A Shaw thing
FOUNDED in 1941 after the Irish wit and fabian socialist George Bernard Shaw, the Shaw Society recently moved from Conway Hall to the Actors Centre in Tower Street. And one can’t help but wonder what the grand old man would have thought of a society named after him in the centre of the commercial West End?
On Monday there was a one-off production to promote the Society at its new venue. Directed by Maurice Thorogood, Robert Shearman’s Shaw Cornered was a script-in-hand comedy based on Shaw’s last days at his retreat, Shaw’s Corner in Ayot St Lawrence.
In the piece Shaw (Hayward B Morse) appears to a married couple (Janie Goddard and Anthony Wise) from the Purley Amateur Dramatic Society and finds himself homeless as National Heritage, which now owns Ayot St Lawrence, has no time for ghosts – past or present.
The couple take in Shaw, who is later found in a romantic embrace with the am dram chairman’s wife. But instead of throwing the old man out on his ear, the chairman is proud of his wife’s actions, much to GBS’s bemusement.
Having found himself penniless, Shaw contacts the BBC for work. He is interviewed by a cynical female producer and a sycophantic male assistant (nicely played by Goddard and Wise), who tell him that the public have no interest in his work and that he should add more music to his productions, such as My Fair Lady.
The Society has its 76th AGM on February 17 at The Actors Centre with the election of a president. Past presidents have included Dame Judi Dench and Sylvia Syms.
The AGM will be followed by Annajanska,the Bolshevik Empress, which is directed and produced by Lorenzo Mason.
For more details call 020 3841 6600.
John Courtney O’Connor