For years I've known about Frinton-on-Sea weekly rep - but only last night did I finally get to go. It's being run by a guy called Eddie Max, who I knew at Oxford a mere 25 years ago, and who found me on Facebook, and sent me an invitation. Well, it had to be!
Frinton is famous for being tiny but professional, and for running a summer season on the old system of one play in rehearsal and one in performance, for a week each. It all happens in what looks like a church hall with a tiny stage, one front of house bar, tabs, and Ed himself selling raffle tickets before the show. Before the play starts, the National Anthem is played, and everybody stands up. It's like travelling back half a century or more.
Which said, Ed has got some very talented people to go there and sample the experience. I saw a Neil Simon comedy, directed by Antony Clark, no less. Jonathan Holloway is also on the bill for the summer. So these are professional people, and no mistake! I asked Tony what it was like to direct a play in a week. "You just do it", he said.
I was sorry to get an email from Nancy Crane a little while ago, saying she couldn't be in Re-Orientations. She's been one of the mainstays of this project for years - but long-term contracts at the Old Vic don't get offered very often, and I understand why she took it. The replacement is a wonderful performer called Geraldine Alexander. I'm excited to be working with her.