Middlesex v Yorkshire Day 4 at Lord’s, 30 April 2014

A working day, but I did have a pile of reading to do and a hope for good weather and an opportunity to go to Lord’s.

The match started inauspiciously for a gentleman in search of Day Four cricket at Lord’s, but Mick Hunt’s ability to produce tracks that end up lifeless knows no bounds sometimes.

At the time of writing (December 2016), there is much chat about Joe Root being lined up for the England captaincy – here is a very early example of him leading an almost unbeatable side to heroic defeat.

Click here for the almost infeasible scorecard.

Click here for a link to my King Cricket match report for this day – some good bants in the comments section – the bants are better than my article on this occasion.

If by chance anything ever happens to King Cricket, click here instead.

The other thing worth saying, absent from my King Cricket report as mentioning the cricket itself is prohibited there, is that I got to Lord’s just in time to witness Chris Rogers get to the 200 mark soon after lunch; I witnessed that from the Warner Stand before moving on to the sunshine elsewhere.

After Morning After by Simon David, Drayton Arms, 27 April 2014

We know Simon from the Royal Court bookshop. For many years he would chat with us when we got to the theatre about the show we were going to see and stuff.

Then he started to mention that he writes plays…

…then he invited us along…

…this might have been the second or third of his we saw; I think the second.

Simon’s plays are always quite short, steeped in word play, about somewhat edgy people and populated with good looking theatrical folk, with whom Simon seems more than capable of surrounding himself.

This one was on a Sunday evening which is hardly a schlep for us at the Drayton and Simon, as always, was very welcoming and seemed very grateful to us for supporting.

We liked this play/production.

Sunny Afternoon by Joe Penhall & Ray Davies, Hampstead Theatre, 25 April 2014

We loved this show.

Not the sort of thing we’d normally go for; we don’t really do musicals and certainly not juke box musicals.

But we’re both very fond of the Kinks, and of the Hampstead Theatre. We also trust Joe Penhall as a playwright.

Good call – this show was so enjoyable and we sensed that the Hampstead had a hit on its hands…

…which it did.

Well written, well acted & directed, superb musical performances…

…great fun too. By the end, it was more or less like being at an exciting gig. We ate at Harry Morgan before the show.

Here is a link to the Hampstead resource on this production.

Here is a YouTube “behind the scenes”/trailer:

Here is a link to a search term which should find you plenty of reviews. They were mostly rave reviews; deservedly.



Passiontide, Academia Musica Choir, St John’s Smith Square, 19 April 2014

Janie is not quite as keen on St John’s Smith Square as she is on the Wigmore Hall. It’s not quite the same sort of warm, intimate space.

But whenever we go there she realises that she likes the bar in the crypt and that we often hear music that sounds great in a church, which is of course exactly what this venue used to be.

Easter weekend and some baroque music suited to that time of year:

Very high quality singing for a semi-professional choir.

It all sounded beautiful.

In the Vale Of Health: Japes Too by Simon Gray, Hampstead Theatre Downstairs, 18 April 2014

Janie and I both really like Simon Gray’s plays and we really like the Hampstead Downstairs.

So this project; taking all four of Simon Gray’s attempts to write about a quirky pair of brothers in The Vale of Health, seemed like something we should do in full.

We saw them in this sequence/timing:

  • 21 March 2014 – Japes;
  • 18 April 2014 – Japes Too;
  • 2 May 2014 – Michael;
  • 16 May 2014 – Missing Dates.

We’d often see the same faces in the audience again. One gentleman who sat next to us on the last night, we’d seen at least once before. I said to him that it would be like saying goodbye to close friends when this little season ended and he said, “that’s exactly what I was thinking”.

Very intimate plays, beautifully written (it’s Simon Gray after all) and very well acted/directed.

I’m cutting and pasting this same piece for all four evenings; the above and the links below basically apply to all four.

