Mrs Klein by Nicholas Wright, Almeida Theatre, 24 October 2009

We both really enjoyed this play/production about he psychoanalyst Melanie Klein.

I had seen the original production of this play at The Cottesloe back in 1988 and really liked it.

Janie and I are keen Almeida-istas;  I guessed that this would be yet another really good Almeida production and that the play would be to Janie’s taste. Add to that a superb cast – Clare Higgins and Nicola Walker are two of our favourites, plus Thea Sharrock (formerly at The Gate) directing…

…what could go wrong? Nothing. This was a great production and Janie did really like it.

As usual, there is an excellent Almeida resource about the play/production – click here – with information, pictures and reviews.

The reviews were nearly all very good and the very good ones are accessible in full from the above resource.

Race Night, Seaxe Club Evening, 22 October 2009

It took me a while to work out what my diary note for that evening, which merely reads “race night”, meant.

I didn’t remember going to any events about ethnic politics at that time.

Then I remembered a Seaxe Club evening in the St John’s Wood Church Hall, where we raised some money for the cause by betting on movie clips from old horse and dog races.

Apparently this was an age-old Seaxe Club tradition, but as far as I know it has not been done since 2009 (May 2017 is the time of writing).

Barmy Kev and Olivia were there – indeed Barmy Kev wrote a ball by ball commentary match report on the evening for MTWD: Shaggy’s Dog Story – A Night At the Races – click here.

It isn’t normally my policy to take a precautionary scrape of pieces other than my own authored ones, but I thought this one should be held locally just in case – click below only if the above link doesn’t work:

Middlesex till we die – Shaggy’s Dog Story – A Night At the Races

I really cannot add much to Barmy Kev’s piece, other than to say what a fun evening it was and what a shame it (or something similar) hasn’t been repeated.

The Power Of Yes by David Hare, Lyttelton Theatre, 17 October 2009

We were not overly impressed with this play.

David Hare is very good at burrowing around all manner of interesting topics, but I suspect he was too far away from his spheres of knowledge and understanding with the financial crisis.

Hare almost admits as much, as the narrator of the play is a somewhat perplexed author.

So to me, Hare was making the obvious points about the financial crisis well enough, but there was little dramatic tension and no new insight in the piece.

Janie liked it a bit more than i did, but I suspect that she got more out of it, being less steeped in the financial crisis in the first place.

I’m glad we saw it, but this is second division work from a first division playwright. There was little a good cast and production could do to save it.

 

Brad Mehldau Trio, Wigmore Hall, 16 October 2009

We had actively encouraged “The Wig” to do more jazz, so booked up a couple of Brad Mehldau’s concerts when he was first appointed jazz curator.

We went to the first of these, Brad playing solo, back in April – click here.

We rather liked it and eagerly awaited the second concert, which was to be a trio with bass and drums, which we thought would be more to our taste.

It was.

Why we subsequently booked to see Brad solo again for stressy pre Christmas 2015, during which we vaguely remembered feeling that we anyway preferred seeing him with a group rather than solo, is a bit of a mystery to me – must have been the Bach link. My bad, as the young folk say.

Anyway, the Trio concert from 16 October 2009 is all explained in the sheet below.

This was one of two gigs that week at The Wig. The other gig was with the saxophonist Joshua Redman, whom we have subsequently seen at the Wigmore Hall. John Fordham in the Guardian gave both very good reviews – here.

 

Judgment Day by Ödön Von Horváth, in a new version by Christopher Hampton, Almeida Theatre, 10 October 2009

We love the Almeida Theatre, despite the extra shlep involved in getting there from West London. At the time of writing (29 May 2017) we have just been again.

One really excellent thing about the Almeida is the quality of on-line resource they put up for the productions, with lots of information about the play, the creatives involved in the production, plenty of pictures and links to many reviews (the favourable ones of course).

Here is the Almeida’s on-line resource for Judgment Day.

The other really excellent thing about the Almeida is the quality of stuff it puts on. This play/production was no exception.

Ödön Von Horváth (imagine answering the “how do you spell it?” question with that name) has long fascinated Christopher Hampton. This seemingly small canvas German play, about the moral consequences of covering up the true reason for a deadly train crash, is in reality a pre-war allegory with the wilful blindness that led to Nazi power.

It was an especially good evening in the theatre; Janie and I both remember it fondly well. I also recently (when we saw The Ferryman) remembered that we had seen the excellent Laura Donnelly before, but didn’t at the time connect it with this play/production.

Most of the reviews – eight to ten of them included in the Almeida resource link above and here – are very good, but:

We thought it was top notch.

Jerusalem Quartet & Lawrence Power, Wigmore Hall, 3 October 2009

This concert did more for me than it did for Daisy.

I thought she might like classical music, of the Mozart and Mendelssohn kind, in the form of string quartets rather than the symphonies and orchestral pieces she claims not to like.

Wrong.

She still found them twiddly and not to her taste really.

Not that she minded; an evening at the Wigmore Hall would struggle to be unpleasant.

This is exactly what we saw:

Take my word for it; they were very good.