The Tempest

Posted by Jeni in Announcements | 13 March 2007

My husband, Jim Bywater, opened last night in The Tempest at the Queens Theatre Hornchurch. I took the 239 bus from my flat to Victoria then the tube all the way to Hornchurch. I haven't travelled underground for ages but I'm just getting into the hang of it again. The seats seem much closer together and the adverts are different. A bloke sat next to me drinking beer out of a bottle. The smell in the carriage was strange but nobody batted an eyelid. The journey was long enough for me to read the Evening Standard, a London newspaper, from cover to cover. That's the joy of long journeys. I only paid 4, off-peak rate. Arriving at 5.45, I was about to jump on the 256 bus when the old man called and said he would collect me as he had an hour before the half.

For non-theatrical types, the half is a 30 minute call before curtains up. We got to the newly renovated theatre and I had a cup of hot water whilst I did the crossword and wondered why I had left theatre for Telly. I must have been mad. Okay, there is potentially more money to be made in front of a camera but when you see the audience, and the whites of their eyes, there is nothing like it.

The audience is a mass, an animal, a living being. You don't get anything like it in a telly studio. The audiences that are bussed in are held up, with cameras dancing, and don't have the staying power or sophistication off a real live theatre audience. This auditorium was full of real folks, loads of Shakespeare-studying school kids, their teachers, actors coming to support the opening night, and me.

The set is beautiful, a globe with a sweeping ramp, the music is haunting, - rearrangements of Miles Davis' 'Scenes From Spain'. Plus there's a cast that included my very, very talented husband. I'm not just saying it, but old Bywater really does do it good. He's so funny and sharp. I laughed so loudly that the kids turned their heads, as one, to the cackling wench in the back row. It's a brilliant night out. Bob Carlton, artistic director, has done a good job. Carol Slowman the MD has done a good job. The actors, including my little ol'e man, do a good job. But he does it better which is why I'm with him. There ain't no way I could share a bed with an amateur, nuff said.

Unless you live in America, Africa or the Sub Continent, I would get on the tube and go and see The Tempest. It finishes at the end of March.

Jeni Barnett tells of her scrumptious time at Good Food Live in her first audiobook! Download NOW from iTunes


1. At March 19, 2007 8:23 PM Oosbind wrote:

Thankyou, Petal. I think I can say the same about you.

2. At March 23, 2007 7:15 PM Alison Jones wrote:

Dear Jeni.

I can't believe that GFL has been cancelled, the producers must be absolutely mad.

You have been a very enjoyable part of my life for the last five years and all I feel I can do is to offer my support to you as you are such a lovely person and do not deserve to be treated in such a way.

With my best wishes

Alison Jones

Copyright 2007, Jeni Barnett. Website produced by Chopstix.