This blog is for English actress, cakemaker and writer Jane Asher, with many pictures and accurate information of one of the most beautiful rock muses from the 20th century.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Look Back in Anger, 1968

October 1968 - Jane Asher as Alison with Martin Shaw in John Osborne's play "Look Back In Anger" at the Royal Court Theatre in London.


In her Oct. 12, 1968 London E. S. interview with Ray Connolly, during rehearsals for Look Back In Anger, Jane commented on Paul McCartney. She was living in a little flat over a dry cleaners in Maida Vale just off Baker Street: "I know it sounds corny but we're still very close friends. We really are. We see each other and we love each other, but it hasn't worked out. That's all there is too it. Perhaps we'll be childhood sweethearts and meet and get married again when we're about seventy."


Look Back in Anger (1956) is a play by John Osborne. It concerns a love triangle involving an intelligent and educated but disaffected young man of working-class origin (Jimmy Porter), his upper-middle-class, impassive wife (Alison), and her haughty best friend (Helena Charles). Cliff, an amiable Welsh lodger, attempts to keep the peace. 
The action throughout takes place in the Porters' one-room flat in the Midlands.

 Jane recalled in 2010: "Look Back in Anger came along at a time in my career when I was at a potential crossroads between going into more television and film – I was 22 at the time but I had worked since the age of five so I’d already done a great deal of both – or more theatre. But as soon as I started working on Look Back I knew that theatre was what I enjoyed most.
When Look Back in Anger was first produced in 1956, it was ground-breaking. Written by John Osborne, it was one of the first of the kitchen sink dramas. The lead character, Jimmy Porter, was the original angry young man and spends most of the play railing against British society. I played Alison, his wife, a middle-class colonel’s daughter very much under Jimmy’s thumb. In the middle of the play Jimmy has an affair with Alison’s best friend, and Cliff [the lodger, played by Martin Shaw] is endlessly sympathetic.
The interesting thing about this revival in 1968 was that it was the first since the Lord Chamberlain’s office had been abolished. Before then, every play had to be sent to the Lord Chamberlain to be 'passed’, and often the office would insist on cuts and changes. Look Back in Anger had to be quite seriously censored in 1956, but when we did the show John Osborne was around putting back his original text, which was fascinating. He could be spiky – there was more than a touch of Jimmy Porter in him – and he was intolerant of stupidity; he wasn’t the easiest of people but I admired him.
The only problem with our production was Victor Henry, who played Jimmy. He was one of the most brilliant actors I’ve ever worked with, but also an alcoholic. The play famously starts with Jimmy reading the newspaper and Alison ironing. As Victor lowered the newspaper some nights, his eyes would be small and bloodshot and I would know he’d been drinking and that it would be a terrible night. Some actors can get away with a drink but Victor couldn’t. He thought he was being wonderful, but he was mumbling and incoherent and it was disastrous. He always thought he would die a dramatic, wild, drink-fuelled death but he was walking down the street many years later, completely sober, when a car knocked into a lamp post which fell on his head. He was in a coma for over a year and died without regaining consciousness.
Since Look Back in Anger I’ve often dipped into the deeply commercial, but I’ve always come back to good theatre. But panto [Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs], which is what I’m doing now, is terrific fun: I haven’t done traditional panto since I was 17 when I played Cinderella at the Palace Theatre in Bromley. For me now, it’s lovely doing it for the children in the audience. I’ve got four step-grandchildren and I’m particularly doing it for them – they’re thrilled to have their step-granny as the wicked queen".
Photo 1) Jane Asher ca. 1968. Lady Jane group at yahoo!.
Photo 2) Close-up of Jane in wind and sun from Australian Women's Weekly, April 23, 1969. 
Photo 3) Same as previous ones, found on the net. If it's yours, drop me a line and I'll give you full credit!
Photo 4) Polfoto.
Photo 5) Lady Jane group at yahoo!
Photos 6 & 7) Jane Asher photoblog.
Photo 8) telegraph.co.uk
Photos 9 to 13) Found on the net. Ifany of them it's yours, drop me a line and I'll give you full credit. I saved them long ago. Thanks.
Photos 14 & 15) Jim Gray/Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images.
Photo 16) Ebay auction listing, found via Beatle Girls blogspot.
Photo 17) Topfoto.co.uk.
Photo 18) Ebay auction listing.
Photo 19) Associated Newspapers/REX/Shutterstock
Photo 20) King Collection / Retna/Photoshot 

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