Were you lucky enough, as I was, to see A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the New Globe Theatre on Bankside this year? the Bollywood influenced one?
Oh man, it was fabulous. I don’t want to make you jealous, but if you didn’t get to see it you missed out bg time. Tomorrow night it has its last performance, but the great news is that the BBC is going to be live streaming the production. Which means that wherever you are you can see it. Cool or what? and the answer isn’t ‘what’. Continue reading
In London, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to an American, Sam Wanamaker.
Lots of visitors to London enjoy our thriving theatre culture. You don’t have to go far to find something to suit your tastes.
But for me, one of my favourite theatres exists thanks to Wanamaker, a visionary who overcame no little opposition to rebuild Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre on Bankside.
It’s not like any other theatre I have ever been to. The closest would be Regent’s Park Open Air, also a great place, but the Globe is Special, and that capitalisation is deliberate.
This afternoon I was there to see As You Like It.
What a treat.
If this piece of footage from 1969 makes your heart beat a little faster, you are probably of the same generation as me; children in the sixties, rather than of them.
I grew up on the Beatles music. We sang their songs in the playground, played at being the Beatles, though sometimes it had to be the Stones, as one girl, Wendy, was a fan. We danced to them in our sitting rooms, and bought packets of bubble gum so we could collect photocards of them. I remember a bus ride with my friend Sue back to her house to listen to the LP she had saved up to buy – Rubber Soul. They were in the firmament of my world along with the Brownies, learning my times tables, walking my dog and the Famous Five.
So going to the Savoy Theatre the other night to see a performance of Let It Be was somewhat surreal. The music and the performances brought back those childhood memories with a dislocating force. I say dislocating, because there I was, someone who has been comfortably in my prime for a number of years, trying to square the fact that I was sitting staidly in a theatre seat with all the emotional, sensory, stirring memories evoked; remembering so clearly what it felt like to be a child growing up in 60s Britain when London swung, and this was a foretaste how our lives were going to be.
It was like time travel. And for me, a lot more fun than Proust’s madeleine biscuit.
The show is an almost non-stop performance of songs, and to compound the time travel feeling, they span the whole decade when the Beatles dominated the charts, so you see and hear through the music how they grew up too, how their interests changed and diversified and the lyrics became increasingly sophisticated and often poetic. Continue reading