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Good Godber

JOHN Godber took to the ski slopes for a chilly examination of human insecurities and personal difficulties in his play On the Piste, currently being performed in Greenwich.

Ilkley Gazette: John Godber John Godber

Audiences could regard this play as different from Godber's usual class stories such as the ever-popular Bouncers but the playwright argues skiing is now popular with ordinary people and is no longer merely the preserve of the upper classes.

Godber's own experience of a disastrous skiing holiday inspired the play. He told Leisuretime: "At the time I was very much into sport and thought I'd take to it like a duck to water. On the contrary, I had a miserable time and proved worse than my sister who is heavily asthmatic."

The writer is famed for producing down-to-earth plays with sharp observation. He gives the audience something to contemplate rather than just a few hours' entertainment. He said: "William Shakespeare summed the profession up best when he said, We hold a mirror up to nature'."

His work was a reaction against putting up with with endless plays and television shows about middle-class people discussing what he sees as irrelevant subjects.

"Daily life is worth celebrating. I come from a mining background which has influenced me enormously."

Godber has also worked with some of the finest acting talents in the world. He was full of praise for gritty Irishman Sean Bean an actor he cast in the film My Kingdom for a Horse and said: "Sean really got to grips with the role and performed it very near to the way I had hoped."

On stage, his favourite actress is Maria Freedom, who appeared in April in Paris alongside Gary Olsen.

But perhaps Godber's greatest achievement to date, according to us here at Leisuretime at least, is the hit kids' TV show, Grange Hill. Combining his work as a teacher with his role as a writer, he was able to draw ideas from real-life situations perhaps explaining the show's unbridled success.

- On the Piste, Greenwich Theatre, Crooms Hill, Greenwich, to April 20, 8pm, Sat mat 3pm, £17/£15/£13, 020 8858 7755.

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