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Stuart: A Life Backwards

The Umbrella Organisation

Closing down my Journal because ...

All my work is now over at mycroft_brolly.

Head on over!

Frankenstein opening this Saturday!!!

Frankenstein previews start this Saturday (5 February) and our very own applebeing is going to the first preview night!!!

There are so many exciting aspects to this production:
- Danny Boyle directing and returning to the stage after too many years away
- Benedict and Jonny alternating the roles of Frankenstein and the Creature
- Underworld doing the music
- the venue being the Olivier at the National. The National is my favourite theatre in London and the Olivier is its biggest stage so it is going to be spectacular!!!

The current run (until mid-April) has already sold out at the National but the National have confirmed that they are extending the run into May. Continuing performances will go on sale in early March.

Here are a couple of articles to whet your appetite: http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/2011/jan/17/a-monster-role-frankenstein-danny-boyle

In 20 years of going to the National Theatre I can honestly say hand on heart that THIS is the most hotly anticipated and exciting production that they have put on!!!

Raks makes The District Messenger!!!

The Sherlock Holmes Society London is the leading Sherlock Holmes Society in the world. The District Messenger is their monthly newsletter. And I have just got a mention in the District Messenger!!! This goes onto their website and is accessible to Holmes fans around the world!!! I am made up!!!

Check it out!!!:

It is an honour and a privilege to be mentioned in the District Messenger. Roger Johnson, the Editor of The District Messenger, has made my day, my month and even my year!!!

Next stop the Sherlock Holmes Society Journal!!!

With a huge thanks to TurkFox for the heads up on this one, I just wanted to let everyone know that our beloved Andrew Scott (Jim Moriarty in Sherlock) is returning to the London stage.

Andrew will be in “Emperor & Galilean” at the National Theatre. Opening on 15 June 2011, Ibsen’s EMPEROR AND GALILEAN, in a new version by Ben Power, will be directed by Jonathan Kent. Andrew Scott will play Julian, and the production will also star James McArdle, Jamie Ballard, John Heffernan, Ian McDiarmid (as Maximus), Genevieve O’Reilly, Prasanna Puwanarajah.

I am a London theatre geek and I see a lot of London theatre. Design for Living, at the Old Vic and starring Andrew, was definitely in my top 3 plays of last year and one of the key reasons for this was Andrew’s strong performance. And obviously, he blew me away with his performance as Jim Moriarty - Andrew’s performance in the final scenes of The Great Game was mind blowing.

Whilst I have an opportunity, I also wanted to talk a little bit about the National Theatre London. I have been a priority member at the National for 20+ years. I love it. It is my safe haven. Fab building. Fab theatres - no restricted views or "bad seats". Fab staff. Fab membership scheme. Fab Watch this space free events over the Summer. And the award winning NT live so it is truly national across the UK and international across the world.

I first went to the NT when I was 19 and a student. I was struck by how friendly and welcoming the theatre was. Some theatres and theatre crowds can be a bit snobby. This is not the NT.

It has a great mix of classic and brand new writing, and with its 3 theatres a diversity of performance spaces. And it gets the best actors. And it gets the best emerging talent.

I do the rounds of all the theatres in London. There are a couple of others that I like - The Old Vic and the Royal Court spring to mind. BUT nothing compares to the NT. It is quite frankly in a different league - a league of its own. Nowhere else comes close. End of conversation!!!


By the way, I am sorry I did not choose a photo of Andrew as Jim, but I went with the photo above because everytime I see it it makes my heart melt!!!

Undershaw Preservation Trust

Two weeks ago I started work on a feature article for the Baker Street Supper Club website on the Saving Undershaw Campaign.

Undershaw was one of the homes of Arthur Conan Doyle and was where he wrote Hound of the Baskervilles and The Return of Sherlock Holmes. The house is now under threat as it has been bought by developers who want to turn the house into townhouses. The Undershaw Preservation Trust are campaigning hard to protect the house – they want to turn it into a museum dedicated to Arthur Conan Doyle or, at the very least, keep it as a single dwelling. Mark Gatiss is the Patron of The Undershaw Preservation Trust.

I have been desk researching the article and working with the Undershaw Preservation Trust for a couple of weeks now. They are an incredibly small organisation trying to do the best they can to preserve an important part of the nation's heritage.

Having got to know them I really felt quite strongly that I could not just sit back and watch from the sidelines when I knew they were desperate for help. I feel very passionately about saving Arthur Conan Doyle's home and I want to get behind the campaign. So I have decided to help out with the campaign as much as I can. I want to actually devote my time and energy to the campaign to Save Undershaw as that is where my strengths, my skillset and my competencies are best utilised.

