Acting was awesome, but wasn’t matched by writing

Spamalot performed by the Portsmouth Players
Spamalot performed by the Portsmouth Players
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It’s a really tricky one when you go to watch a show based on a TV series. All those emotions and layers and history come into play.

It must be hard for the performers too – are they playing the character, or the actress/ actor who played the character? And how is that going to work out for the audience?

There is space for pushing boundaries with theatre and saying something about society. But there’s also plenty of room for work which makes people laugh

I have seen a variety of shows like this with varying degrees of success, from ’Allo ’Allo and Fawlty Towers to The Vicar of Dibley and then, last weekend, Spamalot.

Here’s the thing about me. I’m very easy-going when it comes to theatrical tastes.

There are plenty of people who appear to look down on popular culture as somehow below the standard when it comes to theatre.

Me? I think there’s nothing wrong with pop culture. The more people who like it, the merrier.

Yes, there is space for pushing boundaries with theatre and saying something about society. But there’s also plenty of room for work which makes people laugh.

In that vein of popular culture, I had the pleasure of seeing Spamalot at the Kings Theatre in Southsea.

I’ve not seen this before, but I do love a bit of Monty Python and can, like two-thirds of the population, quote many scenes with varying degrees of accuracy.

Let me make sure you get this straight. The actors and actresses were awesome. The set was great, the music was outstanding.

There were so many pluses to the show – except for one and that was the writing.

The first half of Spamalot featured most of the quest for the Holy Grail in a delightfully predictable yet still (after all these years) side-splittingly funny show.

But then it went downhill script-wise as the second act descended from a great height into pantomime.

Such was the steepness of this drop, the cast were being heckled from the back by a man imploring them not to ruin it.

As it goes, I’d probably not bother with the second half of the show again.

But I certainly would bother with the Portsmouth Players (who put the show on).

They were excellent and well worth a watch.


I’ve returned to making fruit cakes on a weekly basis.

My mum did this when I was growing up and I took up the challenge when I lived in Scotland as it seemed like the right thing to do in the wilds of Fife.

Then I thought, hang on, I’m 25, so I got on with making cupcakes instead.

But now the economics of fruit cake have pinged into my life as I have three giant children who have a habit of eating all the biscuits in the kitchen, quickly followed by all meats, cheese and bread.

So I’ve returned to boiling the fruit, lining a pan and concocting a treacly, filling delight.

It fills tummies and the house with a heavenly scent.

While I admit I’m not Mr Kipling, it seems to be going down well.


Another week, another report on obesity.

The latest one is about large people – which includes me at my highest-ever weight – seeing distances differently than their skinnier counterparts, thus believing that more effort is actually required to, say, walk, run or cycle a given distance.

So, seemingly, they don’t then do the exercise. What’s annoyed me is the choice of image used to illustrate this story.

It’s women. In fact, it always seems to be women, spilling out of their too-tight tops and bottoms, with far more on display that was perhaps intended.

Give females a break. It’s not only us that pile on the pounds, it’s men too. Put them in their too-small clothes and use that for a change.