Thursday, June 5, 2014

Waterloo Sunset. . . After the Theatre

The view from Waterloo Bridge as we walked home after a powerful and moving performance by Kevin Spacey of Clarence Darrow at the Old Vic Theatre. Rousing and inspiring, a reminder of the dark side of humanity, capital and state against labour, but also of a potent history of resistance that might continue to act as beacon. A one-man play that lasted just under two hours, less the fifteen-minute intermission, the performance must have been exhausting purely in its physical demands, and Spacey was unflagging throughout. Never appearing to shout, he was gratifyingly audible even to someone with my hearing issues. The theatre in the round must be a challenge to play for, the demand that audience from every direction get equal access to the actor's face and gestures. Truly, Mr. Spacey earned every second of the spontaneous standing ovation that brought him back for curtain calls until the lights dimmed in a clear signal to the audience that perhaps the man deserved to be done for the evening.

Natural and convincing as an elderly Darrow with some mobility issues, Spacey took absolute control of the theatre, gathering us into the various stories of Darrow's legal career and the history of American labour that it mirrored. He occasionally played with the audience, directing questions at specific rows as if addressing a jury, at one point even sitting down next to an attractive young woman, flirting with her to illustrate his own putative flirtation with Free Love. And yet he was able in an instant to erase completely any distractions the audience might have created, sweeping us back into our absorption in Darrow's life.

Pater is still chortling to himself over scoring the tickets, as the performance certainly worked toward switching my mood much further into the upbeat zone. Seeing a favourite author in the audience (Salman Rushdie!) was icing on the cake!

So he got to pick the restaurant for dinner, and little surprise that we ended up at the Punjab Restaurant at Neal's Yard. Regular readers will not be surprised, either, to know that we walked all the way back from the Old Vic, and then from Neal's Yard, enjoying the city at night, the walk to aid digestion, so that sleep came readily after we climbed the 45 or so steps up to our little room.

Yesterday we were at the Tate for the stunning Matisse Cut-outs and a brilliant Lunch with a View, on which perhaps more later. For now, we're off to find some good weather on our last day in London. Feel free to cross your fingers for us.

 

11 comments:

  1. You're in London! Enjoy. I was last there on Friday - an impromptu day out - but currently recovering from some rather extreme dental surgery (still ongoing for me!). Glad you enjoyed the Matisse exhibition. I was wondering whether to try and get to see it.

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    1. Yikes! I suffered through some dental surgery last year- you have my sincere sympathy. I recommend the Matisse. Despite having seen a few big Matisse shows over the past few years, I thought this really added to. Y understanding of his work. Plus, it's so joyful!

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  2. It sounds as though you're having a wonderful time! London is such an interesting city! I remember an exhibition of the Matisse cut-outs some years ago at the VAG.
    He was such a talented artist. From your photos, the weather looks good. Have a happy last day!

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  3. Awesome! I'm jealous already. Have fun on your last day in the capital

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  4. OK, that's sounding pretty awesome. I am utterly envious!

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  5. It all sounds fabulous. So glad your mood is picking up!

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  6. Wow...what's not to love?! London, Kevin Spacey, Salman Rushdie, Matisse...did I mention Kevin Spacey?
    Enjoy the rest of your trip!

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  7. Ooh lovely. Thanks for the info. Looks like I may be spending 10 days in the UK this summer, so I am hanging on your every word about theater to take in:).

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    1. 10 days! Wonderful! You'll have so much fun just making the lists!

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  8. Lovely evening views...looks like weather picking up too. Stride out and banish those dull old blues with a lungful of London air! Why not try Hampstead Heath? I used to live up there, perched on top of Parliament Hill, back in the days when you could rent a flat without being a millionaire. If you still feel miserable, look up London Pride on Youtube and sing along with Noel Coward...

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    1. You'll see we tried a version of your plan. . . Subbing Primrose Hill for the Heath....

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