The Anonymous Widower

How Chemistry Overcame Politics

I sometimes describe myself as an engineer/scientist, despite the fact that I made most of my money by programming computers.

So this morning, this article entitled Thatcher and Hodgkin: How chemistry overcame politics,  on the BBC’s web site caught my eye. Here’s the introduction.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Dorothy Hodgkin’s Nobel Prize, a play – The Chemistry Between Them – has been written, looking at her friendship with Margaret Thatcher. Its creator Adam Ganz describes their ongoing mutual respect.

Whether you love or hate Margaret Thatcher, you must read the article about the relationship between two of the most influential British women of the twentieth century. There is this significant paragraph.

It’s a peculiar fact that the UK’s Margaret Thatcher and Germany’s Angela Merkel both studied science at university, yet no male leader of either country has had a science degree.

Is the lack of scientific knowledge amongst world leaders the reason, why the world is in such a mess?

I shall be listening to the play on Radio 4.

As regards the play, I can’t think of a serious play or film, with the exception of The Killing of Sister George and Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?, that has two female leads and no significant male parts.

August 19, 2014 Posted by | World | , , , , | Leave a comment

Do Actors Sometimes Regret Their Early Roles?

Dame Diana Rigg is a well-respected actress and has appeared in many high-class productions. But there are performances in her past, that she might like to downplay. C and I saw her in the infamous 1970 production of Anelard and Heloise with Keith Michell, which was noted for its full frontal nudity. Everybody leaned forward at the appropriate moment. Wikipedia describes her performance in the play as follows.

A return to the stage and a nude scene with Keith Michell during Abelard and Heloise in 1970 led to a notorious description of her as ‘built like a brick basilica with insufficient flying buttresses’, by the acerbic critic John Simon.

She did of course star as Emma Peel in The Avengers in the 1960s.  Some clips on YouTube are interesting to say the least. Would ITV show something like this today?

November 28, 2012 Posted by | World | , , , | Leave a comment

The New Buses Are Back

I saw two at the Angel today and actually took one home.

The New Buses Are Back

Note that every one is now advertising a London show. They only seemed to disappear for the rehearsal of the Olympic Opening Ceremony.  I suspect each one is advertising a particular show and will the cast of each be getting out and doing a turn. After all London is the theatre capital of the world.

July 25, 2012 Posted by | Sport, Transport | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

More Sherlocks Than Hamlet

According to the Guinness Book of Records, there have been 254 film and television versions of Sherlock Holmes, but only 206 of Hamlet.

May 18, 2012 Posted by | World | , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s Driving Me Mad

Sometimes things get into your memory and even Google and/or Wikipedia can’t get the reference.

An example is a play, which might have been a Play for Today.  It starred, someone like Leo McKern as Sir Harry, a barrister, who was defending someone who was being tried for rape. He doesn’t get on well with the judge and feels that his client is guilty. So Sir Harry mimics the alleged rapist’s modus operadi and clothes and attacks another young lady in her flat. She then gives evidence and Sir Harry’s client is found not guilty. The judge feels that Sir Harry has been up to his old tricks and accuses him of getting his client off by unfair means. Sir Harry then pulls a gun and shoots the judge dead in his courtroom. The last scene is Sir Harry being led away saying that this will be his greatest case. ‘Sir Harry defends Sir Harry’.

So what am I remembering?

January 14, 2012 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

Farewell Vaclav Havel

The death of Vaclav Havel was not unexpected given his health problems.  It is very sad and he will be missed by many. He would be on any sensible person’s list of the greatest of the twentieth century.

If I look at countries that have thrown off dictatorships successfully in the last few decades, they seem to have needed a figure to whom they could rally. The charismatic Havel was a supreme example as he took Czechoslovakia from under the heel of the Russians to a free and proud country.

He was no mean playwright either!

When we lived in that flat in St. John’s Wood, we had no television, but we did have a radio and often listened to it, after the children had gone to bed. Some nights we listened to the play on Radio 4.

One night, I can remembering listening to a play called The Memorandum by a Czech author.  It may have starred Donald Pleasance, but I can’t find any reference to the production.

It is a superb play and one of the best I’ve heard on radio.

The author, who was unknown to both C and myself, was Vaclav Havel.

How many politicians, even the good ones, will be missed for what they did outside politics?  Not many!

December 19, 2011 Posted by | News | , , | Leave a comment

Anne Boleyn at Shakespeare’s Globe

I’d never been to the Globe on the South Bank and I don’t think I’ve ever been to the theatre on a Sunday before in the UK.

The picture shows the outside in the fine weather.

Outside Shakespeare's Globe

And this one shows the people inside just before the play started.

Inside Shakespeare's Globe

I enjoyed the experience a lot and it is good venue.  The play by Howard Brenton was good and was very much worth seeing.

I’m looking forward to seeing some Shalespeare in a theatre similar in layout to those for which it was written.

July 11, 2011 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment

Waiting For Beckett

For those who love the work of Samuel Beckett, this news must be very heartwarming.

June 6, 2011 Posted by | News | , | Leave a comment

Is This a Must-See Show?

Charlie Sheen’s new one-man show has not had the best of reviews in Detroit.

The Times even gave it no stars.

So is it something that is so bad, it just has to be seen?

Mel Brooks got the story line of The Producers absolutely right, with it’s underlying story of the awful, Springtime for Hitler.

April 5, 2011 Posted by | World | , , , | Leave a comment

The Holy Rosenbergs

This looks like a play worth seeing.

March 19, 2011 Posted by | News | , , , | Leave a comment