przed: (li'l me)
We're back from England!

A brief wrap-up of the last couple of days...

The Good

Finally meeting [ profile] bluespirit_star and [ profile] xanthefic properly. Spent a lovely day with [ profile] bluespirit_star, including the Eccentric London walk and a nice sit-down in the covered court at the British Museum, then had a very nice meal in Covent Garden with her and [ profile] xanthefic.

Seeing the London production of The Producers. (I kept thinking how much better Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick would have been, but then Conleth Hill, who we saw last year in Democracy, stole the show and made it all too much fun.)

The Bad:

Food poisoning. (Note to self: Never have prawn salad sandwiches from Pret á Manger again.) I've never had aches and fever from food poisoning before, and I'm still recovering four days later.

The Cosmonaut's Last Message to the Woman He Once Loved in the Former Soviet Union at the Donmar Warehouse. Really, the title should have been warning enough, but it starred one of my fave stage actors, Michael Pennington. Alas, good actors cannot save a crap play. To add insult to injury, the next show at the Donmar sounds totally cool (This Is How It Goes by Neil LaBute, starring Ben Chaplin and Idris Elba). Oh, for a time machine. Or another ticket to London.

It was a lovely time, but I'm glad to be home.

And I'll be off to MediaWest in a week and a half...
przed: (li'l me)
Saw two plays yesterday: Someone Who'll Watch Over Me and Theatre of Blood. Both were quite fab and possibly the best things I've seen this trip.

Someone is about three men who are being held hostage in Beirut. There's an American (played by Jonny Lee Miller with an entirely credible American accent), an Irishman (Aiden Gillen) and an Englishman (David Threllfall). The entirely play takes place in the one room where the men have been confined for months, as they try to overcome both their boredom and their fear. It could have gone wrong in so many ways, but it's quite amazing. The script is really solid and the acting was amazing. I was beginning to wonder if Gillen was a one trick pony, since apart from QAF I haven't seen him in anything he's been particularly good in, but he was fabulous as Edward, as piss-taking Irishman. Miller had the less fully realized role of Adam, but was good as well. The really plum part, however, was Threllfall's Michael. It's probably the most interesting role of the play--Michael has to go from a meek university lecturer to a man who shows hidden strengths--and Threllfall does an awesome job with it.

Theatre of Blood, on the other hand, is sublimely ridiculous. It's based on a '70s B film starring Vincent Price. Jim Broadbent played the Price role of Edward Lionheart, a hammy actor who decides to kill the critics who denied him a drama award the previous year. He locks the lot of them up in a crumbling Victorian theatre and proceeds to knock them off in appropriately Shakespearean ways. As befits the title, there's one heck of a lot of blood, which only makes it all the more funny. Not for everyone, but I thought it was brilliant.

And now I'm off to meet [ profile] bluespirit_star. Hoorah.
przed: (li'l me)
Yesterday was a lovely day spent with [ profile] llinos and [ profile] marigoldg in Oxford. We toured various Tolkien related sites, had lunch at the Eagle and Child pub (a.k.a. the Bird and Baby) where Tolkien and the other Inklings used to meet, and generally had a lovely time. If you want to see photographic evidence, check out [ profile] llinos's journal at [ profile] knittedmerry took me on a bit of an adventure.

In theatre news, last night I saw Julius Caesar, with Simon Russell Beale as Cassius, Anton Lesser as Brutus, John Shrapnel as Julius Caesar and Ralph Fiennes as Mark Antony. The production had a very modern setting, with the Senators dressed like City business men and the mob appearing as London street people, and the direction was stunning. The acting was uniformly good too. (Don't worry, [ profile] faramir_boromir, I'll give you the details later.)

Tuesday night we saw Henry IV, Part 2, and astoundingly I think it might have been more successful that Part 1. Part 2 is not one of my favourites and large stretches of it usually come across as dead boring, IMO. In this production, though, they actually managed to make the Justice Shallow stuff genuinely funny, which I though impossible. Didn't hurt that a) John Wood was playing Shallow and b) they made a lot of judicious cuts to those scenes. David Bradley, as the king as stood out this time. He was a bit weak as Henry IV in Part 1, but as the dying king his frailty was perfect. Alas, Matthew Macfadyen while good, will not be giving Antony Sher a run for his money any time soon. He was very good in the confrontation with his father, but he got a bit shouty in his final scene with Falstaff. A more modulated take on that scene would be more effective. Well, I think so, anyway.

Today is a major theatre day: Someone Who'll Watch Over Me, with Aiden Gillen and Jonny Lee Miller this afternoon; Theatre of Blood with Jim Broadbent tonight.

And tomorrow I get to hang out with [ profile] bluespirit_star!

Ah, London

May. 10th, 2005 09:56 am
przed: (li'l me)
It's our third day in London, and I'm enjoying myself immensely, even if we are trying to cram too much into each day.

We saw Henry IV, Part 1 last night, and while it was good, it was by no means the best production of the play I've ever seen. Both Matthew Macfadyen and Michael Gambon took a while to warm up into their parts. That said, there were some stunningly good moments,like Hal and Falstaff taking turns at pretending to be the king, and Hal's confrontation with his father, and the fight choreography was outstanding. (Leave it to me to notice the swordplay.)

So far we've been to Greenwich, done a Jack the Ripper walk, done a bus tour of the city, hit the Carravaggio exhibit at the National Gallery (okay, that last one was just me, and it was stunning). Today is Westminster Abbey and, probably, Covent Garden before we pop off to the National for Henry IV, Part 2.

Tomorrow, I get to see [ profile] llinos!
przed: (li'l me)
I can't believe we leave for London on Friday. I have too much to do before then (including making more headway on my new vid for MediaWest, and not forgetting the laundry), but I'm so looking forward to the trip. I get to hook up with [ profile] bluespirit_star, as well as a friend from my university days who has taken up residence in the U.K.

But, as always, my main reason for going over is the theatre.

What I'll be seeing... )

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