My plethora of vouchers received during Lockdown times came to fruition for 2 of the 3 performances I watched over the last week. I’ll write a few words on each and start at the ‘beginning’.
The Mirror and The Light
Based on Part 3 of a series of books written by Hilary Mantel, the play is an adaption by Mantel herself and the lead actor Ben Miles and is a Royal Shakespeare production. Miles play Thomas Cromwell and Nathaniel Parker plays King Henry VIII. 24 actors feature in all, which is a sizeable cast.
Cromwell was a Lawyer and Statesman who served King Henry, he was instrumental in the annulment of Henry’s first marriage enabling him to marry Ann Boleyn. The play sees Cromwell in the Tower facing charges of Treason and Heresy. We then look back on the reasons he’s in that position. This was a history lesson as well as entertainment. Miles and Parker in particular were outstanding. A serious play with brilliant acting, the time flew by!
Pride and Prejudice (sort of)
I’d booked this play for October for just £25 then had to move my date due to a nasty cough, so I found myself sitting in Row B of the Criterion Theatre next to my friend Monica who’d paid £59.50! We had dinner at the delightful Brasserie Zedel, whch was a 2 minute walk from the theatre, do go if you haven’t, the food is sublime!
The ‘sort of’ in the title must allude to the fact that this is a laugh out loud production, with the cast of 5 women playing every part; Tori Burgess, Christina Gordon, Hannah Jarrett-Scott, Isobel McArthur and Meghan Tyler play 5 house servants who narrate the tale. They then transform into the main characters in the story, being Elizabeth Bennett and Fitzwilliam Darcy. I wasn’t expecting to be laughing my socks off, but it was an absolute joy to behold! The Pride and Prejudice story was however covered amongst the hilarity.
I’d booked this one for it’s first weeks pre-covid, so with voucher in had I re-booked to coincide with a visit to the Van Gogh Immersive Experience /https://vangoghexpo.com/ . A quick mention for that, it’s wonderful! My first virtual reality experience amongst other things. I was with 2 friends and we’d all booked for Cinderella in the evening. Good planning! Only to see that planning undone when first my ticket was cancelled, then theirs, in spite of all 3 being available. Happily we all managed to re-book.
This Andrew Lloyd Webber production stars the marvellous Carrie Hope Fletcher as Cinderella and Ivano Turco straight out of the Urdang Academy as Prince Sebastian. I’d listened to the soundtrack a few times and had Bad Cinderella sung by Hope Fletcher and Only You, Lonely You performed by Turco in my head. This is Cinderella, but not as we know it; I knew that before I went, but I didn’t know I’d be laughing throughout. The Queen, played by Rebecca Trehearn and The Wicked Stepmother played by Victoria Hamilton-Barriitt in particular performed in their very funny roles brilliantly. I am going to confess that the ‘soldiers’ and villagers who wouldn’t have looked out of place in Magic Mike, most definitely were an added bonus. The stage did very clever things, and I’m not going to drop a spoiler here, and Turco showed his dancing credentials at one point. The 2 songs mentioned are the only ones that have stuck, and I’m not considering rushing back, but this was a very enjoyable evening. As a side note it really isn’t the fairytale we know and love, I’d be careful about taking younger children.
Next up for me, Les Miserables – can’t wait!