Janie and I Go On Our First Proper Date, The Street Of Crocodiles, Cottesloe Theatre, 29 August 1992

This is the third and final part of my 25th anniversary Ogblog trilogy on “how Janie and I got it together”. In case you missed the first two parts and are interested in reading them, here are links to the first two episodes:

So, the ossobuco supper gave me the perfect opportunity to phone Janie to thank her for her hospitality and ask her out.

As luck would have it, I was sitting on a pair of hot tickets, The Street Of Crocodiles at the Cottesloe Theatre. It was my habit back then to book up quite a few such productions a long way in advance, with Bobbie Scully in mind for first dips, but with an unwritten agreement with Bobbie that she couldn’t commit that far in advance and that I might need to find someone else to join me…

…anyway, I had these tickets for 29 August and they seemed an ideal way to reciprocate.

Janie seemed keen on the idea, so the date was set.

I also offered to cook Janie a pre-theatre meal, after first checking that she liked Chinese food.

I can’t remember exactly which dishes I went for, but I’ll guess I plugged for bankable favourites that were reasonably easy to prepare and which needed relatively little clearing up afterwards:

  • cha chieng lettuce wrap – probably using veal mince or a mix of veal and pork mince;
  • chicken and cashew nuts with yellow bean sauce;
  • I thought the second main dish was steak slices with onions, mushrooms and black bean sauce, but Janie reckons the second dish was prawns with ginger and spring onions and now I think she is right;
  • pak choi with oyster sauce;
  • steamed basmati rice.

No TripAdvisor review for the meal, but on reminding Janie about it just now, she has described it as “amazing”, so there you go.

But far more amazing than my meal was The Street Of Crocodiles. It really was a stunningly good show.

The play is based on the stories of Bruno Schulz, which (from what we can gather) were weird enough when written, but when given the Complicite treatment, they become a sensory overload of words, music and movement.

Here is a link to Complicite’s page on their production.

I can’t find online reviews from 1992, but here is Ian Shuttleworth’s review from the 1999 London revival, in which he cross-references the 1992 production.

An Almost Unbelievably Good Show – This Is The 1992 Programme Cover

This 2005 Guardian profile on Simon McBurney also references Michael Billington’s thoughts on the 1992 production, which were not entirely complimentary, as it happens…Billi-o, we thought you were our friend?

This Curtain Up review from the production’s run at the Lincoln Centre in 1998 is very explanatory and also suitably gushing.

Anyway, back to me and Janie.

Janie had driven to my place and insisted on also driving to the National Theatre – the latter habit being one she rarely deviates from 25 years later.

The evening seemed to have gone splendidly well. Janie was very complimentary about my cooking and seemed very taken with the show.

When we got back to my place, I asked Janie if she wanted to come back upstairs to my flat.

She said no.

I asked her if she was absolutely sure.

Janie said that she was absolutely sure and drove off.

So that was that – although on this occasion I sensed that “no” meant “not this time” and that there would be plenty of other times.

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