‘My Cat Could Have Written a Better Play Than That.’

Rose heard someone say as they left the theatre. A play during which Rose had whispered to me, ‘What’s the time? in an ‘Are we there yet?’ way.

Yes, it’s true and it went like this. Diana had these tickets, she’s a member of the National Theatre. It’s apparently very special to be able to even get tickets to walk through the hallowed doorway of the NATIONAL THEATRE. I bought two from her, one for Rose, one for me. 80 pounds. I might mention this later because yes, it was a dreadful play. A truly dreadful play. It has a very forgettable title, ‘Evening at the Talk House.’

When it started with a monologue I realised it was a play about a play which is like writers writing about writing. Tricky to do well. It wasn’t done well. It was a dystopian play where people were killing each other because they might do people harm. But also, because they were not very useful or successful anymore. Even friends beat up their elderly friends. I wondered if the writer had watched the Hunger Games. It was not credible and the dialogue was clunky. On the plus the acting was good. But difficult to act well, when, as Rose said, ‘Who talks like that to anyone?’ You do have to wonder what on earth they thought putting it on. It was written (this is for you Mima) by the actor Wallace Shawn who was Vizzini in The Princess Bride. He was also acting in this play. He’s written a dreadful play about a play for himself to act in. I’ve just looked it up, 80 pounds is $184 NZ.

It was a matinee performance, so time to retrieve the rest of the evening. We had a lovely mulled wine with Diana who had taken her niece (her 30th birthday present, poor girl). She was interesting, had spent the last year teaching sign language to deaf Colombians. So we had a nice chat and then Rose was going on to an amateur stand-up comedy show with Ben, would I like to join them. I did. It was great entertainment and only 5 pounds. Honest. We had an OK Vietnamese meal.

I’d spent the day with Rose at Notting Hill. What a place! We found her Christmas present, a tiny gold compass she can wear on a chain. She’s wanted one for years. There was a whole labyrinth of antique shops (sorry no bread boards Judy) then the road sort of morphed into cheap shops and vintage clothes. We sadly had to cut it short to get back in time for the play. I’ll go back there for sure.

Had two visits to Churches this week and with both caught a free stunning musical performance.

One was in Greenwich, which Diana took me too. Actually a fantastic trip. Went on the boat and also walked under the Thames.

View from the boat.

Greenwich from the other side of the Thames

Walking under the Thames

In the painted chapel below (at Greenwich) we lucked upon students giving a concert (brass).

It was spectacular. The students were excellent and the building fascinating. The plaster work reminded me of Wedgwood ceramics.

Even better was going to Winchester for an interview. What a town. I stumbled upon a monument to ‘the great plague’ 1666. Really. I went to the interview, which was partly conducted by the head Matron, a New Zealand woman who came over for a couple of years and has been here for over 20 in the same job and also with the very anorexic looking Headmistress. Although it went well I had a feeling they were looking for someone with experience in a boarding school. Still, they gave me lunch (salty) and organised for the taxi to drop me back at Winchester Cathedral. The light was fading and all the guided tours had finished so I pottered around and noticed an orchestra at the front then heard the most amazing bass singer. The soloists were practicing The Messiah! Oh what joy! And disbelief, is there such a thing as a male soprano in the Messiah? These were professional singers (I sat next to their agent). Feeling I had to get home before it was too late I eventually wandered around the Cathedral with that incredible performance as my background.

As I walked back to the station I came across this amazing old flint stone wall. I know it looks terrible but flint is a fascinating stone, almost transparent.

So, that was one lousy expensive play and two free concerts and a 5 pound comedy. Feel I’m winning. Now bet no one can remember the name of the forgettable play. Look it up if you want. ‘An Evening at the Talk House.’ Just don’t ever go to it.

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