My first time to see Cat on a Hot Tin Roof tonight by Tennessee Williams. Moving and powerful, the production by Double Falsehood was good. Smashing bottles and lots of shouting made for tense scenes. Simon Haines stood out as Big Daddy, and both leads, Josephine Starte and Ben Kavanagh and Maggie and Brick were good, although I heard a few comments that Josephine was hard to hear. The stage was a bit wonky and we could see backstage through several places, doors didn’t close, and the house lights were kept up for a few minutes in act 2, and the curtains were a pain—a bit more attention to detail would have created a more rounded performance. Review by the TAB (interesting comments about the use of child actors). I agree that Tamara Astor made a big presence as Big Mama, somehat too big in places where her physical presence was over-the-top and towards the comic. But she was very enjoyable to watch!
From the ADC web site:
In deepest Mississippi, a storm is brewing. It’s Big Daddy Pollitt’s sixty-fifth birthday. His family have flocked to his forty-thousand acre plantation to celebrate. But they know something he doesn’t…
Since its Pulitzer Prize-winning premier and the motion picture starring screen legends Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor, this searing razor-sharp examination of sex, lies and a family on the brink of collapse has been universally acknowledged as a modern classic. Now – hot on the heels of an Olivier award-winning West End revival – we present some of Cambridge’s finest talent in a fresh rethinking of this hilarious, sensuous masterpiece.
“I’m not living with you. We occupy the same cage, that’s all.”
Michael lent me Imperium, a historical novel set in Rome, following the rise to Consular status of Cicero, narrated by his salve/aide Tiro. The book is sold as largely accurate for history, fleshing out the human side. This was a potent mix and the book was a pacey page turner. Rome was certainly full of political intrigue towards the end of the Republic and I got a keen sense of the political collapse.
Looking forward to reading part 2 of of the planned three parts of Cicero’s life. Lustrum
“Imperium” (Robert Harris)
Met Michael off the train for dinner in the Devonshire Arms. Having some Tiki to start, my favourite Milton Beer.
Well, the TAB was a bit off the mark about The Fire Within, and that’s hopefully the last time I read a review before I go to see a play. (Varsity concur with the TAB!) It’s a new play by Patrick Garety, produced by Clare Actors. The staging was more complex that the standard ADC production, set in and outside a colonial house in Udaipur. The sound track of cicadas was quite atmospheric and the pauses added to the tension and feeling of oppression in the last days of the British Empire in India. Susanne Curry (Ruth) made a convincing and strong mother figure and carrier her role well. Sadly, George Johnston and Edwin Ashcroft were prone to several fits of giggles between then, including 30 seconds into the opening scene. I do agree with the Tab that Oliver Soden (Lambert) really carried of the eccentric Englishman suffering in the heat—he was a pleasure to watch.
Reading the reviews by the TAB and Varsity make me realise that I go the theatre to be entertained, rather than to review and critique. In that regard, I enjoyed the play.
From the ADC web site:
The fires will be burning in the streets of Udaipur tonight.
The British Raj in India is coming to an end.
In the twilight of history, an entrenched colonial family prepares its last supper.
Eve has been missing all day. On the eve of James’ departure for England, the family gathers for a final farewell. Tempers fray as the oppressive heat of day climaxes in the stifling darkness of the Indian night. Someone is harbouring a dark secret. Outside, a storm is brewing.
This poignant snapshot of a decaying empire is a pertinent reminder of the bonds of family, the power of love, and the struggle for identity that burns within.
Nothing is ever really yours here. No matter how many times we stamp things, nothing is really British.
Patrick Garety’s lyrical new play comes to the ADC in a haunting and evocative production which celebrates the fervour of youth, and how the choices of a moment can shape our lives.
A special day today—Jason’s 40th, and we met him and Sarah for a Cambridge Wine Merchants tasting of Bordeaux wines at the Gros Franck. Sarah and Jason speak highly of the restaurant and Michael and I were very keen to try it out. There were forty five people booked in for the tasting, which make for a good atmosphere. The food and wine were superb.
Ben Kennedy was the guest speaker from from Luc Thienpont, who had moved to Bordeaux several years ago after falling in love with the wines. The food was super—the foie gras and duck very nice indeed (but rich). The Petit Tournedos were pretty hefty, and also very nice. For the wines, the Château Bonneau 2006 Haut Medoc was my best wine of the night. Also enjoyed the well-made Château Marjosse 2006 Bordeaux Blanc and the Château des Tours 2006 Ste Croix du Mont desert wine. I found the Puygueraud a bit to harsh and intense—maybe after some laying up it would have been delish. Jason got an extra desert with birthday candles form the lovely owner, Ling-Ling.
Menu for the Big Bordeaux Dinner
Feuillete aux pommes confit et foie gras
Château Marjosse 2006 Bordeaux Blanc
‘Z’ Bordeaux 2008 de Luc Thienpont
Confit de canard au cepes sur roesti
Petit Tournedos Bordelaise gratin Dauphinois
Château Puygueraud 2007 Cotes de France
Château Bonneau 2006 Haut Medoc
Plateau de fromages au lait crue
Château Tayac Plaisance 2008 Margaux
Panacotta a la poire carame’lise at sa meringue au cafe
Sabayon aux pommes at cannelle et sa glace Margaux
Château des Tours 2006 Ste Croix du Mont
Peter had to leave at dawn for work, leaving Michael, Douglas and I to have brunch at nearby Café am Beethovenplatz. Douglas booked the table for 10am, with a strategy that we would be there to see live music starting at 11. And there was aJazz trio at 11 which were good. Breakfast was hearty (including a glass of prosecco that came with mine).
After brunch we went up the tower of Alte Peter (St Peterskirche) for good views over the rainy city, and the Neues Rathaus. We were there at 12 in time for the Rathaus-Glockenspiel and enjoyed the show through the rain from an unusual high viewpoint. The longer-distance views were hidden in drizzle.
We continued the churchy theme by exploring the Asamkirche, an amazing 1746 baroque chapel, highly ornate with over-the-top gilt and statues. So much to look at, including confessionals topped with lovely white marble pillar-tops so that cherubs and skulls were grinning down as you confessed your sins.
From there we popped into the lovely new Jewish Museum which has interesting permanent and temporary exhibitions, The building itself is impressive, with modern-stark architecture inside, next door to the modern and ornate Ohel Jakob Synagogue. It was a good place to while away a rainy afternoon and some of the exhibitions were quite moving.
We continued our tour to Odeonsplatz by which time the cold and the drizzle drove us back to Douglas’ house, to devour Prinzregententorte and watch Summer Storm on DVD. Such a good film. We left about 7.30, after a roast dinner, which made this an impressive end to a foody and indulgent weekend. Douglas looked after us incredibly well.
Lebkuchen (chocolate, jam and marzipan)—that’s how we started the evening. Peter was able to join us for dinner after being away working overnight. Douglas made us a great meal of big spicy meatballs with ratatouille. We headed out for drinks after dinner to Sendlinger Tor to the gay bars bars: started at Kr@ftAkt where my ropey german managed to oder me an alcohol-free pils! The bar was good and relaxed but certainly not as full of character as Pop-as bar round the corner in Thalkirchnerstrasse. Peter and Douglas were clearly well known regulars here, and favourites with the owner Carlos. Great fun, until there was a fire small fire in basement. Free gins and tonics finished us off at the end of the night. Late night, particularly considering that Peter had to be up a few hours later for work.
Picture from: http://www.pop-as.de/en/gall_en.html