This is what the Undershaw Preservation Trust put on their Facebook page yesterday:

The Undershaw Preservation Trust would like to firstly introduce you to our London representative. Rakshita Patel who lives and works in London. Raks, as she prefers to be known, has recently joined the Sherlock Holmes Society, London and currently works for the Home Office. Raks will be responsible for all publicity for UPT in the London area and will be responsible for all representatives nationally and worldwide. Can we bid her a warm welcome.

You can find out more about the campaign at:


Black Swan

Just got back from seeing this. I am shaking. It is pretty mind-blowing.

It is a very dark film that takes you down into the depths.

It has an evil mother. Her own career as a dancer came to an end when she gave birth to Nina. Their relationship is riverting. And terrifying.

I guess all I wanted to say about this film is that it is the most shocking, horrifying, disturbing and terrifying depiction of psychosis I have ever seen on the big screen. There are some key scenes in this where visuals and music combine to give a killer punch in the stomach. There were sharp intakes of breath from across the audience.

I have direct personal experience of psychosis and mental meltdown and this portrayal of it was the most realistic and true to life I have ever seen on the big screen.

A dark, intelligent, adult film. Highly recommended.


BAFTA Film Awards 2011 Nominees

Here is the list of nominees for the Bafta Film Awards 2011:

Who I want to win!!! - I have only cited those categories that I feel qualified to comment on and feel passionately about!!!

Best film
The Social Network

Best director
David Fincher - The Social Network
Danny Boyle - 127 Hours

Best actor
Jesse Eisenberg - The Social Network
James Franco - 127 Hours

Best supporting actor
Andrew Garfield - The Social Network
Geoffrey Rush - The King's Speech

Outstanding British film
127 Hours

Best foreign language film
Of Gods and Men - France

Best animated feature film
Toy Story 3

Best adapted screenplay
127 Hours - Danny Boyle, Simon Beaufoy
The Social Network - Aaron Sorkin

Best original score
127 Hours - AR Rahman
Alice in Wonderland - Danny Elfman

127 Hours

Rising Star Award (voted for by the public)
Tom Hardy

What do other people think? Film buffs come on down!!!



Frankenstein's run at the National has been extended into May.

There are so many exciting aspects to this production:
- Danny Boyle directing and returning to the stage after too many years away
- Benedict and Jonny alternating the roles of Frankenstein and the Creature
- Underworld doing the music
- the venue being the Olivier at the National. The National is my favourite theatre in London and the Olivier is its biggest stage so it is going to be spectacular!!!

This AMAZING article came out yesterday "Frankenstein: Man or Monster?" in the Guardian with a mouth-watering photo:

The article is what writing in the Arts should be all about. It conveys not only Danny Boyle’s thinking behind his production, and what he is trying to bring to the stage, but also captures Benedict’s and Jonny’s personalities. And that photo … made my heart stop!!!

In 20 years of going to the National Theatre I can honestly say hand on heart that THIS is the most hotly anticipated and exciting production that they have put on!!!

The Social Network and the Golden Globes


For cleaning up at the Golden Globes.

Best film - The Social Network
Best director - David Fincher (The Social Network)
Best screenplay - Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network).

I have been banging my drum for this film ever since I saw it. It is brilliant and fully deserves to win all these awards.

The only person who missed out was Jesse Eisenberg to Colin Firth - oh well, you can't win them all!!!

Many congratulations to the cast and crew and everyone involved with The Social Network - It is genius!!!


127 hours

This film completely blew me out of the water!!!

Danny Boyle is a genius (I am looking forward to Frankenstein even more now!!!). The film is just absolutely amazing - unlike any film I have watched before. You are so close to the action you feel as though you are experiencing that situation yourself. Shots of the canyon and the landscapes in this film are breathtaking - I haven't seen such amazing desert since Lawrence of Arabia (and I LOVE my deserts!!!). The camera sweeps across the landscapes from up on high are a work of art. The use of the split screen at key moments is very clever and incredibly effective. And the colours in the film in the landscapes - wow!!!

Then there is James Franco's performance. I haven't heard any buzz that he is in contention for an Oscar for his performance in this film, and if that is the case there is no justice in the world. He is f**king outstanding in this film - yes not just outstanding, f**king outstanding!!! Colin Firth's performance in The King's Speech, whilst being hotly tipped to win him an Oscar, is nothing particularly special - I actually think that Geoffrey Rush's performance in that film is stronger. But James Franco in this, is AWESOME. And he has no other actors to bounce off or to inspire him, he is acting against a videocam and a rock for f**k's sake. OH MY GOD. I desperately want the Oscar to go to Jesse Eisenberg for The Social Network or James Franco for this - Colin Firth does not deserve it on this occasion.

Anyway, in conclusion, GO AND SEE THIS FILM!!!

WARNING - There is a 5 minute section in this film towards the end that is absolutely excruciating to watch and I was disappointed, being a woman, to see a few women actually walk out of the film at this point. Come on girls - we should do better than this!!! If you find this section hard to watch, then close your eyes, but please stick with the film.