Strange how some names just lend themselves to punning. In the book on Meggie Albanesi I read she was in a Somerset Maugham play, “East Of Suez” evidently a great old hotchpotch of a play, directed by Basil Dean who had a reputation of being really hard on his actors. Surprising really considering he had been an actor himself, and in the cast was a young actor by the name of Kendell who was having a pretty torrid time until Maugham told Dean he was “burning the Kendell at both ends.” This reminded me of a theatrical story about Rex Harrison and Kay Kendall who were having an affaire and were both in a play called “Bell Book And Candle” which of course became known as “Bell Book And Kendall”.
There is a theatrical story about Dame Edith Evans which I’m sure is apocryphal though could be true I suppose. When she was at the Vic she was visited by an actress by the name of Mary Kerridge. There was a knock on her dressing room door and the timid voice of an assistant stage manager said, “Excuse me, Dame Edith, there is a Miss Kerridge on the stairs”, to which the grand Dame in that marvellous fruity voice replied, “Don’t both me with it, child, clean it up.”
Of all the cast of characters in the Albanesi book I suppose I knew the name of Basil Dean most of all because his production of “Hassan” touring South Africa when I was still a schoolboy was the first professional theatre I ever saw and I was hugely impressed by it; an enormous colourful production with special music by Delius, I can still picture it after all these years.
Big headlines in The Mail – “BBC man jailed for filming himself in bed with TV girls”. I wonder if it would have made such large headlines without those magic symbols BBC and TV. Now I know what he did was most unpleasant to say the least, one of his victims saying it left her feeling violated sick and dirty, another that it had destroyed her trust in men (?) and caused problems in her current relationship. It was a kind of rape in a way I suppose but with British jails bursting at the seams and the constant moaning about over crowding did it really warrant a prison sentence? After all, criminals who get up to much worse things are tagged (evidently for the most part ignored) let off with warnings, suspended sentences and community service and surely community service should have been the punishment in this case. All right, it was a case of voyeurism and carrying things to extremes but the British are still very leery when it comes to sex. Littlejohn puts it very nicely in his rewritten nursery rhymes for our times, “Georgie Porgie, pudding and pie, kissed the girls and made them cry, now he’s on the sexual offenders’ register”. At least in England they haven’t gone as far as throwing up their hands in horror and having conniptions at a three year old boy kissing a little girl as has evidently been the case in America. There was a time, (when I was a kid) when little boys were encouraged to kiss little girls. How the world changes.