Here is a link to a search term that will find you Hampstead resources and (unusually for downstairs) reviews, as they transferred this little season upstairs afterwards, because it had done so well downstairs.

Here is a YouTube interview and stuff:

Dinner With John White At Dabbous, 16 April 2014

I remember that this was a really splendid meal at Dabbous – one of the very best restaurant meals we’ve had.

(Coincidentally, writing in November 2017, as John and I had a cracking good meal just the other day, at La Chapelle.)

It was a busy time. John was in the process of changing jobs (I think he’d handed in his notice to the Timber Trade that week).

Also, we had both been busy sending notes to Keele about our interactions with Neil Baldwin, ahead of the making of the film Marvellous.

Anyway, Dabbous was quite simply superb. Modern European with a sort-of middle-eastern twist of ingredients. Here is a link to a search term that should find you reviews if you want them.

John had chosen the place (well done him) so I had to deal with the damage; it was well worth it.

I wonder whether John can remember what we ate. I remember describing the meal in detail to Janie afterwards and all of us (including Mandy) agreeing that it would be a good place to try together, but we didn’t get round to that. Nor can I remember now what I ate.

But that evening and meal at Dabbous was marvellous…tremendous even.

Middlesex v Nottinghamshire Day Three, Lord’s, 15 April 2014

Oh joy – ’twas the new cricket season and I took a day off work to see cricket with Charles “Charley The Gent Malloy” Bartlett.

My write up of the day on King Cricket (published a mere six weeks later – fancy that!) is all anyone needs to know, really – click here.

I rather like that write up in retrospect. I think you get a sense of the joy to be had just passing a day with a friend (or friends) watching cricket.

If anything ever happens to King Cricket, I have scraped the above report page to here.

If anyone reading this is desperate to know what actually happened in the cricket that day, here is a link to the scorecard.

Birdland by Simon Stephens, Royal Court Theatre, 12 April 2014

Janie and I both tend to like Simon Stephens plays, so there was little debate about booking an early sighting of this one at the Royal Court.

We enjoyed our evening, but neither of us could honestly say that this was one of Simon Stephen’s best or most memorable plays.

The play is about a rock star at the end of a long tour. The issues covered, while done well, seemed superficial compared with most of Simon Stephens’s plays. The dialogue glistened, but then what do you expect?

Here is a link to the (for some unknown reason) rather limited Royal Court resource on the play/production.

This search term – click here – will find you plenty of the (frankly, mixed) reviews.

Below is the video trailer:

King Charles III by Mike Bartlett, Almeida Theatre, 5 April 2014

Janie didn’t like this one at all.

I rather liked it in parts; far more so than Albion – Mike Bartlett’s most recent play at the time of writing (November 2017), also directed by Rupert Goold at the Almeida.

The conceit of the play is a Shakespeare pastiche, imagining a future King Charles III stumbling into a constitutional crisis with the government. (Three and a half years on, that scenario seems more likely than it did in April 2014, but I’ll leave that thought to one side).

That Shakespeare pastiche style worked in places but grated on me at times.

This was to be our last sighting of Tim Pigott-Smith, whose fine acting we enjoyed many times over the years. The whole cast was good and it was magnificently staged and produced.

Here is a link to the Almeida resource on King Charles III.

The play/production got mostly rave reviews – this search term will get you to the bulk of them.

Below is the trailer they used when it was up for a Tony:


Bailey’s Stardust, National Portrait Gallery, 4 April 2014

An evening visit to the National Portrait Gallery to see David Bailey canonical exhibition.

Janie and I went with Toni Friend.

Here is a link to the National Portrait Gallery resource on this show, which has some really good photographs, presumably being used at the time as “teasers”.

We really liked the exhibition, as did most but not all of the critics.

This search term – click here – will find you reviews, vids, the lot, if you want to know more about it.

Afterwards we went on to Haozhan chinese restaurant for dinner – we felt this place had gone down since our previous visit, but still was a good enough and convenient place to end an enjoyable evening.