Friday, 12 December 2008

Sweeping out the tumbleweed

Well, that was a scarily busy few weeks. In the space of one week I moved from the possibility of no work to having more jobs than I know what to do with. When I said yes to all of them, I forgot to calculate in the need to sleep.

I have managed to get to the theatre a few times regardless of all the chaos though...

I saw a couple of the Norman Conquests at the Old Vic, with a wonderful cast bringing what could have been a fairly dated piece right up to date. Stephen Mangan sported a scary beard straight out of Roald Dahl's The Twits for the first half of the run, but returned with a shorn and therefore more expressive face for the rest. I realise that Tom Courtenay sported a beard in his original version of the role, but I didn't get why that mattered in this case - Stephen Mangan was more than capable of blasting any previous actor out of the role, however much of a national treasure they might be. Jessica Hynes, as the put upon sister Annie, balanced comedy and tragedy perfectly - I want to see her on stage more often.

Gethsemane was another great night out, this time at the National. It had a slightly predictable (and perhaps a bit old fashioned) plot, with some caricatures, but Tamsin Greig and Jessica Raine* were worth the price of the ticket twice over as the warring mother and daughter caught up in a battle of principles and politics.

I also finally got around to see War Horse, and I can see why it was such a sell-out. I only managed to get my ticket a day or two before, even though my sons had got theirs on some preferential deal for students months beforehand. A perfect christmas treat, which got a standing ovation - I've never seen that before at a matinee performance, but it felt right.

I've also converted the rest of my household to the genius of Tim Minchin, when we saw him in Southampton in his Ready for This show. I was less impressed with Dylan Moran in Basingstoke though - he kept looking at his watch, and I must admit I felt much the same....

Well, I think I have blown out the cobwebs a bit, even if all I have done is tell you what I did in my (non) holidays.... I haven't even started to dust off my grumbles about telly over the last few weeks, but that will have to wait.

*I'm feeling smug here as it looks like I won't have to buy a hat or eat it.