Tusk Tusk by Polly Stenham, Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, 28 March 2009

We enjoyed but were a bit disappointed by this one.

We had absolutely loved That Face, Polly Stenham’s first play, so had eagerly awaited this one for two years.

Tusk Tusk was another play about a dysfunctional family with an addled mother (absentee mother this time) and several wild kids as the result.

It felt a bit like more of the same to us, which was a shame because we (perhaps unreasonably) expected more from Polly Stenham on the back of her stunningly good first play.

Still, some excellent performances from the youngsters (this must have been the first time we saw the excellent Bel Powley, for example) and the usual Royal Court quality of production, even when the play is being done upstairs.

We saw the Saturday preview before press night.

I have found some super Pete Jones Productions photos online – presumably from opening night – click here.

Famous Castrati Arias for Senesino and his Rivals, Wigmore Hall, 27 March 2009

Say what you like about Daisy, but she does like a nice bit of castrati.

So we made a second visit to the Wigmore Hall that month (a busy start there in 2009 generally in fact) to see this lovely concert, with Daniel Taylor providing the counter-tenor equivalent of castrati singing and Rachel Brown providing beautiful flute and recorder performances.

I found an excellent review by Robert Hugill – click here – which says plenty, including even an account of the encore.

Here’s what we saw:

Dimetos by Athol Fugard, Donmar Warehouse, 21 March 2009

I’m a bit of a fan of Athol Fugard, but this one didn’t quite hit the spot the way many of his plays have done for me in the past. Daisy felt the same way.

It is a revival from 1975 – a selling point to me as I thought Fugard was writing brilliant stuff during that period.

A great line up too, with Jonathan Pryce in the lead role and Douglas Hodge having a go at directing…

…it just didn’t work for us.

As for the critics:

A Cricket Bat At Rumtek Monastery, King Cricket Piece, Published 17 March 2009

This was the second piece of mine published on King Cricket.

It supports one of King Cricket’s themes – cricket equipment in unusual places.

The centrepiece of the article is a photograph I took of a monk at Rumtek Monastery in Sikhim who was wielding a cricket bat in our direction when Janie and I visited the place in 2005.

A cricket bat at Rumtek monastery – King Cricket – click here.

Just in case anything ever happens to King Cricket, I have scraped the piece to Ogblog – only click the link below if the link above doesn’t work:

A cricket bat at Rumtek monastery

The English Concert, Wigmore Hall, 15 March 2009

Was this the first time we saw Mahan Esfahani? Probably.

Was this the first time we heard a composition by J G Goldberg (he of Goldberg variations fame)? For sure.

A delightful concert as always by this low key but consistently masterful lot.

Pretty much all you need to know on this one page

There’s a tiny bit more about it on ClassicalSource.com – click here and skim to the correct date.

A very relaxing end to the weekend.

Wall by David Hare, Royal Court Theatre, 14 March 2009

Wall is a companion piece for Berlin, which we saw a few days earlier at The Lyttelton.

Wall only ran for a few nights, so we did well to catch it. I thought Via Dolorosa was a fine piece, laced with great drama as well as interesting things to say. This felt comparatively preachy, about the ghastly Israel-Palestine separation barrier.

Perhaps it is so clear to me that the barrier is a bad idea, that being lectured about it by David Hare seemed surplus to requirements.

I saw the links with Berlin of course, but enjoyed the Wall part less and certainly learnt less.

Our friend Michael Billington loved it in the Guardian – click here.

Rafael Behr wrote highly of it too in the Observer – click here.

I’m glad to have the text of both and I’m sure a re-read would be interesting, especially now (as I wrote in May 2017) that walls and barriers are back in fashion.

Berlin by David Hare, Lyttelton Theatre, 9 March 2009

This was a rehearsed reading by David Hare, which was only performed for a few nights at The Lyttelton.

The only day we could go to Berlin was the Monday; it’s 18:00 start time encouraged us to take a day off that Monday in fact.

Berlin is basically a short (less than one hour) highly personal monologue about the city, its history and in particular the Berlin Wall.

Kate Kellaway wrote it up in the Observer thus.

It is a companion piece for the Wall, which we went to see a few days later at the Royal Court. I think I preferred Berlin, finding it more interesting and less preachy.

Writing this up in May 2017, I realise that Trump should be made to sit through both pieces.

Middlesex CCC Forum, Lord’s Long Room, 4 March 2009

An unusual timing and location for the Middlesex pre-season forum in 2009.

Timing – about a month before the AGM rather than as part of it.

Location – the Long Room, nach.

Barmy Kev reported on it at length on MTWD and I chimed in with some comments – otherwise, in truth, the detail might have been lost to my memory completely – I only vaguely recalled it even when I read the following piece:

Phil Good Factor At Forum – click here.

I’m not sure whether I made it to the Seaxe Club AGM (31 March) or the actual MCCC AGM (7 April) that year. I don’t recall them and I can see that I did a shout out to other MTWDniks such as Barmy Kev (unsuccessfully) to try to get cover for those.