17 til 21st of Feb Feb24

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17 til 21st of Feb

This is bad – to leave it this long – I know – it’s bad.

Neil Gaiman once told me that to not put at least a ‘Hullo’ or ‘Bollocks’ or ‘ Bear with’ on your web page was akin to being represented at a really important party by a void… so I apologise.

Nice things happened – I was given a Critics Circle best actor award for my performance in Fences. This was a much bigger deal than I imagined as all of the nominations are voted on by the critics, who then all come to the ceremony and have a few drinks, watch Arthur Smith crack gags about all sorts of subject matter and then – give out the trophies. Before each winner is announced a critic, could be Quentin Letts, could be Charles Spencer – reads out a flavor of what they wrote at the time about the performance / direction/ design of each production… and then you have to get up and make a speech.

I was incredibly grateful to see the entire cast of Fences , Tanya Moodie , Peter Bankole, Ashley Zhangazha, Colin McFarlane and of course our wonderful director Paulette Randall – watching the whole presentation. Mad shout-outs go to Es Devlin and Rory Kinnear and Lesley Manville (best actress for her heart rending role in Ghosts) for their awards too. Lucy Kirkwood won best play for her brilliant writing on Chimerica, Lyndsey Turner for her direction of that play… I felt privileged to be amongst such talented peeps.

I read all of the Ben Aaronovitch books on my Kindle – and I got to meet Ben for lunch at Bafta… we talked projects and ideas and had a good time. Watch out for that stuff.

Ben’s mad talented and here’s his Wiki page, in case you don’t know his work: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Aaronovitch

I recorded a radio play called DAY RELEASE written by Peter Jukes

http://www.radiotimes.com/episode/ctbr6h/day-release

See the above link for details… I really enjoyed this play and got to work with the legendary Sharlene Whyte, also Cyril Nri and the gorgeous Nina Toussaint-White. Mary Peate produced and directed with aplomb (where do you get those?) and we all enjoyed bringing this heartfelt story about a life serving con getting the chance to pass on whatever hard earned knowledge he’s learned in jail, to some youngsters… check it out.

I wrote a teen memoir screenplay, a fictional version of real life events based on my first couple years in show business. Working with Nicola Shindler and Caroline Hollick at Red productions over a two year period , the script which is called Danny and the Human Zoo –was green lit by Ben Stephenson (Head of Drama ) at the BBC… I’m really chuffed. This is my first script to get the nod… so I am very grateful to everyone involved for giving me this opportunity. Look out for Danny and the Human zoo spring 15!

What else? I’ve just had one of the best week s of my life working with Jakko Jakszyk (Level 42, King Crimson) and Chris Porter (George Michael , Pet Shop Boys). I’d spoken about my love of music, singing, the blues, R&B , funk etc. with a burning passion. Jakko and I have worked together on many occasions (he scored “CHEF!” and worked on many of my shows over the years) and we’ve always talked about collaborating on some music. So the stars aligned and we booked studio time with Chris producing – we booked musicians: Nigel Hopkins on keys, Wayne Nunes on bass, Danny Cummings on drums and Jakko on guitars – me on vocals. And we chose a whole bunch of songs and worked on them.

I had a blast doing this – who knows where this will lead? To me, the very fact that I spent a five actual whole days in one place doing something that I actually wanted to do without running off every five minutes to do a meeting / interview / phone call etc means that it was meant to happen. God bless everyone involved – the experience was a keeper, which I’ll never forget.

Oh yeah – I was invited to the RADA reception at Buckingham Palace on the 17th and was very privileged to meet and hang out with the award winning director Steve McQueen, Tanya Moodie, Alan Rickman, Mike Leigh, Tim Spall, Hugh Laurie (how nice to see him…) and many others. There was a very fine performance from Cynthia Errivo (Colour Purple , the X factor musical , Sister Act) who blew the room away with “I’m Here” from the Colour Purple… Oh God this woman can sing…she is going to be a HUGE star!

It was also great to see EMILY J one of my daughter’s best friends on stage singing her heart out – Well done Emily, you did yourself proud.

There’s more coming too – I’m working on a pilot for a TV version of RUDY’S RARE RECORDS. We’re shooting that in the next couple of weeks , and there’s a stage version which goes into rehearsal in the Autumn at the Hackney Empire. Both written by Danny Robins. I can’t wait.

Looking forward to the coming year people… how about you?

Big love
Len xxx