(at the Court Theatre)
Secrets are revealed, resentments released and new understandings formed in this fresh and funny perspective on an iconic and larger-than-life family.
It’s 1962 – the Beatles have their first hit, James Bond his first film – and Randolph Churchill is holding a luncheon party to celebrate the 88th birthday of his admired but estranged father. Sir Winston is a fading force and there is unfinished business in his loving but dysfunctional family.
Meanwhile, the socially inept Dr Jenkins, a newly appointed research assistant to Randolph, is pursuing his own agenda and forms a surprising bond with the wily Winston.
Winston’s Birthday is a dynamic mix of comedy and drama that will plunge you deep behind the façade of Churchill family politics during the last years of the great man’s life.
My Rating 3/5
Lexx 2.10 – Wake the Dead
A group of restless and none-too-intelligent teens comes aboard the Lexx, and after ‘partying like stink’ one of them accidentally reprograms Kai to become a psychotic killing machine. Kai then sets to work systematically murdering each of the teens, taking an uncharacteristic delight in violence. After hunting and killing his prey one by one Xev and Stan fear they may have to abandon the Lexx forever only to be saved at the last moment when Kai runs out of Protoblood.
A very boring parody of teen slasher films. (1/10)
Lexx 2.11 – Nook
Stanley Tweedle isn’t interested in exploring, but Xev convinces him to do so, saying that she’ll have sex with him if she doesn’t find somebody to have sex with on the planet first. Stan agrees, and when they venture to the planet they find an order of monks who profess to have no idea what a woman is. It is a repressive and stagnant place, where the monks copy writings out of ancient books without knowing how to read, so that they will not be corrupted by dangerous ideas. Kai asks their leader, Brother Randor, how they procreate without women, but Brother Randor claims ignorance of such matters. Meanwhile, Xev is stirring up trouble by making sexual overtures to various monks.
Some interesting ideas, but undermined by illogical plot and characters. (2/5)
Flyaway (1978) & Bahama Crisis (1980)
As a teenager, I went from Enid Blyton to the thriller writers of the era – Hammond Innes, Wilbur Smith, Alistair MacLean and Desmond Bagley. Re-reading these books as an adult reveals that I still enjoy the stories. The writing is tight and the plot moves with a good pace. Overall the story is structured to ramp up in intensity to a single final climax. Modern writers try to do lots of action/violence throughout the story. But these books are still good reads, thirty years after initial publication.
Artwork done for a CD cover and interface.
The ‘CD2 ‘ circle was taken from a quarter image of a shield, flipped and copied to make a circle. The text was done using photoshop plugins and the result pasted on an image from fantasy illustrator Chris Achilleos.
Lexx 2.7 – Love Grows
The episode follows a crew of sleazy space miners – two men and one large woman – who contract a gender-changing and ultimately fatal virus which they then unwittingly share with the crew of the Lexx. While the disease does not affect the external appearance, it changes the genitals and the voice and works on the mind, making men extremely demure and making women into voracious sexual predators. In this episode Stanley Tweedle finally fulfills his dream of having sex with his crewmate Xev Bellringer, although it is arguably more of a rape and during the encounter their genders are reversed.
The setup has potential, but once everyone is on the Lexx, it descends into a very badly written and directed 1960’s soft-core porn parody. This is the worst episode so far. (1/5)
Lexx 2.8 – White Trash
The Golleans, a family of incestuous cannibal rednecks, has stowed away on the Lexx. After a night of passion with Sissy Gollean, Stanley Tweedle is caught by the jealous Pa Gollean, who plans to kill Stan until Sissy convinces him to let them get married instead. Pa agrees, and then forces Stan to steer the ship to his home planet Vermal so Pa can get revenge on the remaining inhabitants. Whilst on the planet Kai helps Pa’s adopted son Norb escape his unpleasant parents on his real father’s space ship – The Charger.
Just when I thought they had reached the bottom, comes this rubbish every-bad-stereotype hick story. The only character of interest is the young boy who escapes the planet before Lexx destroys it. (1/5)
Lexx 2.9 – 791
The crew of the Lexx get a distress signal from a crashed ship on an uninhabited planet. Stanley Tweedle refuses to go down to investigate, but Lyekka insists that she needs food, and if she doesn’t get it she’ll be forced to eat the crew. Lyekka plans to eat any survivors down on the surface, but Xev understandably has some moral qualms about this. Once inside the crashed ship, they find jars containing still-beating hearts and 790 finds a cyborg body with which he hopes to finally consummate his love of Xev.
Despite the rip-off of the 1979 space horror-thriller “Alien”, this actually works. There is sufficient tension, plot twists and atmosphere for a good episode. Finally Stan gets to assert himself and take a positive single action. (4/5)
Time For Tea
by 11 Acorn Lane (2015)
Infectious pop, jazz, funk.
Nobody combines them like this band.
The best song is ‘Lets Face it I’m Cute”
with lyrics worth repeating…….
Let’s face it
Let’s face it
Let’s face it
Let’s face it
Let’s come to terms
And embrace it
Concur admit concede and face it
Cute, cute, cute
Cute, cute, cute
Let’s embrace it
And come to terms
There you have it
Lexx 2.5 – Lafftrak (Jan 8, 1999)
Two planets, Liber and Leester, long ago destroyed each other in a ratings war. The crew discover a small, automated planetoid that is still producing TV programs. Stan is captured on the planet and forced to take part in various shows, and when he consistently fails to amuse the macabre audience he is demoted to increasingly less dignified positions. Eventually, it is discovered that when contestants fail, they are decapitated and their heads are kept alive to be part of the studio audience for all eternity.
The setup battle is a fun homage to a pulp space adventure. When Stan, 790 and Xev get to partake in old TV shows, the humour feels very forced and not funny. But ultimately it’s the predictable Kai that comes to save everyone (3/5)
Lexx 2.6 – Stan’s Trial (Jan 15, 1999)
Stan needs release and returns to an old haunt for pleasure; another space brothel. Unbeknownst to him and the crew however the Reform Planets have been searching for Stanley, whom they call “the Arch-Traitor”, to put him on trial for the destruction of 100 worlds hostile to His Divine Shadow. The trial seems to be legitimate but the chief prosecutor has her own secret intentions: wanting to torture and execute Stanley.
At last, a show with actual themes that hint at what Star Trek could do with ease. The court scenes are predictable, but the ending makes up for short-comings. (4/5)
Lexx 2.3 – Lyekka
The plant-based organism called Lyekka arrives on the Lexx and uses Stanley’s dream image of a high school sweetheart to take form. At the same time, 3 astronauts from the planet Potataho run into the Lexx. Lyekka begins to eat them one at a time, allowing them to live out their wildest fantasies before consuming them. After accidentally destroying the astronaut’s spaceship Stan offers to take them back to their planet, only to find it destroyed by Drone Arms. First appearance of Xev.
Lexx 2.4 – Luvliner
The crew travel to a space brothel, Luvliner. Negotiations break down when Schlemmi, who manages the brothel and has a fetish for robot heads, finds out that the crew has no money. After a little coercion they are allowed in free of charge, only for Schlemmi to call in a bounty hunter and attempt to take over the Lexx for himself.