Wednesday, 23 October 2013


It's a little after 6am, very high winds outside and the trains are all cancelled - I'm due in Brighton later for a meeting - have already indicated I may be late, or cancel.

Last night I went to see Hamlet - the National Theatre production with Rory Kinear, at my local cinema. I was intending to go anyway - but managed to get caught up in an absurd and complicated arrangement because someone I vaguely know was trying to sell their ticket on Facebook and I offered to take it off their hands. At one point there were 6 people at the foyer, all expecting a mythical ticket that hadn't been left for anyone. Mine arrived by hand at the same time the broadcast started, I should never get involved in arrangements like this - they always end in tears.

As we queued to get into the screening, a small, polished woman in her 60's struck up a conversation with me -

"did you see Othello here, wasn't it marvellous! Well, I do love Rory Kinear, that's why I'm here tonight - well - I liked it except for the last part where he kills Desdemona - that was a bit flat for me, he should have been like the traditional version - tribal robes, stripped to the waist, beautiful, black, animal!!"

She was getting a bit excited by this and making me nervous.

The audience was thinner than usual - there was a storm outside and I was nearly blown over a couple of times and soaking wet - the cinema smelled strongly of wet dog. As it was an Encore screening we only had a little bit of Esther Freud. She appeared to have flecks of baby sick on her blouse and insect bites up her arms.

The Audience were the usual 60s /70s crowd. A woman at the front on the other side arrived with a beehive, and spent the first act carefully combing it out. Behind me, an elderly lady was giving someone running commentary

"here it is dear, the 'to be or not to be' speech - I love this bit, this is my favourite part' - by which time it was over.

Listening to them all chatter away about Rory Kinear, I suspect his appeal is based on the fact that a lot of women want to mother him.

During a tense part of the first act, an old dear a few rows back opened up a bottled of pop and sprayed the audience with coke. Much muttering. All the way through I could here a woman's voice under the soundtrack that was almost certainly a taxi can office operator, and I could here explosions and shooting from the film in the cinema downstairs. Just as the first act was hotting up - we lost the signal - the guy from the cinema spent 5 mins trying to get it back - the screen showing us what he was doing, it was exactly the same as trying to tune a digital receiver, and at one point we had a bit of News 24. We lost about 5 mins. It also gave all the old dears license to wander about, get drinks, go to the loo, stumble in the dark and generally act badly - in all about 30 mins of disruption, and then the whole thing again for the interval.

The performance itself was very good indeed. Despite it being very long - I really enjoyed the modern take on the play with very little that seemed effected, although - as with almost all these re-imagined Shakespeare productions, the last act never works. I think the cast are usually exhausted by now and welcome the chance to pretend to be dead on stage - and I have a feeling that Shakespeare was mindful that the contemporary audience would be pissed by now and looking forward to a fast, funny, bloody end and a chance to empty their bladders. There is so much modern language in Hamlet - every time I pick up something I've never noticed before - I always wondered where The Quietus got it's name. Special mention to Clare Higgins - one of my favourite actresses as Hamlets mother - she was great, as were the whole cast - although, I'll be honest - I think Shakespeare is crap at the younger women's parts - either that or he just hated girls.

They are talking about the christening of the royal baby on the radio - apparently the water will be from the River Jordan, that's a bit excessive. They are banging on about it with such pomp and fawning servile, bullshit - nobody cares. Not in this house.

I've never seen an episode of 'Bake Off' - I'm very proud of that - it appears to be more important to the British Media than the economy or the situation in Syria, which has been neatly sidelined from the news. I suppose we should be grateful - we came very close to a 'proper' war out there.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hallo Grey Area unnamed blogger person. I first found you last year when searching for Eddie Pond - and it was through your blog that I found out about his death. In 2006 the society (of which I am chair, the Tiles & Architectural Ceramics Society) wrote a special magazine issue on the ceramic murals of the Armada Way, Plymouth - they were destroyed by the local authority (or buried more accurately) in 2004. When we told Eddie about this he was very sanguine but to us it seems even now to be a tragedy when some of it, at least could have been relocated.
Anyway, like your blogs on this and that!

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