The Acid Test by Anya Reiss, Royal Court Upstairs, 28 May 2011

We’d really enjoyed Spur Of The Moment by the ridiculously young and talented Anya Reiss the year before:

Spur Of The Moment by Anya Reiss, Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, 3 August 2010

…so were keen to give her another try.

I don’t think this one worked quite as well for us. Yes, there was still sparkling wit to the dialogue. But basically this play was yet another drunken gathering descending into chaos comedy.

Excellent production qualities with top notch cast and creatives, as we expect from the Royal Court, but not top drawer Royal Court to our taste.

Here is a link to the Royal Court resource on this play/production.

This search term should find you reviews and other resources on this play/production.

We’re still hoping to see Anya Reiss progress to greater things on the stage. Plenty of time; she was still only 18 for this one.

Afghanistan: Crossroads of the Ancient World, British Museum, Follwed By Dinner At Salt Yard With Anthea & Mitchell, 27 May 2011

Janie and I went to this fabulous exhibition early evening on a Friday – this notion of late opening of museums and galleries on a Friday evening was quite new then…

…or at least new to us.

Here is a link to the British Museum’s press page on the exhibition.

Here is a very informative short promotional vid for the exhibition:

Here is a search term link to reviews and other resources on the exhibition.

We had arranged to meet Anthea and Mitchell at Salt Yard later that evening. A couple of months earlier I had enjoyed a superb meal at Salt Yard with John Boy:

Dinner At Salt Yard With John White, 16 March 2011

I recall Mitchell being there when we arrived at Salt Yard and then Anthea arriving last, in a bit of a “sorry I’m late” flap…very much in character.

But the excellent food and wine soon had everyone in a chilled and good mood at the end of the week. For me and Janie, with the fascinating cultural exhibition before the gathering too, it was a super start to the weekend.

I Am The Wind by Jon Fosse, Young Vic, 21 May 2011

This short Norwegian play ticked most if not all of our boxes, in theory.

Adapted by Simon Stephens, whom we very much admire. Two fine actors in Tom Brooke and Jack Laskey. An astonishing, watery set…

…yet somehow the piece failed to move us much. To us, it felt like a slight piece with ideas above its station.

The critics loved it – click here for a search term that provides links to all the right places.

You can see a vid clip if you click through this link from this production at the Festival Avignon.

Paul Taylor in The Independent – click here – claimed not to much like Jon Fosse but found this production one of the best things he’d ever seen.

We didn’t get that “extra something” from the experience, but what do we know?

Telemann And The Gypsies, St John’s Smith Square, 20 May 2011

We didn’t book much of the Lufthansa Festival that year, sadly, as the programme was excellent, but we did book this one superb concert by Ensemble Caprice.

No problem buying CDs of the music we heard at this one:

We also invested in Vivaldi and the Baroque Gypsies from the same stable – click here.

I still listen to these albums quite a lot. The Telemann is the more interesting but both are good.

We miss that Lufthansa Festival now its gone – the scaled down spring baroque festival at SJSS is a very modest affair by comparison. A shame we mostly missed out that year but at least we got to see one good’un in these visitors from Montreal, Ensemble Caprice.

Dwelling In Bed Ain’t Bad by Paul Haenen, Riverside Studios, 14 May 2011

Billed as a sell-out wow show from Amsterdam and Antwerp, we thought we’d give this play with its short run at the Riverside a try.

In truth, it was a very slight but charming piece about a gay couple.

We quite enjoyed it, but in truth were not wowed.

There is a preview/teaser to be seen:

This search term – click here- will find other stuff on the short run at the Riverside (and to some extent the production generally.

I think we went to the Thai Bistro afterwards – not sure why that memory is quite strong but it is.

 

A Delicate Balance by Edward Albee, Almeida Theatre, 7 May 2011

A stellar cast for this Edward Albee revival.

Here is a link to the Almeida resource for this production.

Of course it was wonderfully well acted and the production was excellent, but I recall not being too enamoured of the play. It was quite long and wordy. I think you are supposed to feel trapped by the play, much as the characters are trapped in their circumstances.

On the whole the critics loved it – here is a search term that finds reviews and stuff.

I have also found an interesting vid that shows how the Almeida team transformed the place from The Knot Of The Heart into A Delicate Balance:

Mare Nostrum, Wigmore Hall, 2 May 2011

We had the joy, honour and privilege to see the marvellous Hespèrion XXI that spring, little knowing that it was to be one of the last few concerts Montserrat Figueras was able to give.

The concert was entitled Mare Nostrum, a celebration of early music cross-fertilisation between eastern and western traditions of music, spanning from Byzantium to Al-Andalus and Sephardic traditions of music.

Janie and I both remember the concert being an absolute delight. Here is a link to a very good music OMH review.

Available for download by clicking the image or through all major outlets

I also remember being slightly irritated on the night that none of the music we heard was available to buy on CD, as the relevant music was to be on a “forthcoming” CD. I would have been more sympathetic had I known that Montserrat Figueras was struggling with her health at that time.

I satisfied my crazy craving for Hespèrion XXI music at the time by procuring:

I resolved to seek out the Mare Nostrum album when it came out, but of course clean forgot about it and then went through a phase of not buying music, because I had so many CDs.

But today (29 December 2017), recalling how wonderful that 2011 concert experience was and how moving we had found this east-west fusion early music, I naturally could not resist the temptation to download the Mare Nostrum album. I’m so glad I did.

Janie and I have been thoroughly enjoying listening to the music and recalling that very special concert from 2011.

We have seen Jordi Savall and Hespèrion XXI several times since. We always enjoy those concerts, but feel very lucky to have experienced their live sound while Montserrat Figueras was still on the scene.