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GEORGE INNES

 

Archived News for George Innes From May 2009- August 2009

August 31.2009

Back in London a day earlier than I anticipated. My venue in Edinburgh , The Outhouse, decided to have a huge bbq instead. Alas, we had not been informed. All the posters were down and all traces erased. I grabbed a few stuck them up and waited outside the  venue for the people scheduled to come and see the show. I met them outside and apologized and felt sad that they had made plans for their Sunday and the last day of the festival and to be turned away like that. Earlier in the week we had run into several people who had also been turned away as well . They were students, but too young to come into the venue with their families. A strange turn because we had been asked pointedly if we were a children friendly show, and were listed as such. Such a shame. But even at my age one can live and learn.

The Edinburgh Festival has certainly changed over these years. The Fringe seems to have consumed the Edinburgh Festival. The streets are filled with the laughter and jesting of a much younger audience, I think because of all the music, comedy and abundance of  bawdy very funny comic venues. It is a festival full of high spirits and a great drinking fest and pubs that don't close to at least 3:00am

Because our venue was almost fenced off by the road works around The Outhouse , both when we went into do the show at 11:30am and when we came out at just gone 2:00pm, the streets were as deserted as a Gunfight at the OK Corral at High Noon.

lol..Yet when I was in doing my saddened and wrecked  Lear weeping beside the body of Cordelia, a symphony of rolling empty metal beer barrels  thundered over the cobbled streets just outside the venue. That, and the never ending sound of construction were the only signs of life, although I am sure at night it is a very different story.

Still only a few streets away you could not pass for the crowds, street performers and lines waiting to get into venues. I am sure many can hardly wait until this tram line is complete. It is if there has been major surgery on that grand city, arteries crimped off just waiting to be released to leave its life blood to flow again.

I enjoyed the shows I got to see, a variety, some good ,some very good. But all had a fine independent brave and bold spirit of doing something you believe in.

We got some nice reviews, as well as absolutely great audience reviews and comments. .So thank you everyone. .as well as a particularly good review I would like to share with you. You would think I would have to refrain from puffing my feathers up and strutting around, but when this was read to me from my overseas publicity manager, I was truly touched. You can see it at  FringeReview.

We conquered the battle of postering. laminating against the rain, cello taping a string of them together to go around a lamp post- going back and finding them covered up with some one else's string of posters, borrowing a ladder and putting them higher up the post...lol..we would stand on opposite street corners and call out and joke with other theatre groups who were out there with their special tricks to promote their shows as well.

Time now to unpack the car, and read the paper with a cup of  hot tea, and catch up on all my favorite shows on the telly.... Until the next adventure.

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August 17, 2009

Yesterday, I had a step back in time. While heading down to the wide cobbled street of Grassmarket, where the carts once piled high with harvested hay and grains, rumbled and thundered over the stones on the way to market , I ran into the group of "old mods' on their scooters. They are a group of good natured blokes, who still reveal in the music of The Who and make their scooter runs to various festivals. I had been in the movie Quadrophenia  in the early 70s with The Who.  The Beehive Inn Edinburgh Scotland, Grassmarket We had a good laugh  and a chat and they directed me to a wonderful old pub with a history that goes back 400 years. It is  called the Beehive on Grassmarket. It is directly below the Edinburgh Castlerock and rumored to be, according to the knowing "mods", the place where Prince Charles has dined and had his stag night before he married Lady Diana.

As I sat comfortably, sunk deep into the warm leathery arm chairs of that old pub, I could not help but wonder if  noble Princes partied there, could there be a hidden tunnel route that escapes to the safety of the castle. I am afraid there is a great deal of romantic dreamer and Errol Flynn adventurer in me..

And as I sat beneath the "ghost walks"  that rise above the shops of this supposed haunted city that holds a million tales, I have promised my friend that my next quest is to find the place made famous by Mary King and the city buried by the Black Death somewhere in Edinburgh. Installment soon to come....George Innes and daughter curzon innesgeorge innnes daughters gable and curzon

I wish my daughters could be here with me. They would be enthralled by all of this. 

(Yes, I can't keep up with the changing hair and styles either. I am afraid one day I will walk past and not  recognize them! See July 9, '09)

There were more mysterious note takers in the audience today. I know I am up to date on my taxes, so it does peak my very curious mind.

