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.