|The Star that Played with Laughing Sam's Dice|
|a stageplay by Robert Calvert; 1976 / re-staged in 1985 / 1990|
Review by Chris Welch / 1976
knew the real Jimi Hendrix?
Many of those closest to him admitted after his death that they never really probed beneath the quiet, easy going, witty guy, prone to doubts and confusion but who happened to be one of the most important figures of the Sixties rock explosion.
This is the theme of 'The Star that played with Laughing Sam's Dice', written by Robert Calvert and presented at Hampstead`s Pentameters theatre last week, which recreates one particular traumatic event early in Hendrix's life.
He had enlisted in the US Army and joined the 101st Airborne Division.
He successfully completed 25 parachute jumps and then, on the 26th, he refused to jump - or so it is surmised.
The play reconstructs an imaginary conversation between Hendrix (Anthony Phillips) and Sgt. McNulty (Bernard Taylor).
dialogue is taut, and occasionally amusing, as the aggressive sergeant
reveals as much abouth himself as Hendrix.
Oddly enough, the sergeant emerges as an equally sympathetic character, and more of his hopes, and frustrations emerge than one can detect in Hendrix's reverie. Apart from that the play cleverly brings out the contrast in life-styles of a white American army sergeant and a black embryo rock and roller.
two actor's sustained the dialogue with great force and the spare use
of props and sound effects under David Casey's directions helped convert
the performance space into the interior of a transport place circling
over the dropping area.
The play is Calvert's first and he hopes to put it before a wider audience and add further sections, amplifying other important turning points in Hendrix's road from obscurity to fame.
of the second staging of
Star that Played with Laughing Sam's Dice
- 1985, by Neil Perry - SOUNDS 10/85:
James Marshall Hendrix is convincingly played by Freddie Sherrard-Brooks
and Bernard Taylor is superbly bull-headed as Sergeant McNulty, confronted
by a man who somehow just knew he would soon be laying down his gun and
blowing everyone away with his guitar instead.
Calvert originally wrote the play in 1976, but attempts at production were foiled by the deaths of the producer and the set production designer, the latter being Barney Bubbles, famed for this Stiff record sleeves.
A fact that worried Calvert, a superstitious man, who treats Hendrix's name with uneasy reverence. He certainly wasn't overjoyed when it was pointed out that the opening night of the play was the anniversary of Hendrix's burial 15 years ago. Above all, Robert Calvert's intriguing story takes you closer to a man who no-one has ever really understood.
script of the play seems to have been disappeared...
if there is anyone out there who still has a copy, DO LET ME KNOW...
back to Calvert's WORKS: Part III
a short prose-text by Calvert; envisioning Hendrix and Noël Coward in heaven
Calvert's ode to the man who 'truly sang the body electric' - (heavy) flash animation