Music, murder and mousetraps

I was doing a spot of washing up while waiting for a friend to get back to me, put the radio on, Elaine Paige was just starting a tribute to Angela Lansbury, good timing! Ah, Miss Eglantine Price was singing about The Age of Not Believing and I sang along with her, all the words still tucked away in my head, I loved that song so much! Bedknobs and Broomsticks, a favourite film from my calfhood, just one part of a varied and illustrious career. Another generation of kids loved her as Mrs Potts the singing teapot in Beauty and The Beast; then just a few years ago she was the Balloon Lady in Mary Poppins Returns (three thoroughly wonderful films that should be seen, no matter what age you claim to be).

Of course, many will mainly know Angela Lansbury for playing Jessica Fletcher in Murder She Wrote on the telly, a role that won her many awards. Elaine, of course, was looking back at Angela’s career in musicals that spanned many years, likewise she returned to theatre work regularly (I would have loved to have seen her in Blithe Spirit as Madame Arcati). My, she kept herself busy! A great lady who obviously enjoyed life, there was always that little twinkle in her eye, I bet she was every bit as lovely as she came across. There’s one final film performance still to come in Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (just a cameo), out at Christmas, I’ll look forward to seeing it.

And that brings me neatly on to cinema news – the Edinburgh Filmhouse is no more!! The charity that runs the Edinburgh Filmhouse, the Belmont cinema in Aberdeen and the Edinburgh International Film Festival has called in administrators. Like, what?! I didn’t see that coming. They say it was a perfect storm of rising costs and the lasting impacts from the Covid pandemic, many in the entertainment and cultural sector are in for a bumpy ride, there will be more closures for sure. I didn’t go to see anything at the EIFF this year, nothing appealed enough to me, but I do hope it comes back next year (just not in August, I’m busy).

Last week I did get to see See How They Run, a film that is so Wes Anderson but actually isn’t (with smidgens of Edgar Wright). My friend who I mentioned earlier is off to London next weekend and will be seeing The Mousetrap, I’ve recommended him to watch See How They Run. I thoroughly enjoyed it, the whole cast are excellent and the dialogue is so sharp and funny, so many little clever quips and references. It’s a murder mystery comedy set in London 1953, opening with the afterparty for the 100th performance of The Mousetrap when the director of a potential film adaptation is murdered, dur dur durrrr.

Fun facts, the film rights for The Mousetrap were indeed optioned by the film producer John Woolf and there was a clause that the film could not be made until six months after the run was over – haha, sixty years on and still going strong; also, Agatha Christie was inspired by a real life case when writing it. The plentiful use of splitscreens and flashbacks keep things moving fast, you have to pay attention, everything’s important, but don’t jump to conclusions, leave that to the overenthusiatic Constable Stalker played brilliantly by Saoirse Ronan (for me she is definitely the star of the show).

Its very late again and I promised myself an early night, well, I was up very very late last night because Bad Times at The El Royale came on the telly. I shall away to my bed, but I’ll just mention there’s a wee bit of excitement over in Logan’s Close, things are afoot. I promise I’ll share the news with you tomorrow, or you could check it out for yourself on their website, Facebook or Instagram!

Nighty night, sweet dreams!

On the fringe of the light fantastic

As a young moose I loved Mary Poppins, I wanted her to take me on magical trips and dancing with penguins. A few evenings ago I fell in love with her all over again, what a gal! I for one thoroughly enjoyed Mary Poppins Returns, so much so, I intend to return to see it again before it leaves town. It’s  a snuggily warm blanket, so whimsical and quaintly British, with lots of little nods to the original, especially in the music with a few notes here and there from the earlier songs. All the cast were terrific, Emily Blunt is spot on as Poppins and Lin Manuel Miranda, well, I may have a bit of a crush on his smile!

And blimey Charlie – David Warner, Angela Lansbury and ol’ Dick too! Who says there’s no parts for old folks? And these are seriously old folk, I did the usual pastime of coming home from the cinema and spending the next hour or so on IMDB and the like checking out just how old they were, etc, and found out some rather interesting facts (well I thought so).

Most Interesting Fact I discovered, Beautiful Briny was actually originally intended for Mary Poppins but was cut, later to be used in Bedknobs and Broomsticks (another old favourite of mine). Angela Lansbury, of course, played the wonderful Eglantine Price; so great to see her again. She’s older that Dick Van Dyke by two months, a fine pair of nonagenarians!

How pleased was I to see David Warner playing Admiral Boom! On IMDB he’s listed as having 223 acting roles, okay so not all classics, but hey, there’s Star Trek, Twin Peaks, Babylon 5, The Omen, Time Bandits, Tron, The League of Gentlemen’s Apocalypse, and all manner of one-off appearances in tv shows. My college pals and I would always let out a cheer whenever he was spotted on screen, dunno how that started,  just one of those things!

And then there’s Binnacle, Admiral Boom’s man, he looked kind of familiar but I couldn’t place him. Apparently it’s one Jim Norton, first seen in The Face of Fu Manchu back in 1965 (a classic!). I spotted he was in an episode of The Adventures of Black Beauty (who remembers that from the 70s? Personally I preferred Follyfoot) in a long steady list of jobs that went Stateside in the 80s with L.A.Law, Cheers, Frasier, Star Trek Next Gen and even four episodes of Babylon 5! Ah, finally I found it, why he looked familiar – Father Ted’s Bishop Brennan! Of course!

Who’ll be the actors from today who’ll still be popping up in forty, fifty years time? Will this year’s crop of Fringers produce any future stalwarts of our screens?

Toodle pip!