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Enthusiastic Bottom!

I had a bit of a quiet day yesterday. My spirits were lifted unexpectedly by listening to the latest Playcrush podcast from the Old Vic and Sherman theatres. It features Hammed Animashaun, and is billed as a discussion about his chosen featured play, Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In fact, as with many of the other interviewees in this series, most of the time is taken up talking about the actor’s career. Here is a link to the podcast if you’re interested.

I’ve written about these podcasts before. They have all been interesting and this was no exception. I was lucky enough to see Hammed in the Bridge Theatre’s production of this play. It was one of the highlights of last year’s theatre fest for me and he was truly superb – hilarious. He played Nick Bottom – a wonderful part in any production of this play, but as he explained in this podcast, the Bridge’s version allowed for a different playing, which I loved when I saw it live and also on TV during lockdown.

Despite listening to earlier episodes and also remembering Hammed’s Bottom, I was still taken by surprise at how uplifting this episode of Playcrush was. I rather randomly selected it from my Podcast list whilst out on an uninspiring walk to make a delivery.

What was wonderful was the unrelenting enthusiasm Hammed showed for his craft and career. If anyone needs inspiration as an actor, he’s surely your man. His repeated references to the super-supportive school drama teacher who persuaded and encouraged him were so good to hear. As he talked about his career in chronological order and moved from one production or theatre to another, he was called out by his interviewer (Sherman Theatre’s Joe Murphy) for repeatedly describing each as ‘the best’. What an attitude to have! Should be compulsory listening for those who doubt themselves.

Of course, Hammed has bags of talent and others may not be so fortunate in that respect, but his description of the light bulb moments when he could see how he might actually succeed up on stage (seeing ‘someone like me’ up there) is so important to the future of theatre. Others in this series and in other interviews have said similar – but perhaps not with such gusto and tangible delight.

Now I have a challenge – what to listen to today to similarly raise the mood? Beat that, as they say.



A story for a rainy day

It’s been a very rainy day. 

I spent much of the time doing useful things.

When I’d done, I so wanted to sit in a comfy chair and read a book.

The two books I am currently reading are these. I am enjoying them and making good progress with both – one during the day and one in the evenings, no idea why.

But they were absolutely no good at all for a rainy day. I needed a story. A properly absorbing tale where I could tear through a couple of hundred pages, punctuated only by a coffee or looking out of the window to check if the rain had stopped.

And I didn’t have one to hand.

Thank goodness for the ‘useful things’ achieved (and for a brilliant #PlayCrush podcast with Denise Gough on my drizzly walk) – or it would have been a complete waste of a rainy day.

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