Arts interviews

Making Horrible Histories into comedy gold

By Simon Rocker, December 13, 2013

Dave Cohen has been in the comedy business for 30 years, writing for such shows as Spitting Image and Have I Got News for You. But lampooning politicians or celebrities is not his greatest claim to fame.


Michael Grade, lord of the song and dance, on Broadway

By Brigit Grant, October 24, 2013

In any great adventure,
that you don’t want to lose,
victory depends upon the people that you choose.
So, listen, Arthur darling, closely to this news:
We won’t succeed on Broadway,
If you don’t have any Jews*

*Courtesy of Eric Idle’s Spamalot


Don Black: Star lyricist puts a productive life into words

By John Nathan, September 2, 2013

You’ve come at a busy time,” says Don Black as he opens the door to his sprawling, comfortable apartment in west London. However, one of the world’s most sung lyricists is not being unwelcoming. It’s just that, as well as compiling his new late Sunday evening Radio 2 show, which is fuelled by the Great American Songbook, there is still work to be done on his latest musical, Stephen Ward.


He’s over Shrek — now he is back to playing Barry

By John Nathan, August 12, 2013

Playing a low-rent Luton lawyer in a new play by Nick Payne at the Donmar Warehouse, Nigel Lindsay is certainly spending a lot less time in wardrobe than he did for his previous show. The role of Barry in The Same Deep Water As Me is one requiring Lindsay — one of this country’s most powerful stage actors — to don a shabby suit.


‘Battling granny’ who saw off Griffin turns sights on fat cats

By Marcus Dysch, July 18, 2013

Grilling the fat cats from multinationals such as Google and Amazon holds little fear for Margaret Hodge. After all, she was the Labour MP who faced down the challenge of British National Party leader Nick Griffin at the last election, inflicting a crushing defeat that sent the BNP into a possibly terminal decline.


How he’s tapped the market — from The Simpsons to Nixon

By John Nathan, July 11, 2013

When actor, satirist, musician, artist, broadcaster and mock-rocker Harry Shearer joins Maureen Lipman on stage at London’s newest theatre, the experience will be a tad different from the time Shearer and the rest of spoof rock band Spinal Tap performed to tens of thousands on Glastonbury’s main stage in 2009. The Park Theatre audience is around 180. But he will still be nervous.


Grand designs with a would-be guru

By Anna Sheinman, June 13, 2013

Daniel Libeskind never intended to be an architect. As a young man, he was an award-winning accordion player and wanted to be a professional musician.


A National treasure — Hytner looks back on his greatest hits

By John Nathan, May 23, 2013

It was Nicholas Hytner’s third big opening in as many weeks. And how better to follow celebrated productions of Verdi’s Don Carlo starring Jonas Kaufmann at the Royal Opera House and Shakespeare’s Othello with Adrian Lester at the National Theatre than an evening in conversation at the London Jewish Cultural Centre.


Interview: Amy Herzog

By John Nathan, May 13, 2013

What do you do with a family heirloom such as Marxism? It’s not the kind you can sit on a mantelpiece or hang in a wardrobe. But it is the kind you can write a play about, which is what New York dramatist Amy Herzog has done — twice.


He’s conquering all his Demons

By John Nathan, May 7, 2013

In just a few weeks actor Elliot Levey’s profession has propelled him through genres ridiculous, sublime and downright bizarre.