First published in The Times, Monday February 22 2016
Get Carter, a gritty, cynical gangster film, in which Michael Caine’s antihero wanders Newcastle seeking vengeance for his brother’s murder, has grown in critical reputation since its release in 1971 and is considered by some to be a masterpiece of British cinema. The same cannot be said of the source novel, Jack’s Return Home by Ted Lewis, which languished out of print for many years until being republished under the film’s title in the early Nineties.
First published in The Times, Monday November 2 2015
The last play that Richard Baron directed for Pitlochry Festival Theatre was Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, in which the director stuck faithfully by the playwright’s credo that seriousness should be hidden beneath a “sincere and studied triviality”. Graham Greene’s black comedy about a vacuum-cleaner salesman who becomes embroiled in espionage is quite the opposite of Wilde. Its complex story and “winds of change” setting may lend it an air of import, but Greene’s exploration of the British secret service and their role in Cuba on the eve of revolution is never more than skin deep.