Thursday, June 01, 2006

Peeps at London [3]

[Continuing the saga -- Gene having a bit of relapse, sleeping; meeting with studentes tonight at the Red Lion, an approximation of pub life in the midst of Houston, while English weather continues...]

While a number of the students went to the Globe to see Coriolanus, others went off to their half price theatre adventures (we heard there was quite an enthusiastic response to Chicago which the cast much appreciated). Sandi, Jim and I stopped off for an Indian feast before Embers at the Duke of York. While chatting over dinner, I couldn't help noticing the pub across the street, The Greenman and French Horn. I finally located the titular character up above the doorway. That was no Greenman! That was Peter Pan with a hunting horn. Well, of course, as we find out later in the program, the Duke of York was where Pan premiered all those years ago. That's London for you -- a moment in history that still lives on. In that very theatre, on that very stage, all those years ago.

And yes, Jeremy Irons was wonderful in the play -- as was Patrick Malahide, who had by far the harder part, actively listening to Irons as he harangued him over wrongs done years before. Incredible lighting -- the gentle tones of late day, early morning an night were imagintively rendered, and the actors projected without microphones, the bane of Broadway. It's that incredible magic of words, gestures and movement that makes theatre the liveliest art. Afterward we went up to the Greenman and French Horn for a drink (shortly followed by most of the ushers from the theatre). We squeezed into a window seat and invented stories for the passers by, and enjoyed the luxury of London theatre-going.

It's a terrible addiction! It had Sandi and I running desperately to the Barbican the next day (after finding the Circle line out of service--d'oh!) to see the Cheek by Jowl production of Middleton and Rowley's The Changeling. A transformed Barbican greeted us in a stunning and inventive performance of the Jacobean play using the whole of the auditorium, with wild moments of giddy humor supplanted by violent acts of murder and sex. It was great! Worth the run to the theatre -- and the one afterward! We hadn't realized the play ran so long, so we had a bit of a jog to get to the Anchor that night for the first of our group dinners prior to seeing Titus Andronicus at the Globe. Where Peyps watched London burn during the Great Fire, the Anchor has lost a bit of its charm -- perhaps it didn't help to have a rather large group of people, many of whom were late, and all due to get to the Globe on time for curtain.

Well, dinner was redeemed the next night -- but more of that later...

No comments: