The Priory by Michael Wynne, Royal Court Theatre, 28 November 2009

I recall this one as being a bit Alan Aykbournish – a gang of thirty-somethings on retreat in the country for New Years eve. What could possibly go wrong?

A slight set of Royal Court details and links about this play/production can be found here.

We quite enjoyed it, while agreeing that we normally seek plays with a bit more oomph and have seen a lot of plays a bit like this one in our time.

Of course it was well acted and well produced – the Royal Court hardly ever misses one of those beats.

Cock by Mike Bartlett, Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, 14 November 2009

So we saw a young Ben Whishaw as far back as 2009 in this thing – who knew?

Mike Bartlett has also gone on to bigger and bolder pieces than this since.

I seem to recall that it was a fairly slight piece about someone who is confused about his sexuality; I think the modern term is “fluid”.

The Royal Court link is very slight for an archive of this age – click here.

As usual, high quality production and performances upstairs at the Royal; Court – we love that place.

Pains Of Youth by Ferdinand Bruckner, Cottesloe Theatre, 7 November 2009

What a grim evening of theatre this turned out to be.

The only ungrim thing about the evening was bumping into George Littlejohn and his good lady in the foyer before the show and then again in the interval. I have known George since 1994 when we met, for reasons that will only be explained to you if you click here, at the 1994 inaugural Accountancy Awards. Only click if you find pompous awards funny; don’t click if you take them seriously.

The play is about young upwardly mobile Viennese trainee doctors in the 1920’s, who should have been among the most happening people on earth were it not for their unfortunate juxtaposition with time and space (i.e. 1920’s Vienna) and their existential angst.

Janie and I hated the first half of the play and resolved not to stay for the second half. I’m not saying that it was either going to be members of the cast, or us, or a mixture of those two cohorts, but suicide was clearly on the cards during the second half. We made absolutely certain it wasn’t going to be us.

Unfortunately for George and his good lady, they had some sort of connection with someone involved in the production, so they stayed for the second half. We wished them luck as we waved them goodbye.

The irony of the bad straplining of that last piece will not be wasted on George Littlejohn, who was at one time the editor of Accountancy Age, no less, but has since managed to exceed even those giddy heights.

Despite their ordeal, sticking out the whole evening, I am pleasantly surprised, indeed delighted, to report that both the Littlejohns seem hale and hearty at the time of writing (January 2017).  Janie and I ran into them both again at the Curzon Bloomsbury on New Year’s Day 2017 – click here, which triggered this memory and hence this write up.

The Kreutzer Sonata by Leo Tolstoy, Adapted by Nancy Harris, Gate Theatre, 5 November 2009

A rare visit to the theatre on my own. I was keen to see this thing and Janie was struggling to find the time for it, so I just went midweek – on the opening night. Hardly a shlep, is it, from the flat to The Gate?

It was very good indeed. More or less a one man show for the excellent Hilton McRae.

The Gate, being a tiny theatre with hardly any money, obviously has a much better online presence than the big boys, so the on-line resource on this play/production covers many of the bases for me – here.

…as was I. A rare miss for Daisy and I could have made her suffer for it but I didn’t. I told her that she probably wouldn’t have liked it as much as I did.

To get an idea of this productions unusual style, here is a rather tasty little promo vid that the Gate put together for this production:

Dinner With John White At Ba Shan, 2 November 2009

An e-mail from me to John earlier that day:

I’ve booked us a table at Ba Shan – 24 Romilly Street – for 19:30.  Probably a good idea to get there early if anything.  I’ll come over your way c18:30 and call you on your mobile once I emerge from TCR tube station – if we walk towards each other I suspect we’ll meet each other!

Ba Shan. Aka Bashan. Hunanese food. Here is the Bashan website.

I seem to recall really liking the food, although not to the extent that I would prefer it to its sibling Barshu.

It is well-regarded on TripAdvisor – click here.

A selection of small dishes I seem to recall. Perhaps we over-ordered. Me to John the next day:

Just a quick thank you message for last night – great to see you and a very good meal, for which I am suffering as expected this morning.  Thank goodness no clients until lunchtime!

John might recall more details.