The first part of the show runs 1 hour and 15 minutes, then the interval , followed by another 35 minutes. A group of 7 visitors from Taiwan sent back a note of apology about having to leave at the interval for another engagement. How kind of them to do so. They thanked me and said they would return  on another day for the second half.  They will be most welcomed. Again  the audience grows. I am pleased. Soon we will have to scout up more chairs.

Today, once again, was a wonderful audience. They gave me a rousing standing ovation, which touches and humbles me and made my manager weep (real tears!)

Hard to believe, eh?  I think most actors feel that way. We can go out there and be the bravest, most villainous, most obnoxious and boisterous, but that is why we act. Because often it is the antithesis of who we are... acting is our alter ego

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August 15,2009

Our audience grows and are always so overwhelmingly gracious and kind in their praises.

Chris, my manager, had a surprise for me today.We were to escape the hubbub and noise of the festivities, the torn up byways and wrong way turns and snarled traffic of Edinburgh and head for a late lunch/early dinner at Aberlady Bay on the coast about 18 miles east of Edinburgh. We saw King Arthur's seat -  formed, as was the castlerock that the Edinburgh Castle sits on, by an extinct volcano.... and then what sounded a real real treat .. a concert by the sea in North Berwick. ahhh... Mozart ? ...Neil Diamond ?

No... Remember my head banging manager.. Well! I forgot ! ,.Taking Chase edinburgh festival Bombskare band edinburgh festival We saw some very good performers, Taking Chase and Bombskare...perhaps some of you know them.  "More Punk? I asked. 

 "No Ska" , was the reply.. For which I did not have the translation.. but the  Music..hmmn didn't sound too bad. Maybe it isn't too late to teach an old dog after all.

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August 14, 2009

We finally met the mysterious Alex Petty, in the rain drenched street. He is the organizer for the Free Fringe. An overwhelming awesome task he seems to juggle like 3 apples. Hopefully, he will make it to the show since he has been so supportive of our efforts here

On August 11, our first reviewer that I was aware of ( although I have noticed at least 3 audience members taking copious notes during various performances)  came to the show. She said she is from Three Weeks, and told me that although she took notes, there is a chance it may not appear in print. We shall keep our eyes peeled. Or friends will. Those of us who remain behind in Edinburgh think "web surfing" is something one does in a long forgotten attic.

We had four members in to see the show from the cast of Reality Chokes, at thReality Chokes edinburgh fringe festivale New Town Theatre, Freemason Hall. We returned the favor the same night. It is a funny show - full of punk rock band music. ..lol...New music to me since I am a die hard Sinatra fan but my manager Chris is a real "head banger" so I am told. But the cast made me laugh and I  really enjoyed the show.

One of the cast members, David Kennedy was in the original Michael Caine Italian Job with me. I count myself lucky to catch up on things with people I have not seen for so long. Especially to remember such an amazing time in Italy,  full of good food, camaraderie. great actors and Minis.

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August 13,2009

We had our opening afternoon on Saturday, August 8. It went well, but after the interval I realized that I needed to trim it a bit to come in earlier and avoid over running our show. A young gentleman in the audience took notes and was gracious and very friendly afterwards. He even offered to take some fliers and pass them out. THANK YOU to  our un-named supporter.

Our venue is The Outhouse, an attractive modern bar/lounge with an outdoor garden.  It is a bit out of the way and a little difficult to find since it is off the main drag. The performance area is in a loft, pretty with good lighting. ..the staff is charming and helpful, as is the manager assigned to our venue,....lol...but I perform at noon...and as with most of Edinburgh , there are the sounds of construction and the usual pub sounds of barrels of beer being delivered midday. The ringing mingling with the pathos and sometimes tragedy and humor of both Shakespeare and Gielgud. But Hey ! That's what this city is all about...It's THE FRINGE !!

As promised, the audience was very very small, but as on every day with each performance , the audience numbers are growing and they have been very appreciative, enthusiastic and complimentary. We were told it is usual , until word of mouth gets going or one gets reviewed, that audiences are small. But what audience we have had, were very good  and a pleasure to perform for.

