Sunday, 12 October 2014

A Joyous And Joyful Trip To London

With all the driving we did last week, the last thing we needed was a trip to London on Saturday. But, having spent almost £200 on front stalls seats for Shakespeare In Love at the Noel Coward Theatre a few months ago, we weren't going to pour money down the drain and headed off to Ipswich to catch the 12.09 train. We were in good time until I foolishly followed a Satnav route that suggested we would arrive much earlier than expected instead of sticking to the planned journey. The Satnav woman was clearly unfamiliar with Ipswich Saturday traffic and we ended up collecting our tickets from the machine at the Station at 12.08 and walking straight through the barriers and onto the train. That might look like a case of perfect timing but it was, in fact, a pretty stressful arrival. 

As we can only manage a theatre trip once every month or two we have to be choosy and rely on the critics and pick only the shows that get four or five stars in the newspaper. Shakespeare In Love was universally acclaimed - and deservedly so. It's far lighter than The Crucible  which we saw at the Old Vic recently but it's still a wonderful couple of hours entertainment. We didn't see the Oscar winning movie so the story was fresh and great fun.We enjoyed spotting the Shakespeare references in the play (I'm sure that we missed plenty); my favourite was "out damned spot" directed at one of the play's star turns (I won't spoil it for you). 

Shakespeare's beautiful Sonnet 18 (Shall I Compare Thee To A Summer's Day) figures largely in the play. It's my favourite Shakespeare sonnet and features in my own novel Give Me Your Tomorrow as well as inspiring the title The Darling Bids Of May and John Mortimer's book Summer's Lease. I think this use of Shakespeare's beautiful love poetry added a great deal to Shakespeare In Love and made it not just a great comedy but also a fabulous love story. The magnificent set was fabulous and the curtain call was one of the most joyful theatrical events I've seen in a long time - it brought tears of pleasure to my eyes. If you wan't something entertaining and light but a bit different than the average West End musical give this a try. You will definitely not be disappointed.

I was, however, disappointed by the behaviour of a group of teenagers on the train back to Ipswich. They were wearing badges which indicated involvement in a Youth Parliament event. God help us if any of that lot ever get elected. Loud, boisterous, inane and totally oblivious to the rest of the passengers these loud mouthed thirteen to seventeen year olds (plus a couple of adults - teachers?) were so childishly noisy they ruined the journey for everyone nearby. They weren't using bad language but were so loud and full of themselves that they seemed oblivious to the thought that maybe some in the carriage didn't want to listen to their views or find their practical jokes on their friends funny. As they departed at Ipswich their table was piled high with rubbish - politicians eh!

Rochester is big in the political news at the moment due to the defection of their MP to UKIP and we're off there again on babysitting duties tomorrow. and staying for a week this time. I'll be taking these 20 copies of my novel to post while we are there. Over eight hundred people entered the Goodreads competition to win a copy. I hope that the recipients in Canada, the USA and England enjoy the novel and leave some decent reviews to help me to promote sales.