Set Change

Today's blog offering comes in the bold, bald and Brummy form of a famous comedian and writer.

Yesterday I asked ten people what sprang to mind when I mentioned those two jingly and warm words 'Lenny Henry'. The response was almost unanimously "Dawn French's husband" (one taciturn layperson paused and then asked Is he the one in the Travelodge adverts?).

But the reason Lenry Henry is hot on my lips is because he is soon to make his stage-acting debut, and quite locally too at the West Yorkshire Playhouse. But the incredulity continues - he is going to be playing Othello! This mildly outlandish casting decision is clearly going to shift a lot of tickets for the forthcoming production. Although large Shakespeare productions always find large audiences. I can already smell the queues of school classes and OAPs.

Lenny Henry has had a varied and most successful career, yet I can't help feeling that the production is a bit of a cash-in and a step backwards in the sense that so much of our country's theatre is drowned in its overwhelming sense of commodity.

Although we are used to Mr. Henry's grins and comedic charm he is apparently going to take this project very seriously and approach the tragedy with the sincerity its demands. For me though it still doesn't quite cut the mustard. I wish I was around in the 'good old days' to see Laurence Olivier or Chiwetel Ejiofo in their acclaimed turns at the lead role. I suppose I'm just jealous.

Words: Jack Cullen


  1. Hilarious.

    The WYP are massively in debt, so obviously just hoping that this bizarre casting choice will become a talking point and sell tickets.

    But who knows... maybe they've just inadvertently discovered the new great Shakespeare tragedian of the 21st Century?!

  2. The WYP are massively in debt? That's pretty scary.

    I found out today that my landlords have gone bankrupt. The whole world is ending!

    Only Lenny Henry can save us now.