On Sunday, after the show, my Producer Maire Martello, John Martello and Chris, my manager headed headed to a 'Meet the Media', an event for getting out to meet contacts in the media and promote the show. What a brave and good humored lot the Media were. There were throngs of us, crowded around in a hot space, all eager to sell our wares. So different from when I was here 50 years
Up until now, the weather has been hot and humid, but still nice . Of course, when we had our photo shoot with Shakespeare at the Fringe  Shakespeare at the Fringe,  it was the day when the rains came...The streets are torn up , the town is buzzing with excitement and activity and young people....hmmmnn....I guess at my age they all seem like young people! 

We are doing a lot of walking and flyering and Maire and Chris have gone along the streets  and posted posters , (we have over 5000 fliers and 100 posters) while John and I rented one of the Fringe Central rooms and went over the show. John directed me, and helped me with my lines and gave me pointers which were are much appreciated. They have headed off to London now, then back to New York. They shall be missed as they are good company and good fun!

Now I have to settle in and try to get out and sell this show to unseen audiences, it is not something I do easily. As with many actors we are a reticent lot. Not shy, but not out there either. I very seldom watch my work, it is too difficult to see myself. So to sell myself is even more difficult. But you will find me on the streets of Edinburgh. I love meeting the people, having a laugh and a chat, but hate to say, please stop by and see me I feel pushy doing that and it makes me uncomfortable and I worry that it makes them uncomfortable as well.

But if any of you are out there.... DO STOP BY>>>IT IS A GREAT SHOW ! THE LETTERS FROM SIR JOHN GIELGUD SEND SHIVERS ON YOUR SPINE.  WHAT A GREAT MAN .  Aug 8-30, 2009- 12:15PM -The Outhouse, 12a Broughton Street Lane, Edinburgh. 2 hours- Free No ticket...Can't beat that with a pint of beer can ya?

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August 5, 2009

I checked into the flat today, very nice. It's close to my venue, but a bit far from some of the other venues and Market Street. We also had to go and check in with Fringe Central, and drop off some hard copy Publicity Releases.

I was due to perform for the Press Launch at the Counting House at 9:00pm, but had not been given an arrival/start time. Edinburgh is difficult enough to get around during festival time but now Edinburgh  is torn up with road works. Princess Street is impassable and a mess for the next couple of years as they build a new tram line.

We had a very difficult time reaching the Counting House where I was to perform. The construction made us later than being there at the half when the Press Launch Party itself would start.  But we knew there was still time to get in before we had to do the show.

I don't know what the policy was, or if the place had reached maximum occupancy but we were barred at the door from going into the theatre/party launch.

My producer told them I was scheduled to perform. But to no avail. So the Martellos ( who had flown over from NYC for the launch party) and my manager and I availed ourselves of a very nice pub attached to the Counting House.

 And although the company and the ambiance of our place we had chosen to have a drink was very pleasant, needless to say, ... we were all  very very disappointed.

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August 4, 2009

I drove up to Edinburgh from London the day before yesterday with my manager, Chris Skaife . We stopped over at Harrogate to visit another Chris and wound up at a B&B where a 1950 Morris Commercial Van was parked. I had the privilege of meeting it's owners, a couple from Wakefield, and discovered they had been at a rally already after owning it for less than a week.

The next day we headed off to the lovely seaside town of St. Apps Bay  ( about 45 miles from Edinburgh) overnight. Our palettes were treated to a delicate aromatic 'Best Beer" which was indeed very likeable.

Today  picked up my Producer Maire Martello and John Martello. John  , aside from being an actor and Executive Director of The Players, a theatrical club in NYC, is assisting me by giving me some direction with my show Tribute here  in Edinburgh.

They had just arrived from NYC. Still suffering from jet lag I hustled everyone off to LeithFM radio station for an interview that was scheduled to go at 10:00pm.

I had a lovely chat with Annabelle Lee Cooper and her co host John about my show that I will be doing in Edinburgh for the festival. Until asked at the radio interview, I had almost forgotten where the seeds were sown for getting a Gielgud show together.

