Drama about drama is sort of like big fleas have little fleas, only the Road To Coronation Street, which was originally called Florizell Street, was more than that.
Daran Little’s script was entertaining, interesting and, for all struggling playwrights hoping to be noticed, a reminder of just how hard that is. (When checking out the writer’s name I had to expand the credits, because he doesn’t appear with the top ranked actors!) Take the politics of big business for a start. Our advertisers won’t like a play with mean streets and Northern (if you’re in London Manchester is North) accents. Then the Canadian chap in charge of commissioning, tries it out on the little people who do actually watch tv. Brilliant.
Casting with the writer on your shoulder demanding perfection became a fraught and haunting business. Lynda Baron, the actress chosen to play Violet Carsons sent shivers down my spine. Nostalgia is a great tool and I remember the early broadcasts – not least because we were allowed to stay up half an hour to watch – and my granny tut-tutting over Ena Sharples’ behaviour.
The other really startling shot was of the all-male board. None of that’s very far away, ladies. Keep it in mind.
Did everybody actually smoke that much? I do remember the first office I worked in where I shared the space with three folk who did, so probably. The fags became a non-speaking character in my eye. Must remember that trick.
Okay, back to the Fringe. I’m going venue spotting with a Director on Wednesday. Might let you know – on the other hand if we find a goody …