Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Dinner with Saddam (Press Night)

Dinner with Saddam at the Menier Chocolate Factory London
What a treat it was to see such a great play by the mighty Anthony Horowitz, and then meet him and all the cast afterwards. An added bonus was to have even more celebs to meet at the after party! And I got a photo with all of them (except Ian Hislop and Meera Syal) and every member of the cast.

I found Dinner with Saddam extremely funny and thought provoking. I loved it! It makes sharp comments about family life and politics, occasionally venturing into farce, laced with some very witty lines. It's also pretty tense at times! It has a very clever story line and each character is wonderful - what a great cast they've assembled for this show! 

Go and see it! I guarantee you an excellent night out. 

I see the play has got itself a well-deserved 5-star review on What's On Stage!

See also: Review: Dinner With Saddam **** - Jewish News

Click here for more photos from the Press Night.

With Anthony Horowitz and Amanda Redman
Sanjeev Bhaskar with Steven Berkoff being photographed by Rex
Pretty much the whole cast & crew being photographed by Rex
With Rebecca Grant (Rana Alawai) and Sanjeev Bhaskar (Ahmed Alawai)
With Steven Berkoff (Saddam Hussein)
With Nathan Amzi (Jammal)
with Shobu Kapoor (Samira Alawai)
With Ilan Goodman (Sayid Al-Madini/Hasif Assultani/Colonel Farouk)
With Ryan Early (look him up yourself on IMDb!)

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

That 'flesh wound' line in MI5 is NOT a Python reference, but Chris McQuarrie IS a Python Fan!

Isn't it wonderful the way Twitter allows you to reach out to celebs, those in the public eye or others who ordinarily would be completely unreachable? It's even more wonderful that, in some cases, you even get a reply!

Here's a case in point: I couldn't help noticing that in Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation (aka MI5), there's the line "It's only a flesh would." It's in the scene just after the high drama in the opera house.

I decided to find out whether this was a Monty Python and the Holy Grail (Black Knight) reference, so I asked the film's director, Christopher McQuarrie, on Twitter, and he replied!

Christopher McQuarrie's a Python fan... #Respect!

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

O2 Shepherds Bush London: Woody Woodmansey's Holy Holy & Tony Visconti 30 June 2015

I'm a big Bowie fan, particularly of the album Aladdin Sane. On one holiday as a teenager back in the 70s, I only had one one cassette to listen to while sunbathing; it was Aladdin Sane. I listened to it again and again and quickly began to realise it was really special! I loved every track (which I can't say about many albums) and still do today with a passion. It will always be one of my all-time favourite albums.

Unfortunately I never saw Bowie live, but last night's gig pretty close. Woody Woodmansey's Holy Holy band were on fire! I got to see two tracks from Aladdin Sane performed live for the first time (Time and Watch That Man) and loads of other big Bowie favourites: Man Who Sold The World, Life on Mars, Changes, Ziggy Stardust and the concert ended with the huge sound of Suffragette City.

After the gig, the whole band (almost) signed albums and posters, posed for photos and chatted with fans for ages!

The warmth and affection the audience had for the band, and especially for Woody, was palpable. It was also very moving to see tributes paid to the two deceased members Spiders from Mars, Mick Ronson (two members of his family were in the band!) and Trevor Bolder.

An added bonus to the evening was to see both Marc Almond and Steve Norman of Spandau Ballet on stage singing several numbers! It was a shame David couldn't be there too, but I have to say Glenn Gregory (of Heaven 17) did a really excellent job as his replacement ;-)

I learned last night that David & the Spiders used to play a live medley of songs that included Oh! You Pretty Things and All The Young Dudes that David wrote and gave to Ian Hunter (Mott the Hoople). Pleasantly surprised to see that, because I saw Ian Hunter live recently and my mate Steve Holley is his drummer. Here's my clip of All The Young Dudes last night:


The sound quality was superb, so #respect to the sound guy! And what a treat to see and hear so many amazing and highly talented musicians on stage.  I'd also like to say #respect in particular to Paul Cuddeford, Berenice Scott and James Stevenson - and of course to Woody.

I wish the band all the very best for their forthcoming tour of Japan.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Yom HaShoah UK 2015

On Sunday 19th April, I was honored to attend Yom Hashoah UK, a celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the end of the Holocaust, at the Barnet Coptnall Stadium, London.

The event was attended by 5000 people making it the UKs largest ever Holocaust Commemoration. Also in attendance were 150 survivors and refugees.

I attended the event to represent my father, Major Leonard Berney, who recently wrote his memoirs of his experience as one of the liberators of Bergen-Belsen.

One of the attendees was Anita Lasker-Wallfisch who was a survivor of Belsen and was also interviewed, like my father Leonard Berney, for the film 'Night Will Fall'.

London Mayor Boris Johnson filmed a speech especially for the event

Local Jewish schoolchildren ended the event singing a specially written song for the occasion

Eva Behar - Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen Survivor - ended the event with a moving speech:
"If people, today, would just remember to respect each other, whatever creed, colour or nationality or whatever they are, instead of this hate that goes on... the world would be such a better place, because hate is a terrible thing."

For more information please visit:


You can buy Liberating Belsen Concentration Camp by (former) Lt-Colonel Leonard Berney R.A. T.D. from Amazon UK

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Like A Storm's first UK gig at the start of their European Tour

Like A Storm merchandise
* click on the images to enlarge them *

Sunday 15th March 2015 - Electric Ballroom, Camden, London:
It was so good to meet these guys - the biggest New Zealand rock band ever! And it was especially wonderful to see my nephew Zach Wood again. He's Like A Storm's drummer! He lives in LA so we don't get to see each other very often. It was the first time I've seen him perform and it was such a joy - I'm a very proud uncle! And it was such an amazing experience to see him signing autographs after the show! He's on his way to becoming a big rock star!

I really enjoyed Like A Storm's set, especially Love The Way You Hate Me. They are an exciting new band with lots of promise, clearly on their way to the big time!

The sound check
Harry and Zach... cousins

Harry being a model
Steve Wood, Chris Brooks, Harry Wood
Gemma's backstage pass on her er.... T-shirt
The audience is waiting to be let in
The billing (Like A Storm are opening for Black Veil Brides)
Like A Storm in concert
The crowd are loving it!

Zach with Riitta
Zach signing autographs
Zach being admired by the fans
Zach & Harry - they hadn't seen each other in years
Zach signing more autographs
Zach being adored by more fans
This guy asked for his arm to be signed by the band!
Like A Storm with friends and family