A good mate, Bob Pugh, who I had worked with  in Danger UXB, was also in Master and Commander, Far Side of the World  - which we filmed together in Mexico. He got together a  spoof about Sherlock Holmes ( I played Mrs. Hudson) and we went to a little studio in San Diego, California and recorded it. He encouraged me to do my "Gielgud voice"..I did, and I was further nudged in the direction of getting a show together about Gielgud. So it has been stewing for awhile.

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July 28,2009-

I finally heard from my ‘Tribute’ Producer, Maire Martello who is in NYC . We got some really good news. She has been working tirelessly for this production., and finally got the thumbs up from the lawyer and the trustees of the Sir John Gielgud Estate with permission to use Gielgud’s letters.

We were cutting it  pretty close. But good for Maire, she did it.
Maire Martello Producer "a Tribute-Gielgud's Ages of Man"
I have totally redirected Tribute Gielgud’s Ages of Man. When I did it off Broadway it was only in the footprint of the show that Gielgud had put together for the 1957 Edinburgh festival Ages of Man.

Having such interest from others regarding the show, I decided to make it a Tribute, and now includes the thoughts, reflections and letters from Gielgud as he too is aging. It is very moving to read some of his thoughts about life and colleagues. One recognizes what a truly eloquent man he was.

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July 18,2009-

Spending a lot of time going into Central London to the Printers to make arrangements for the Program we will be passing out at the Edinburgh Festival during the performances.

Also, after sending out over 367 email press releases I now have to get the Press Packet and photos all printed out should  the press or anyone be  interested in further information about the show.

I say that I sent out that many emails. The fact is I do not even know how to turn on a computer. And when it is on, I look at the small screen and just cannot focus on all those small words that seem to jump all over the screen. I have friends who are in the business of publicity and have been journalists, and they help take over these duties. I guess my daughters are right when they refer to me as a dinosaur. They still tease me about calling a radio a wireless and preferring to use the old fashioned clackity clack lawn mower instead of the ones with noisy gasoline engines. But their mother still calls the fridge the ice box, so I can't be that bad!

I am spending the days until I leave with the countless last minute details that one forgets about when they are preparing to go away for a month.

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July 14, 2009-

Logo Free Fringe FestivalSherri, my Publicity and Marketing Manager, just called from the States and let me know that Alex Petty from the Laughing Horse Free Fringe in Edinburgh just asked me to do a few minutes of my show during the Fringe Press Launch party on August 5,2009 in Edinburgh. I am honored.

Now to find something that will include both the words of two great masters, Shakespeare and John Gielgud .and get it all in in 8 minutes.

I have great respect for Alex who seems to be doing all the Free Fringe from the back of a charging horse and with only a string of enthusiastic volunteers. He is tireless, and organized. How does that happen?When I first went to Edinburgh Fringe as a performer in the '60s I was impressed that there was such an enormous 'stage' for actors in Edinburgh. It was an amazing place for all the arts. No matter if you painted with a paint brush, or with your poetry, music, pantomime, comedy or drama, it was there for the taking .

Things changed over the decades. That sense of freedom and opportunity seemed to narrow. Things got more expensive and difficult to afford. I am delighted to work with Alex who seems to be providing that opportunity again for artists with his Free Fringe.
 

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July 12, 2009-

I had the privilege of attending The Royal Theatrical Fund Summer Fair at St Paul's in Covent Garden London, England.Royal Theatrical Fund Summer Fair Poster 2009

This famous church was once called a “splendid barn” by Ignacio Jones, its famous architect . It is known as the ‘Actor‘s Church‘ because of its close association with the theatrical community, and is where countless actors attend and are memorialized.

I had just returned to England two days earlier before from the United States, returning early to participate in this joint fund raising between Royal Theatrical Fund and the Grand Order of the Water Rat whose charitable efforts help actors and others in the arts who have fallen on hard times These two organizations reach out and give them assistance when they are sick, need accommodation or might even have fallen into debt.

This year’s summer fair was an autograph signing. People paid a small fee and came with their autograph books and actors who were there signed the books and posed for photographs..

