Sunday, 10 April 2011

In Which There is Friendship, Family and Theatre

This weekend has been lovely, in all sorts of ways. For a start, my best and oldest friend, J came down for the weekend, then it has been a wonderful sunny weekend, warm enough that we were able to spend time sitting out in the garden, reading the papers and enjoying the warmth.

On Saturday afternoon we went over to visit my 2nd cousin, who was celebrating her 80th birthday, then we went for a meal out, and to cap it all, we had tickets to see Derek Jacobi, and a wonderful cast, in King Lear.

It was good to see my cousin - most of the other guests were her friends and members of her church, but another of my dad's cousins was there with his wife, so I was able to do a little catching up with family, then J and I headed into Bath for a meal, before going on to the theatre.

The meal was at a rather nice Greek restaurant on the river - I haven't been before, but after sharing some very tasty meze, I'd be more than happy to go again..

Then on to Bath Theatre Royal. Way back in September, I bought tickets for this production, which has been playing at the Donmar Warehouse in London. I have been a huge fan of Derek Jacobi's since I first saw him as a teenager, and I know J would be keen to come too, and, being a Friend of the theatre I was able to take advantage of priroty booking, and get excellent seats in the middle of the front row of the Royal Circle.

Derek Jacobi and  Pippa Bennett-Warner
It was a wonderful production - a very plain set, and little in the way of props or set dressing. with the exception of the Fool, the costumes, too, were almost monochrome, which left nothing to distract from the strength of the actors and the play.

Lear is hardly a sympathetic character, but Jacobi manages to evoke sympathy, as Lear decends into madness and confusion, and the vengeful, tyrannical King becomes a bewildered, innocent old man.

Gina McKee and Justine Mitchell, as Goneril and Regan were both very strong - Goneril calculating from the start, Regan more changeable, becoming almost manic.

Edmund and Edgar (Alec Newmwn and Gwilym Lee) were excellent - Edmund initially appearing engaging, but quickly revealing his duplicitous, calculating behaviour, Edgar first aappearing somewhaat ineffectual, but later showing is strngth in furst supporting, then avenging his father.

All in all, it was an absolutely stunning performance - well worth the wait!

As an added bonus, he programmes, while a litle more expensive than usual, are beautiful - free from any  advertising, and including a full copy of the script, and a number of photos from the production.  A great souvenir of the production.

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