London (LGW) to Dublin (DUB)
Just a quick stopover in London, only two nights before continuing on to Dublin. I have a friend visiting¹ in the two weeks before Forbidden History². I asked her where she’d like to see in Europe, and she said Dublin, and I thought it’s probably cheaper to fly into London³ and besides, it’s worth a visit if you’ve never been. So here we are.
I’m enjoying the possibly shallow but certainly undeniable delights of being a tourist. Among the many things I’ve lost while traveling around has been concerts and shows. The last few months before I left New York City I filled with a ridiculously overstuffed schedule of bands I wanted to see and theater I wanted to attend. Now that I’ve left, with few exceptions⁴ I just haven’t made it work. So it’s nice to take advantage while I can.
The first night I was here we went to Divine Proportions, an immersive⁵ dinner theater/burlesque show/drag performance in a venue called “The Vaults.” I had scheduled my flight in rather closer than I had thought, and had three hours between the landing and the start of the show, all to get through passport control, hop a train to the hotel, change, and catch a cab to the venue. I ended up being 20 minutes late, they ended up starting 30 minutes late, and everything worked out just fine.
The show itself I thought was pretty good. Funny and flirty and pansexual and genderqueer, hosted by a drag king performing as Dionysus and featuring a bevy of maenads and stripteases by Aphrodite and Persephone. In retrospect, my only complaints are I wanted more — more songs, more acts, more decadence, more genderfuckery. But it was a solidly middle-class audience, it was a Tuesday night, and even a glimpse of the gates of heaven are better than you get most days.
The next night we had tickets for Company, with Rosalie Craig playing the lead and Patti LuPone playing Joanne. Honestly, if the whole show had just been Patti LuPone walking out on stage, singing “Ladies Who Lunch,” and heading back offstage I’d have gladly paid full price⁶. Totally worth it.
The production was gender-swapped, with a female Bobbie and several other roles switched as well. The Andrews-Sisters-styled “You Could Drive a Person Crazy” works fantastically with Bobbie’s three boyfriends. And “Getting Married Today” was performed by half of a gay couple, which really freshened the feel of it.
All the tweaks really made the show feel contemporary; it’s usually played (and often feels) like a ’70s period piece, which makes the things it’s trying to say about relationships seem less vital. This was brilliant from start to finish — great performances, stunning set design, a cohesive story⁷ — and I’m very thrilled I was able to see it.
Today I headed to Dublin with my friend. I’m writing this from the new hotel. I’ll be back in London over the holidays, so the things I missed⁸ I’ll have a chance to revisit. So I guess I’ll be playing the tourist a while longer.
¹ Or maybe I’m visiting her. Or we’re visiting each other. Neither of us lives here.
² The larp we’re attending next Thursday
³ Probably not by much, as it turns out. Air travel has gotten ridiculously cheap, compared to even a decade ago.
⁴ Secret Cinema, from the first time I was through London this year, being an exception
⁵ Although not especially interactive
⁶ I mean, listen to this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oTsuK_HGFJg
⁷ If Company gets a consistent knock, it’s that the fact that it’s largely a series of unconnected vignettes means the songs actually feel weaker in the context of the show than they do on their own. There’s no real story to speak of. I don’t know if it was the emendations, or tweaks in the staging, but they managed to make everything feel of a piece, like it all belonged together.
⁸ The Saatchi Gallery was closed until December 4th, which you’d think would have warranted changing the “Opening Hours” on their website to mention it.