Saturday, March 1, 2008

The Patrick Barlow Experience

Well, I put together another Patrick Barlow tribute, only instead of 45 seconds long, this one is 7 minutes long. Although it's good for what it is, I must add that it hardly does his works justice. So if you're looking for talented actors/writers and new venues that you haven't tried before - such as radio comedy, check out this tribute for Barlow even though you may never have heard of him, and if it even slightly catches your fancy, give him a chance with the "real deal" - ie DVDs in which he appears, and listen to BBC Radio 7.

The Brits are undoubtedly familiar with Patrick Barlow as he's been doing his "gig" there for over 20 years, but for Americans and anyone else reading this blog, I'll explain how I came to be a fan.

I have been listening to BBC Radio 7 ever since I discovered it a couple of years ago. I listen to their science fiction offerings and then write them up for my webzine, The Thunder Child.

Anyway, after a month or so I decided to be adventurous and listen to some of the other stuff on offer there - they have everything from sitcoms to dramas to book readings to game shows - and came across the Patrick and Maureen Maybe Music Experience. The description of it said guest star was Juliet Stevenson, who had starred in Truly Madly Deeply. And I thought to myself, well, it doesn't say it, but maybe Alan Rickman will make a surprise appearance.

Well, Rickman didn't, but the episode was hilarious nevertheless. Patrick Barlow and Imelda Staunton play two people who have a musical radio program, and they spar both on and off the radio. Imelda as Maureen is jealous of every woman who comes on the program because Patrick as Patrick always flirts with them. In this one, it's a violinist from Czechoslovakia who has an orgasm as she plays her violin - that's her schtick. And it was just hilarious.

However, I listened to the next two episodes (it's only a 4 part series), and I didn't like them. They probably were very funny, but I don't like the kind of humor of two married peope sparring like that. [As an aside, the first time your significant other raises his or her voice to you or says an unkind word, dump 'em! Better to be alone and happy than together, "loved" and miserable.]

Anyway, next was a series called Desmond Olivier Dingle's Complete Life and Works of Shakespeare. The description of episode 3 mentioned Brian Cox.

Now, I'd never seen Brian Cox in any acting role, but I had once caught a few seconds of a master class he was giving to some actors on my local PBS station, and the technique he was showing gave me a great idea for the play of Conrad Veidt that I'm working on, so I've always had a quiet appreciation of the guy.

So I figured...what the heck, I'll listen to it.

And it again was absolutely hilarious.

Patrick Barlow (who also wrote it - as well as the Maybe show, by the way) plays Desmond Olivier Dingle, a megalomaniac actor director who is putting on "the life and works of Shakespeare" despite knowingabsolutely nothing about the subject.

Brian Cox plays himself, who has been invited to the show to give a master class to Dingle's company. However, stuff happens, and Cox gradually descends into madness, culminating in him swinging a broadsword over his head and going after the other cast members.

Anyway, that cemented me as a fan of Patrick Barlow.

I then of course wanted to find out what he looked like, so I surfed the web and found some photos, and of course YouTube where he's in a series from 1996 called Is It Legal, and what can I say, he's quite cute. I like the guy's with square builds and faces, much better than the tall, stringbean types.

His current TV roles don't really do him justice... he plays the Vicar in Clatterford (aka Jam and Jerusaleum) where he has to look haughty and bad-tempered all the time, however in "real life" he looks quite handsome.

So...there you have it.

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