According to Pete Cohen, relationships do not work and most people are dissatisfied and unhappy. On the face of it, it is a surprisingly bleak view coming from one of Britain’s most famous life coaches. Through the power of positive thinking, he has helped hundreds of television viewers lose weight and improve their self-image on his “Inchloss Island” slot on GMTV.
But actually, it seems entirely appropriate that someone doing his job should regard life as fraught with problems severe enough for people to require specialist help to deal with them.
Well before Budd Schulberg received his Oscar at the age of 40 for writing On the Waterfront, he had already lived a pretty full life. In fact, his first 18 years were enough to produce a 500-page autobiography, called Moving Pictures, Memories of a Hollywood Prince.
Eve ensler’s play The Vagina Monologues is perhaps the unlikeliest hit in the history of theatre. Written 13 years ago, it has been performed countless times in auditoriums all over the world in front of audiences numbering in their thousands. Hollywood stars clamour to appear in it. It has had the kind of success usually reserved for big-budget musicals, and the kind of impact normally associated with groundbreaking drama.
Not bad for a play consisting of a series of monologues — both serious and humorous — intended originally to be performed by a cast of one.
He may have just turned 60, but not very far below the surface, the international musician Pinchas Zukerman is still the firebrand enthusiast audiences all over the world have grown to know and admire since his 1961 debut as a prodigy violinist.
Hull-born Richard Bean is one of the most exciting British playwrights to have emerged over the past decade or so. There may be those who disagree with this statement. But if they do, it is because they believe Bean to be not one of, but without doubt the funniest and most profound British playwright writing today. He also perhaps the only prominent British playwright who is prepared to challenge left-wing orthodoxy.
I f you are still beating yourself up about missing Josh Howie at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival, you can stop. His hit stand-up Chosen (as in “chosen people”) won rave reviews in the national press and comedy legend Joan Rivers laughed at every gag when she saw the West End version last September. But now Howie is bringing the show back to London.
“There are so many jokes in it, it’s just silly. There must be 300 jokes!” exclaims the 32-year-old ex-public schoolboy, who has been labelled “the English Woody Allen”.
Maybe there should be a self-help group for British actors who worry that their Jewishness is a handicap when it comes to being cast in non-Jewish roles.
The latest actor to speak about this syndrome — yet to be recognised by the acting or medical professions — is Allan Corduner, who is appearing in the first West End revival in 13 years of Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge.
He has designed clothes for Jackie Kennedy, Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor and Princess Diana. His designs have graced the covers of Vogue and Harpers. He has spent 50 years at the top in an industry that rarely permits even the most talented to shine for more than a couple of decades. But David Sassoon became a fashion designer only because his father disapproved of his first choice of career — acting.
Director Michael Mayer did not set out to reinvent the modern musical. If he had, he would hardly have chosen to set his show in 19th-century Germany where children are taught to be ashamed of their genitals.