Power Monkeys Episode Two ~ Channel Four

The opinion polls on Donald Trump and his wife have had me in tear rolling laughter in this week’s episode. The belly laughs that I was hoping for have definitely emerged. Trump’s jet is yet again the source of most of my amusement, the comments relating to Trump’s statement in relation to the Orlando tragedy were spot on. Amelia Bullmore, Robert Wilfort and Ayda Field are making a formidable team.

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Amelia Bullmore as Lauren. Photo Credit: Channel Four

The Russians are naturally worried about the football, and talk on the No Thank E.U. bus turns to the violence between the England and Russian football fans. Then there’s Priya (Archie Panjabi) has been asked on News Night… and then been ditched again! Spencer (Kevin McNally) is on form and still sporting the Union Jack waistcoat while taking exception to Priya’s comments – the banter and pace of interaction between the Brexit pushers is gathering momentum.

 

In the Tory camp Tony (Anthony Calf) and Sarah (Claire Skinner) have been up to no good in a hotel, typical Tories! There’s also plenty of talk about Sir Philip Green whose reputation and indeed his knighthood depends on what he does to rectify the BHS pensions situation. Jack Dee is still the perfect addition to team Tory, one withering look is all it takes from him.

The Geldof/Farage exchange appeared to dominate the script, but for the most part, I’m still finding the Trump campaigners to be the heroes of the show!

My overall opinion on this week’s episode? I’m still finding some of the disjointed scenes slightly distracting, but the instalment itself was an improvement on last week’s.

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Spotlight On… Robin Sebastian

August’s BONUS Spotlight On…

*** Robin Sebastian ***

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Can you tell us when you realised you could impersonate Kenneth Williams so accurately and if you were a particular fan of the gentleman, himself?

Well I was working as a wine waiter at a private party in London and I was being as gregarious as I could, asking people “if they’d like another bottle up their end” that sort of thing, but I found that the voice I was using was naturally the king of innuendo Kenneth Williams. I had always enjoyed his performances and had owned a copy of Rambling Syd Rumpo since I was 11. At that party was the actor Nigel Lindsay who was doing the London Cuckolds at the National directed by Terry Johnson. Nigel told me that Terry was desperately trying to find a Kenneth Williams for his new play Carry on Camping Emmanuelle and Dick and that I should apply. I was too late as he had already got the excellent Adam Godley instead. It planted the idea in my head and a few years later I landed the role in Round the Horne revisited. Kenneth Williams has been my saving grace.

Did you envisage that your career would involve portraying Mr Williams so frequently?

Not at first, but I would happily play Kenneth in every show; from Shakespeare to Brecht!

Are you a fan of the ‘Carry On’ films and which is your favourite?

Naturally I have an inclination towards the Carry Ons. My favourite being Carry On Screaming! I did land the role of Sir Desmond Uppingham Knightly in Carry on London, but unfortunately Peter Rogers died and the funding was pulled. Boo hoo!

Apart from the man you’re so famous for impersonating, which role has been your best loved to date?

Well I have been in two productions of The importance of being Earnest playing Algernon Moncrieff who is the wittiest character on the stage. I also enjoyed playing Carmen Ghia in The Producers playing opposite Peter Kay. Lots of laughs and masses of ad libs!

Are there are any particular roles you would like to take in the future or shows that you have an ambition to appear in?

I have no ambitions to play a particular role…. Except James Bond of course, but somehow I don’t think that’s going to happen. I would however like to try stand up as me!

Please tell our readers about ‘The Missing Hancocks’ and what they can expect from its appearance at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival. 

These are comedy gold! We are performing four lost recordings : Prime Minister Hancock, The Winter Holiday, The Three Sons and New Year’s Resolutions. We play two episodes per show. So if you’ve enjoyed one show you can come back the next day and see two different episodes. The cast are Stella with Kevin McNally as Hancock, Simon Meerkat Greenall as Sid James, the hilarious Alex Lowe as Bill Kerr, Susy Kane brilliantly captures Andree Melly and Me messing about as Kenneth Williams! It’s quick fire humour at its best with plenty of added banter!

Any advice for budding actors?

Seriously think about doing a plumbing diploma….. As back up!

Favourite Things (quick-fire questions):

What are your favourite things, if you could only name three in total?

My wife, champagne and dressing up!

Favourite theatre?

Bath Theatre Royal. It is perfectly built and perfectly run.

Favourite co-star?

I have had many from David Mitchell to Rob Webb, Peter Kay, Russia Abbott, Jonathan Rigby, Joe Pasquale, Jenny Seagrove, Roy Marsden and the lovely Sara Crowe. They have all been joyous to work and play with.

