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Digital Drama's • 'Peace In Our Time'
The Noël Coward Foundation is supporting this venture to produce a radio dramatisation of Peace in Our Time. You can help to support this venture with KickStart!
Battle of Britain is lost & London is occupied. . .
Be part of Noël Coward's 'Peace in Our Time' KickStart
"Carry On star had me weeping with laughter "
NCS member Jim Dale's hit show in London
Can it be true? The programme tells us that Jim Dale is about to turn 80. You would hardly guess it watching this lithe figure as he recalls an extraordinary career that has embraced Carry On movies, Olivier’sNational Theatre company and Broadway stardom in Barnum and Me and My Girl. Far from being an old man’s nostalgia trip, the show feels like an expression of Mr Dale’s perpetual youth.
Two things clearly shaped his talent: a love of music hall and attendance at dance classes. They come together in his re-creation of a teenage dance competition where his cousin failed to turn up and he was forced to do a pas de deux with an imaginary partner: the sight of the presumed partner sailing into the stratosphere had me weeping with laughter and reminded me how music-hall artists like Max Wall and Billy Dainty made dance a vital part of their act. Dale’s gift for acrobatic comedy was also the secret of his success in the Carry On films, in which he did his own stunts and was always falling off camels and hurtling down hospital corridors on runaway trolleys.
Two things clearly shaped his talent: a love of music hall and attendance at dance classes
Working the halls, as Dale did for a couple of teenage years as part of Carroll Levis Discoveries, is also ideal training for a future actor. Specifically, Dale claims it was seeing Coward’s Fumed Oak that inspired him and he re-creates the final speech from that play, where a suburban worm turns on his family, with the right sour asperity.
In many ways, it’s an odd choice, since Dale’s great gift has always been for getting on easy terms with an audience. Encouraged by Frank Dunlop at the Young Vic, he played a whole succession of Shakespearean clowns including Bottom, Autolycus and the dismally unfunny Lancelot Gobbo before moving on to Molière’s Scapino and the plays of Peter Nichols. His performance of the opening scene from Nichols’s Joe Egg, in which a harassed teacher treats the audience as if they were unruly pupils, makes me envious of the New York audiences who got to see the whole thing. The unfairly talented Dale, accompanied by Mark York on piano, also sings a number of songs from Broadway shows as well as the hit number he co-wrote for the movie Georgy Girl.
But what finally strikes you is his physical exuberance. Fifty years ago, as a boy-critic, I reviewed him in a cod-melodrama called The Wayward Way at this very theatre and singled out the “Nureyev-like leap” with which he rescued the beleaguered heroine. Today, Dale still represents the delight of comedy in motion.
• At Vaudeville, London, until 20 June. Buy tickets from theguardianboxoffice.com or call 0330 333 6906
Changes to the NCS Committee
Stephen Duckham will take on the responsibility for financail management of NCS and NC Ltd. from the end of July 2015. Stephen Greenman is now Vice-Chairman of the NCS Organising Committee. Denys Robinson will stand down as Chairman at the AGM in December 2015 as will John Knowles as General Secretary. John will continue to be the Editor and producer of Home Chat. Home Chat will become a magazine about Noël Coward funded completely by the Noël Coward Foundation and featuring themed editions that provide detailed articles and images on an aspect of his life and work. It will contain a pull out section on NCS. Home Chat will still be provided free to members and be on sale to the public at a minimum price of £2.50 a copy.
Noël Coward on Sir Winston Churchill's funeral
Noël Coward Diaries
Photograph Gallery from the Goldenhurst Event at Smallhythe Barn Theatre.
View individual, slide show and download links. To the Gallery...
The Noel Coward Music Index
This world class resource now has its own domain home at www.ncmi.info
The NCS Members' Archive is a vault of back copies of Home Chat. This is not some kind of Coward recycling centre but a real resource full of articles about The Master, his work and his contemporaries. It contains interesting facts, news of the time and images taken from a huge variety of sources and articles, some from arts and media magazines of the past. The archive is not searchable at present but we hope to extract the major articles and make them available in a searchable format at some point later this year. There are a few missing copies but we hope to fill in the gaps and improve the quality of some of the back copies as time passes. Members' Archive
NOËL COWARD HIS VOICE IN VERSE
Barry Day has produced a recording of Coward's verse read by Coward, his contemporaries and current actors and performers. The CD is being sold in aid of The Combined Theatrical Charities and sells in the UK at £7.99 or in the US $15 p&p included. If you would like a copy please contact Stephen Greenman in the UK and Ken Starrett in the US.
All proceeds go to The Combined Theatrical Charities.
NCS on the US West Coast - 'Coward On The Coast'
For current and past editions of this West Coast newsletter by Kathy Williams... Click here!
The Members' Page includes every known edition of Home Chat that we have on file. Examine hundreds of articles on Noël Coward - his work and life.
ONLINE CONTACTS - Please contact us if you have any queries on your membership or the delivery of Home Chat.
Chairman: Denys Robinson
Vice-Chairman: Stephen Greenman
Temporary General Secretary: John Knowles • 29 Waldemar Avenue, Hellesdon, Norwich, NR6 6TB • Tel: +44 (0) 1603 486188 • Mob: 07427 114340
UK/World membership and Finance: Stephen Duckham
US and Canada membership: Ken Starrett
Membership in France: Hélène Catsiapis
NCS on the West Coast of America: Kathy Williams
Australian membership: Kerry Hailstone
Editor of Home Chat (NCS newsletter) and Website John Knowles
Theatre and Media Michael Wheatley-Ward