the Herald Scotland:
She thought nothing of shocking people with her remarks on sex. She admitted to numerous affairs. She also claimed to wear specially made perfume called Easy Virtue...

On one occasion when friends called unexpectedly at her home and she did not feel like being sociable, she sent them quickly on their way by telling them: "Oh, I'm terribly sorry I can't ask you in because I'm in bed with someone I don't know terribly well."

..."I have been a bit of a girl," she liked to say.

Reid believed life was for living and loved to quaff champagne, which she called "Toff's Lemonade".

Her passion in life was making people laugh, a profession she described as "the longest apprenticeship in the world".
We adored her.

Here is the great lady herself, talking about her life:

Beryl Elizabeth Reid, OBE (17th June 1919 – 13th October 1996)

More Beryl here and here.

Saturday, 15 June 2019

The maestro departs

"I have always believed that opera is a planet where the muses work together, join hands and celebrate all the arts."

"All the problems of the world are caused by people who do not listen."

Allora addio, Signor Franco Zeffirelli...

One of the greatest artistic talents of the theatrical and cinematic world to emerge from Italy [he began as an assistant - and lover - of the legendary Luchino Visconti], in his long career he won awards for his direction (and stage set designs) in numerous operatic productions across the world (including at La Scala Milan, New York Met and the Royal Opera House), and was lauded for his cinematic adaptations of operas and, especially, the works of Shakespeare.

Zeffirelli became world-famous for his version of The Taming of the Shrew with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, was nominated for an Oscar for Romeo and Juliet, and went on to produce Hamlet with Mel Gibson and Glenn Close. In between, he also made the memorable TV series Jesus of Nazareth and Brother Sun, Sister Moon (about the life of St Francis of Assisi) - and turned his hand to more "mainstream" films such as The Champ and Endless Love (that spawned the Lionel Richie/Diana Ross mega-hit of the same name), and also the faboo Tea With Mussolini.

Another towering artistic genius has left the building.

"His take on Shakespeare’s tragedy tapped the zeitgeist, but Zeffirelli’s whole body of work pulsated with an irresistible camp..." - Peter Bradshaw

He will be missed.

RIP, Gian Franco Corsi Zeffirelli KBE, Grande Ufficiale OMRI (12th February 1923 – 15th June 2019)

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Be extraordinary!

"If you want a bourgeois existence, you shouldn't be an actor. You're in the wrong profession."

“More than in any other performing arts the lack of respect for acting seems to spring from the fact that every layman considers himself a valid critic.”

“We must overcome the notion that we must be regular... it robs you of the chance to be extraordinary and leads you to the mediocre.”

It's the centenary today of the estimable actress, drama teacher and author of the thespian "bible" Respect for Acting, Fraulein Uta Hagen.

Friday, 7 June 2019

All natural

"I did what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it."

"You've got to give people something to take away with them. I like a show that lives with me for a long time, not something gossamer that's gone when you get up from your seat."

"The theatre was really all I ever knew. It was my life. It's wonderful to be remembered."

"What I have is all natural."

Miss Dolores Gray (born Sylvia Dolores Finkelstein, 7th June 1924 – 26th June 2002)

More Dolores Gray here and here.