the caravan by Liam O’Driscoll, Mimi Poskitt, Ben Freedman, Royal Court, 28 February 2009

We absolutely loved this unusual and superb production.

We weren’t in the theatre downstairs, we weren’t in the theatre upstairs. Janie and I were in a caravan with six other audience members and the cast.

It was about the floods that were/are affecting so many UK citizens.

Read about it on the Royal Court site here.

Official London Theatre explained it well, with a super picture, here...

…and here.

Verbatim theatre. When it works it really works.

the caravan was only 35-40 minutes long, but this short piece has lingered long in our memories. Not much bowls us over these days, but this production really did.

Greenwash by David Lewis, Orange Tree Theatre, 21 February 2009

We rather liked this one, although more form the point of view of it being a well acted interesting piece on an interesting subject than it being great drama or great comedy.

You can read all about it on the Orange Tree site – here.

Janie and I describe silly or farcical comedies as being “a bit Vincent Golightly” (don’t ask, long/fictional story) and this was a bit Vincent for sure. But we enjoyed our evening in the theatre and topped it off with some Spanish food at Don Fernando, as is our Richmond habit most times.






The Stone by Marius von Mayenburg, Royal Court Theatre, 14 February 2009

This was a short play with a good cast and minimal set. We wanted to like it more than we did like it.

Set in Dresden, it is about a house that changed hands while retaining secrets across 60 years of political strife.

Janie usually hates plays that jump backwards and forwards in time, as this one did.

The play and production is well described in The Stage – here.

…you get the point.

Not sure what we ate afterwards – in all the temporal confusion it’s a miracle that we succeeded in getting food and getting home in that order.


England People Very Nice by Richard Bean, Olivier Theatre, 7 February 2009

Janie and I really liked this play/production, well summarised on the Official London Theatre site – click here. It is basically about migration to/through London from the late 16th century until today.

It’s a slightly show-bizzy play, with some of the humour being a little obvious, plus some singing and dancing thrown in. Which doesn’t sound like our sort of play. Yet, there was an interesting enough narrative line and some fabulous performances to keep us interested throughout.

We saw a preview, so were unaware, when we discussed the play/production afterwards, how much it would divide the critics.

Quite a mixture of opinions. Mark Espiner’s analysis of the reviews from the Guardian might help – click here.

A very memorable show for me, which is an element of praise indeed. Olivia Coleman and Michelle Terry were standout performances among many good ones.

I wonder how the piece would come across to me now, in our Brexity times (writing in April 2017) – would my sense of humour still be in tune with it, or should I say would the play’s sense of humour now be in tune with mine?

Xuefei Yang, Wigmore Hall, 6 February 2009

Even by our enthusiastic standards, three visits to the Wigmore Hall within three weeks is going some.

Xuefei Yang is a superb guitarist, though and this was a very interesting programme:

A real mixture of stuff.

We really liked all of it. And we really liked Xuefei Yang too.

This concert was a very relaxing end to (by the looks of it) a pretty full-on working week.

Fretwork & Clare Wilkinson, Wigmore Hall, 1 February 2009

Just a couple of weekends after our previous visit, another early music outing to the Wigmore Hall.

Rather a different feel, this one, as the conceit of the concert was to mix early music with some contemporary compositions influenced by those earlier periods.

Central to the concert was Purcell, whose 350th birthday was that year and who therefore featured a lot in 2009 concert programmes.

Here is the full listing for this 1 February gig:

In truth, Janie and I got a lot more out of the early music than the contemporary stuff, although I always enjoy Arvo Pärt more than I expect and the Shostakovich was interesting too.

But Purcell was the star of the show, as was Clare Wilkinson, who specialises in singing this Renaissance and Baroque stuff; often with Fretwork.

Lovely stuff, it was, on a Sunday night.