The Jewish Chronicle - - ARTS&BOOKS -

A HEADS UP (to use es­tate-agent ver­nac­u­lar) for the pair­ing at Chich­ester Fes­ti­val of two Ron­ald Har­wood plays. Tak­ing Sides, about the Nazi con­duc­tor Wil­helm Furt­wan­gler, is to be re­vived along­side the world pre­mier of Col­lab­o­ra­tion, about an­other mu­si­cal ge­nius, Richard Strauss, who was also none-too — how can we put it? — em­pa­thetic.

Har­wood, how­ever, wants to set the record straight. “I come out pretty justly for Strauss,” the Os­car-win­ning writer tells Note­book. “What peo­ple have con­ve­niently forgotten is that he [Strauss] had a Jewish daugh­ter-in-law and Jewish grand­chil­dren — by Nazi law. They said: ‘Do what we tell you or your grand­chil­dren will be in dan­ger.’ You tell me what you’re go­ing to do in those cir­cum­stances?” that his bar­mitz­vah cake was made in the shape of a run­way. This time, how­ever, it’s all about out­door pools.

“What’s the piece about? Well, yeah, it is about the lido, but it’s also about other stuff: low-cost travel, the in­ter­net, Nigel Slater. Maybe it is about want­ing to es­cape, I don’t know. Oh, and there’s also three paint­ings that I’ve done. On pa­per. I’m quite proud of those,” says the co­me­dian. So now we know.

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