The Heretic by Richard Bean, Royal Court Theatre, 19 March 2011

After the previous evening’s debacle at Hampstead

Ecstasy by Mike Leigh, Hampstead Theatre, 18 March 2011

…it was a very pleasant surprise that Janie felt better and confident enough to try the theatre the very next day.

A very interesting play about climate change, questioning orthodoxies and asking awkward questions about the links between the politics, science and personal beliefs around climate change.

A search term that finds the mostly good reviews and more besides can be found by clicking here.

Not sure what we did afterwards – probably got Janie home to bed pdq.

Ecstasy by Mike Leigh, Hampstead Theatre, 18 March 2011

Oh dear.

Janie said she didn’t feel 100% when she turned up at the flat, but I didn’t think too much of it, not even when she ate little at Harry Morgan’s before the show.

But about 40 minutes into the first half, she said to me, “I don’t feel well, I have to go to the cloakroom…you stay here”.  So I sat out the first half, not really able to concentrate and dashed out as soon as I could, to find Janie sipping water and attentive staff letting me know that she seemed OK.

It was early in the run and Mike Leigh was there that evening. He kindly came up to us to ask if Janie was OK; I think he was relieved when he learned that she was merely poorly rather than someone who had walked out in shock or horror.

The play is strong stuff and it was a full-on production, but Janie is not the “fit of vapours at the sound of expletives” type.

The staff said we could of course go back in during scene breaks in Act Two if we wished, and/or watch the second act on the screen they use to monitor the show from outside, but frankly we simply wanted to wait until Janie felt well enough to go home and then go home.

I bought a copy of the play text so I could read and find out what happened afterwards.

Here is a link to a search term that finds the almost universally excellent reviews.

It is a real shame that we more or less missed out on it. Still, it could have been much worse. Janie’s indisposition turned out to be slight and temporary – we were back to the theatre the next night.

Dinner At Salt Yard With John White, 16 March 2011

This one was John Boy’s idea and what a good idea it was too.

Extracted from an e-mail from John to me a couple of days before:

…I have booked a table at Salt Yard, a Spanish tapas bar on Goodge Street.  I was taken recently to Barrica next door and it was really good and was then told Salt Yard is better; something with which the reviews seem to concur.  They only had a table early or late so went for the early one at 6.15p.m.  Suggest we meet there and can if we want go for a drink afterwards…

I don’t think we went for a drink afterwards; maybe we did, but I have a feeling that the restaurant was not so strict with its “two hour” rule and we simply took our time over the meal.

Here is a link to the Salt Yard website.

…and here is a link to its TripAdvisor page for those who want up to date independent-ish (maybe) views.

Because oft he tapas-style, we got to try lots of different things. My memory fades on the specifics – John might remember better.

Part of my excuse for not remembering exactly what I ate that night is that I liked the meal so much I returned a couple of months later with Janie, Anthea and Mitchell…except in truth I don’t recall what I ate that night either.

John wrote the following in his follow-up e-mail:

Thanks for last night.  Brilliant food and a great natter.  I ran out of petrol on the way home so it was a little later than anticipated!!!!


Also the envelope has arrived.  Hope Janie didn’t find out you had not delivered 12 hours…

We had just got back from holiday in India & Sri Lanka, so I suspect I was supposed to hand over something from our travels…

…seems I am a long-term serial offender in the matter of forgetting to hand over the holiday swag and/or gifts generally to John when we meet up.

The Holy Rosenbergs by Ryan Craig, Cottesloe Theatre, 12 March 2011

We saw this play/production in preview and I clearly remember both of us saying  immediately afterwards how much it reminded us of Arthur Miller’s style. Unsurprisingly, that was also the verdict of the bulk of the critics.

We also thought it was a very good play and an excellent production…the critics were largely still with us on that aspect too.

Here is a search term that should find you all the reviews and other on-line resources you might want for this one.

Here is the trailer and interesting chat about the play/production:

Reading Hebron by Jason Sherman, Orange Tree Theatre, 5 March 2011

I wanted to enjoy this play more than I did. It was written soon after the Baruch Goldstein atrocity in Hebron in the mid 1990s.

Here is a link to the Orange Tree resource on the play & production.

It was an excellent production and a fast moving play to be sure. David Antrobus, once of the Orange Tree regulars, was excellent as the central character Nathan.

But while the play was interesting throughout and covered many pertinent issues, it didn’t quite work for me; nor for Janie. The play is primarily about a young Canadian’s sense of collective guilt for the atrocity; for my part, I found hard to buy into the collective guilt idea.

Somewhat mixed, but most of the reviews are very good for this production – the search term linked here will find them for you.

Did we have a Spanish meal at Don Fernando’s after seeing this play? You bet.