Your soapbox correspondent is in Paris and London at the moment, sampling the culture in between numerous glasses of wine. Monday in London is a hard night to find anything theatrical but it was exciting to go to Trafalgar Studios in Whitehall to see a play featuring Stockard Channing, famous as Rizzo in the film of Grease(though for me she will always be the feisty wife of Jed Bartlet in The West Wing– a series by the way that looks in the age of Trump like some Disney version of the White House).

Guy Noble Guy Noble

The play was called Apologiaand she played a prickly matriarch with two grown sons in a cast that also featured Laura Carmichael, who was Edith Crawley in Downton Abbey. So much promise, yet within 10 minutes I had that sinking feeling the play wasn’t up to much – lumpy, obvious dialogue and cardboard characters. It was one of those experiences where you go home afterwards and dramaturgically dissect all the non sequiturs and missed opportunities for complexity.

In Paris, the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées played host to the Orchestre National de France and soloist Evgeny...

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