The Alehouse, Bjarte Eike & Barokksolistene, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, 29 October 2017

We liked the sound of this 17th Century alehouse music concert, described thus:

They will transform our candlelit space into something close to a 17th-century alehouse, with a menu of highly entertaining, touching and beautiful folk music.

So we awaited the concert with rapt attention:

Rapt attention considering the show hasn’t yet started
A Shakespearean pre-show double-selfie

In the first half Bjarte Eike explained the 17th century alehouse music phenomenon to us and demonstrated the fusion of serious and folk music through the material played – several pieces of Purcell for example. Some with Shakespearean themes to make us feel at home; Timon Of Athens, Midsummer Night’s Dream, you get the idea.

In truth, we found the first half of the concert far more to our taste than the second half. The first half had a bit of audience participation with a sea shanty and stuff, but the second half seemed to weird out completely, seeming more like a bawdy modern Gaelic cèilidh than a 17th century alehouse.

Of course this was never really meant to be a truly authentic depiction, but we felt the project must have run out of material that related to its purpose, or simply found that they could only get the audience going by playing more familiar stuff.

It just felt a bit gratuitously bawdy at times and bit of an ego trip for some of the performers to show off their favourite tricks.

Here is a link to the Shakespeare’s Globe page on the event we attended.

Below is a video of the performers taken recently.

This search term – click here – should tell you everything you’ve ever wanted to know about them, even if you have been afraid to ask.

I must say The Globe rather irritates us now. The bars and other audience facilities are very utilitarian and the bars always seem to have just run out of the thing you want. There’s something a bit amateurish and/or touristic about the whole set up; the prices are far from amateur.

But the setting is superb and was ideal for this concert – or at least what this concert was purported to be.

The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse; an ideal setting for Alehouse music

We enjoyed our evening but we won’t be rushing back, either to Barokksolistene or The Globe.

Shakespeare’s Globe Bankside, Tour and Exhibition, 15 June 2016


Janie and I put aside this day primarily for a preview of the new Tate Modern building, as friends were invited for a sneak peek before the general public on the Tuesday evening or Wednesday before opening.

We also wanted to do the tour and exhibition think at Shakespeare’s Globe, which I joined a few months ago and which we would be visiting as audience members that Saturday.

As Janie turned up late at the flat and as I ascertained that we would not see the theatre itself on the tour unless we turned up by 12:30, it was indeed the 12:30 tour we took.

It was good. Our guide showed us around the main theatre itself inside and outside, explaining the background to the project and the extent to which they have attempted authenticity in design and build.


Soon we were thrown out because they were getting ready for the matinee. I suppose the building is all a bit über-mock-tudor, but then we know all about that on the Hanger Hill Garden Estate.

We then went into The Swan (the pub bit, not the fine dining bit), for some light lunch; not bad food – Janie was more impressed with the place than I was. Nice quirky decor though; a mix of arty grunge and traditional/gastro pub.

After lunch, back for a quick look around the exhibition, which I thought was cool. Lots of interactive toys to play with and a lot of stuff about Edward Alleyn as well as Shakespeare (not least the discovery of the Rose Theatre ruins which helped with the Globe’s design of course). Still, this interested me more than it interested Janie, who called time on the exhibition by disappearing.


I found her again soon enough outside the building and we moved on to the Tate Modern, which I shall write up separately.