At my table was Sir Donald Sinden ,who is the president of RTF . We all had a laugh and a chat with the visitors as they passed from celebrity to celebrity getting autographs. King Rat Graham Cole. was also there, as well as June Whitfield, John Nettles, Samantha Bond, Paul Chapman, Warren Mitchell, Gwen Taylor, Roy Hudd , and Gordon Kayne and many others.There was a good 18 piece band called Schola who added to the festive mood and ambience,. The always cheery Pearly Kings and Queens were there, ...so well known for giving us smiles in the streets and clubs and pubs from where I grew up in East London. There also was a raffle, I always buy tickets…I never win… and there were little stands with theatrical memorabilia.

It was a good time, for a great cause in a beautiful place.

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July 9, 2009

Grandsons Gavin & Luis and Daughters Curzon & Gable
George Innes and grandsons Luis and Gavin  George Innes' daughters, Gable and Curzon

I have just returned to London after visiting my daughters, grandchildren and friends for a few months. While I was there I had the good fortune to work on a production of 'The Lodger", by Maire Martello in NYC, which we did off Broadway. 
                
While I was there. I developed my new show 'a Tribute- Gielgud's Ages of Man', which follows Shakespeare's works as he highlights the journey from youth to old age. I am taking it to the Edinburgh Free Festival  August 8-30th,2009. Checkout this website for details.

maire Martello is my co producer both in the United States and International. It is with Maire's help that we revamped the production to include a Tribute to two Great Masters, Shakespeare and Sir John Gielgud.

IT IS WITH GRATITUDE THAT I ACKNOWLEDGE BOTH MAIRE AND JOHN, WHO WHILE WORKING ON "THE LODGER" AND DEVELOPING THIS SHOW , HAVE BECOME GREAT FRIENDS AND SUPPORTERS. I HAVE SO MANY PEOPLE TO THANK BOTH AT THE NYC PLAYER'S , AND THE FILM SCHOOL STUDENT WHO IS PUTTING TOGETHER A VIDEO OF THE SHOW.

  John Martello as Mr. Sleuth in "The Lodger"
'The Lodger' :  left to right : Kristin Lowman ,George Innes, John Martello

I will detail more, including the names of all who have helped, but I am sadly remiss in gettito those who actually know how to get it in to this website. But as usual, I was in a rush to get everything together before I flew back to London.ng this information 

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George Innes with Tim Goins , sons and mechanics at Morristown Firestorn Tire & PerformanceThe last few weeks in May & June, 2009

A SPECIAL THANK YOU TO THE GANG IN MORRISTOWN, TN

They got my little Datsun 280ZX back on the road when I was stranded there on my way back to Texas from NYC. They have a shop in Morristown called Morristown Tire & Auto- Performance. Tim Goins is the head guy and his two sons TJ & Jason work with him, as well as a great bunch of guys.

Having been referred at first to The Shady Tree Garage by 3 young blokes in the parking lot of the  neighborhood Wal-Mart  I realized I was being treated to the local humor when laughing they said "It's over there!"..and pointed a few old guys huddled around their cars, bonnets up under a huge shady oak. I eventually limped into Tim Goin's shop with my ailing car, which was stopping and starting all the way down the turnpike. He had a look at my Datsun, and  realized we were there for awhile.

With great Southern hospitality they found my daughter, her Boston Terrier and I a hotel ,and drove us there. They thoroughly went over the car ordering part after part, trying to diagnose the problem. They brought in other mechanics. But they only charged me for what I actually needed. AMAZING! Tim even called my specialty mechanic in California who always worked on my car. This saga was going on for a better part of a week. The son drove us to another hotel in Knoxville, and at one point even loaned me one of their cars until I got the OK to rent one from AAA

My daughter was scheduled to remove her belongings from storage, and they assisted me in hiring a moving van and drove me to Newport ,Tennessee to pick up the van so I could go to another state and collect her things. They had discovered the mechanic that worked on the car in New York had drilled too far into the carburetor. While I had been in the process of helping my daughter move from one state to another, they ordered the part, had the car running like a top, and were waiting to pick me up in Newport to bring me back to Morristown, Three other garages, and 2 AAA mechanics looked over my car and could never diagnose the problem, Not only did they do a terrific job, but they were kind, sympathetic and inordinately helpful.

They were nothing less than "heroic" and boosts your faith that there are still plenty of good guys out there. .I was stranded, and there are not that many shops in the middle of rural Tennessee with spare old Datsun parts. 

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