Favourite song?

I love music, but my two favourites are Oli Girizo by the Greek band Marsheaux and sprawl two by Arcade Fire. Two very catchy tunes!

Favourite childhood memory?

I have so many. As I was brought up in the beautiful Surrey Countryside in a very loving family. It has to be running through the sprinkler in the garden in the hot summer of 1976.

Favourite colour?

Blue

The Missing Hancocks is at Edinburgh Fringe Festival and tickets can be purchased here: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/missing-hancocks-live-in-edinburgh-show-a

and here: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on#q=%22The%20Missing%20Hancocks%3A%20Live%20in%20Edinburgh!%20(Show%20B)%22

Spotlight On… Kevin R McNally

May’s Spotlight On……

***Kevin R McNally***

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Kevin – as a fellow Brummie, my first question is whether you have any allegiance to a Midlands football team? If so, which one? (dare I ask?)
I don’t really follow the footie. I have a Chelsea mad son who takes care of that for us. But at school, ‘who do you support?’ was a question that, if not answered right, could result in a kicking. Where I lived the Blues was a safer answer than Villa.
What are your earliest memories of growing up in Birmingham?
Extreme poverty, really. We lived in a two up two down terrace on Lauden Road ( gone now) near the City ground. Out door loo and the London train running past the end of the garden. No fence, different days.
It has not escaped my notice that you have a fascination with astronomy, what piqued your interest in this area and do you still indulge in your interest?
Yes I do. It was the late Patrick Moore who had a tea time astronomy show for kids. I remember the theme tune which was Jupiter from the Planet Suite by Gustav Holtz simultaneously sparked my interest in classical music. With the help of Moore’s book “‘O’ level astronomy” I managed to be one of the first to sit that exam and pass with an A. I met Sir Patrick at the BBC a few years before his passing and managed to thank him.
With an impressive film career under your belt, including all of the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ films, I’m sure our readers will be pleased to know that you’re filming the fifth instalment at the moment. Did you think that the films would carry on for this length of time when you first started and are you enjoying donning the whiskers to become ‘Mr. Gibbs’ again? (I presume the whiskers are back!)
I obviously had no idea the series would last this length of time but I am thrilled it has. As to the whiskers… where would Mr. Gibbs be without them.
With regards to your television career, many of our readers may not know that you appear in a series called ‘Turn’ in the USA. Can you tell me a bit about the show and the character you play?
It’s a period drama about Washington’s Spies in the Revolutionary War (or War of Independence as we are taught to call it.) I play a Judge loyal to the crown in Setauket Long Island while my son is secretly a spy for Patriots. Season two is airing in the States right now.
Moving on to Theatre, I’ve seen you tread ‘the boards’ before (‘Boeing Boeing’ in 2007), have you any plans to appear on stage, again and is there a role that you’d particularly like to play?
I am very keen to return to the stage after a two year absence. As to roles. I’ve learnt it’s the one you didn’t think about that works best.
Last year you recorded ‘The Missing Hanocks’ for BBC Radio 4, are there any plans to record more and what was it like to effectively step into Hancock’s ‘shoes’?
Yes. We are recording five more when I return to the UK then taking the experience of seeing a live recorded show to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August. I was daunted stepping into his shoes. I am after all a lifelong fan, but the show has mostly been received well and the experience has been hugely rewarding.
You’ve worked with many well known actors and actresses throughout your career so far, who has been your favourite co-star? Is there anyone that you’re keen to work with in the future?  
The answer to both questions is Phyllis Logan.
Just one look at your CV shows what a varied and successful career you’ve had to date, what are your future ambitions?
More of the same but I would like to add a space film and a western.
The saying goes ‘Never Meet Your Heroes, they’ll only disappoint’, who are your heroes? Have you met them? Did they disappoint?
On the whole, no. But they tend to be unconnected with my profession. Some musicians, scientists etc.
If you could have a dinner party with five people (dead or alive), who would you choose and why?
I figure a night out with Marylin Monroe, James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, Jimmy Stewart and Buster Keaton at Musso and Franks in Hollywood would be a pretty cool night out.
Favourite Things (quick fire questions):
Favourite song?
‘If I loved you’ from Carousel
Favourite composer?
Elgar
Favourite author?
P. G. Wodehouse
Favourite restaurant?
Peter Luger’s in Brooklyn
Favourite way to spend a weekend? 
Quietly at home with my wife, a few friends and an excellent Piedmontese white wine.
If you want to see ‘The Missing Hancocks: Live in Edinburgh’ you can find details and purchase tickets by following the link below:

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