Published: 15 November, 2012
by AMY SMITH
• THE smell of fire was still apparent at the Hen and Chickens theatre when I went to visit James Wren this week. The artistic director of the Highbury theatre was surprisingly upbeat after an electrical fire last week. Wren’s spirits have been raised by the “immense support” from staff, friends, theatre-lovers that has seen three weeks’ worth of renovation completed in one week. All the work was to ensure latest production Ordinary Darkness opened on Wednesday. Director Stella Duffy uses the “open space” approach and sees this as the reason the cast and crew could fit in rehearsals around the extensive rewiring. She believes the non-hierarchical method of planning lent itself perfectly to coping with sudden changes and emergencies, “rather than ‘the show must go on,’” said Duffy. “It’s more ‘we believe in the show’.” Ordinary Darkness is on until Dec 1. Tickets on 0207 704 2001.
• THE newest theatre in north London is almost open. It’s been very exciting to watch the Park Theatre emerge from a building site and now the end is very much in sight. A giant sign has been hoisted onto the front of the building in Finsbury Park. There will be an official switching-on celebration in December. For details on this and other events visit www.parktheatre.co.uk
• ON Tuesday night, The Richard Steele pub in Chalk Farm hosted the launch screening of the bawdy new “radio movie” from Eric Idle. The Monty Python comedian is joined by a stellar cast including Russell Brand, Billy Connolly, Tim Curry, Eddie Izzard and Tracey Ullman in What About Dick? Comedy lovers packed into the boozer to enjoy lashings of innuendo on the birth of sex toys and helpings of spotted dick and custard. The film is available to download from whataboutdick.com
• THERE’S some interesting post-show talks coming up this month. Responding On Religion (Nov 22) and a Q&A with author AC Grayling (Nov 24) will discuss issues raised by the Tower Theatre Company’s production of On Religion. Tickets on 020 7353 1700. While at the Soho Theatre, a panel discussion (Nov 24) will correspond to their all-male adaptation of Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange. There will also be an exclusive reading of Burgess’ Napoleon Symphony, a novel he dedicated to Stanley Kubrick, director of A Clockwork Orange. Tickets on 020 7478 0100.