I had a lovely evening last night seeing my gorgeous friend Giles in the lead role playing cookery writer Nigel Slater in Toast at the Other Palace Theatre. He was so good, can’t recommend the play highly enough, can definitely see why it’s had several five star reviews, including from the The Sunday Times. It’s only on for another week or so in London and then it’s off on nationwide tour til the end of the year. If you have the chance to see it do! For more details follow the link below:
I’ve never read Oscar Wilde’s only novel ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ always meant to, but somehow never quite got round to it. So when my friend invited to me see this new stage adaption of the novel I was intrigued. It’s sometimes easier to watch a play than read the book and anyway I knew the main gist of it. To avoid his beauty fading Dorian Grey sells his soul in order that a portrait painted of him ages rather than himself. The play was performed at the Jermyn St Theatre, I’d not been to this particularly theatre before, but it’s tiny and makes for a very intimate performance. The play only had 4 actors and a somewhat basic set. Certainly not the usual slick West End type production, that saying that it was well acted and I did enjoy it and it has definitely inspired me to finally read the novel.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is another book I read as a teenager while at school. When it was first adapted for the stage at the National I was really keen to see it, particularly after it got such rave reviews. However I just never seemed to get round to it. It transferred to the West End, opened on Broadway, went on a nationwide tour and yet still I never got round to seeing it. Anyway finally I saw that it was about to close and thought I really should get my arse in gear and see it. So I booked tickets with my friend Rup to see it. I’d vaguely remembered most of the basic story of the play, but there was still some nice surprises in the play of things that I’d forgotten, including who crucially who killed the dog. The play was beautifully staged and I enjoyed it. Really glad that I finally got to see it. Make sure you stay for the end where they explain the maths problem.
Another Edinburgh show that I didn’t get the chance to watch in Edinburgh. It’s been a sell out every year at the fringe for five years running. So got to see in London. It’s an entirely improvised play done in the style of a Jane Austen novel. The whole cast is in full regency costume and there’s a live musical accompaniment. The title of the play is set by the audience that night, so no play is ever exactly the same. I love a bit of improv and this is probably one of the most professional and well done versions there is. Some well known comedians among the cast as well, including Rachel Parris and Cariad Lloyd. The show was very funny, really enjoyed it.
As soon as I heard that JK Rowling was doing a stage version of Harry Potter I knew I had to see it. I’m a massive Potterhead. I read all the books as a teenager and have watched all the films multiple times. Tickets were predictable extremely hard to come by, selling out in record times. I tried the Friday ticket ballot multiple times to no avail. Finally on the second big ticket release I scheduled it in my diary and got online and in the queue to big. Unfortunately I was something like number 38,000 in the queue. Annoyed I left for work, however on arriving back home from work that evening miraculously I was just nearing the front of the online queue. I was in and managed to book stall tickets for April. Only problem not April that year, but April 2018! Yes a full sixteen months away. I don’t think I’ve ever had to book anything that far in advance in my life ever before. Anyway after what seemed like an eternity the time came around. I took my school friend Rup with me, we’d both read the Harry Potter books at the same time so I knew he was also a massive Potterhead.
The play is split into two halves and we saw them on preceding days. After so much excitement I was worried I might be underwhelmed, I needn’t have been though the show was excellent. First off I have to give a shout out to the staging and the visual effects, which were the best I’ve ever seen on stage then or since. Apparently they spent a fortune on them and you can really tell, with a play about magic and wizardry you’d expect amazing special effect and that didn’t disappoint. Without giving too much away the scenes with the train and also the dementors were visually stunning. Actually left me in awe and scratching my head about how on early they achieved them. Honestly breathtaking.
The actual play was great as well, no tired spin off here, the writing was spot on as you would expect from JK Rowling. I genuinely believe she could have spun off this story into a full blown additional Harry Potter film franchise it’s that good. I quite like the way she chose to do a theatre production instead though, I think she’s definitely encouraged a lot of younger people who may not have usually gone to see a theatre production to go see a play.
The play is very much a continuation of the books/ films though, so unless you’d seen them I think you may be a tad confused and struggle to follow the plot and what is going on. In fact so much went on I kind of want to see it again so I can study if again in more detail. Just have to try and get another ticket I suppose!