Are Germans funny?

Apparently there is some kind of rivalry between the Brits and the Germans. We don’t forget two world wars, or the 1966 World Cup, which England won.

Monday evening on the History channel brought an Al Murray programme exploring why the Germans hate the Brits. The conclusion was that they don’t, that Germans barely give us Brits a thought. They have a nicer country, a better lifestyle, fewer hangups and enjoy being at the centre of Europe.

Murray’s companion was Henning Wehn, a German comedian who lives in London and is successful (and just up the road from me). I saw Henning in concert recently and he said that someone had asked him why he stayed in the UK and why he was successful. It’s easier, he said, all you have to do is say ‘fuck’ a lot and Brits think you are hysterical. I call this the Billy Connolly effect.

Coincidentally, the NFT had a session last night called “Are Germans Funny”. Henning was again involved. He had chosen a film, Manta Manta, and this was followed by a discussion with the director. It happens that they are good friends, drinking in the same pub together.

There was no real explanation of what Manta is. It appears to be racing cars, but the subtleties of that were lost on me. Henning said it was a ‘right laugh’ but there were only a few titters, I think. Even the many Germans in the audience were hardly killing themselves. But it was entertaining enough.

It did answer the question though. Are Germans funny…

Christmas is here

To be honest, according to many tv channels, Christmas has been here since June.

There are Christmas specials, channels showing non-stop Xmas films, last minute presents on the shopping channels and schemes to get you saving for Xmas 2019.

There’s some kind of competition for the best Xmas advert. John Lewis always seems to do quite well, so we know where their profit goes.

The Carry On films are appearing. No sign of It’s A Wonderful Life yes, or Mary Poppins.

Quick, duck!

I have to say, it’s been a bt of a ho hum year for theatre, until the last few weeks. The revival of Cock at Chichester, the new Florian Zeller play The Height of The Storm and the new play at the Almeida, always a favourite and back to its very best (for reasons I hesitate to speculate on).

The is Robert Icke reworking of Ibsen’s The Wild Duck.

First of all, let’s say that there have been some stupendous reviews, and one lukewarm one from the Guardian, and there still are odd tickets to be had. And it will probably transfer, just as Summer and Smoke and Twilight Zone are.

I’m not going to go over the story. If you are Ibsen purist, you will hate the way it is presented. The actors share a hand mic and tell their secret thoughts and also talk about the background to the play. It’s cut, apparently, but still runs approaching three hours with a short break. And it’s captivating and engrossing stuff.

The stage is fairly minimal, just the usual back wall and a few props. The acting is uniformly excellent. There are some truly chilling moments and great pieces of theatre craft.

No spoilers here, but there was a standing ovation.