The shows must go on

Harefield Gazette - - OPINION -

IN the past few days I’ve been to four shows and a fu­neral. One of th­ese was ac­tu­ally a re­hearsal which I popped into af­ter be­ing in­vited to view Uxbridge Col­lege’s Cre­ative Stud­ies cour­ses.

The stu­dents at the Hayes Cen­tre were re­hears­ing a play, Re­mote by Stef Smith, for The Na­tional Theatre Con­nec­tions com­pe­ti­tion. I was very im­pressed with their act­ing skills and wish them luck.

Be­fore that, Mr F and I were at the Transat­lantic Ses­sions in Birm­ing­ham Sym­phony Hall – an an­nual trip by fab mu­si­cians play­ing folk, blues and coun­try. You may have seen them in the se­ries of the same name on BBC4. They also visit the South Bank.

Nearer to home we vis­ited the Questors Theatre in Eal­ing to see John Griffiths in his one-man show. The sell-out per­for­mance in the Stu­dio Theatre charted the ac­tor’s 40 years in the busi­ness in which he has taken Shake­speare to Africa, and en­joyed long runs in West End plays and mu­si­cals, from Phantom of the Opera to The Royal Fam­ily, a play with Judi Dench.

John’s home is in Eal­ing bor­ough, but he tours na­tion­wide and was re­cently at The Beck Theatre, Hayes, in Car­rie’s War. He took his act­ing to new lengths af­ter we taught to­gether in Green­ford, and be­came friends through a shared love of drama and floor-length black coats.

On Fe­bru­ary 9, I was ex­cited to be in­vited to Hare­field Hos­pi­tal at the start of Sto­ry­telling Week.

I knew that, lis­ten­ing to tales, I was likely to turn into an openeyed (and prob­a­bly open­mouthed) child again. Hope­fully I didn’t drib­ble. Taffy Thomas MBE, the first Lau­re­ate of sto­ry­telling, en­thralled us with some of the many sto­ries he has col­lected, in­clud­ing a cun­ning way to vet can­di­dates for Mayor.

The wise story – orig­i­nally about a man­darin – should have been of par­tic­u­lar in­ter­est to deputy mayor Coun­cil­lor Ge­orge Cooper who was there, and who should be next in line to ‘in­herit’ the role from present in­cum­bent, Coun­cil­lor Catherine Dann.

The fu­neral of John Sherratt, the for­mer direc­tor of The Compass Theatre in Ick­en­ham on Fri­day, Fe­bru­ary 6, was nat­u­rally a the­atri­cal af­fair too.

We left the chapel at Ruis­lip to the strains of Judy Gar­land, then joined in a rous­ing cho­rus of, Be­yond the Blue Hori­zon, af­ter­wards at the Coach and Horses in Ick­en­ham. How John would have loved it!

Want to get in touch? Email me at bmail­bar­bara@gmail.com and catch up at www.getwestlon­don.co.uk/au­thors/ bmail.

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