Now, the forecast said it wouldn't rain.. so I didn't bring a hood.. and so spent the whole day rather dubiously looking at an enormous black cloud hanging over the city. Still, the rain held off, and I set off in good time. Hard not to really - it's under 10 minutes' walk from the office! Lordy, I'll miss that when we move - we have to quit the building by the end of the year, the landlord is having it demolished. Probably turning it into flats, hey-ho. Shoreditch will be rather less handy for the West End - ah well, it was too good to last.
So, into the pretty heart of the West End I went - an easy enough trip, from Seven Dials I had to take Monmouth Street, then just straight ahead, until it appeared on my right.
Chaotic outside, 15 minutes before start time - I followed the folks in front of me, who also had to pick up their tickets. For the cheapest band of tickets, I was in the Upper Circle - Row C, so quite far forward, but to the side:
Comfy enough seat, legroom just slightly cramped - I do believe the gallery isn't used for seating any more, it seemed to be full of rigging: so this is the highest level. Not bad at all.. and they have coin-operated binoculars. Also that "ordertorium" service I came across in the Savoy, where you can order at the interval and have stuff brought to your seat. Mind you, with all the people I had to stand to let past me, I don't think they were aware of it - still, stretching one's legs is popular anyway. The people behind me were Irish - I swear, we're everywhere! Forgot to mention, but as I was leaving the Vasa Museum in Stockholm on Saturday, walking out into the grey drizzle, I overheard an Irish girl remark what a very Irish day it was..
Well, this play is based on Rupert Murdoch's takeover of The Sun, which he turned into a tabloid. It's a real tale of once-upon-a-time.. when there were typewriters, and print rooms, and computers were a rarity. When people actually paid - in large numbers - for newspapers. And I have to say - whatever you think of the trash that The Sun and its ilk have become, as this play portrays it, Murdoch and his newspaper, led by Larry Lamb as editor, were real trend-setters.
Apparently it was their idea to put in horoscopes - and the weather on Page 2 - and, of course, those enormous headlines. And you know, I seem to remember The Sun being a fun, reasonably respectable - if downmarket - paper when I was a kid. The infamous Page 3 girls came a few years later, and the play closes with that, and with the management of the paper showing a whiff of distaste for how things were going. Still, readership skyrocketed - and has remained high ever since.
This is actually fascinating. And the play really puts forward the idea that The Sun was breaking new ground, challenging the stuffy establishment - there's a remark about the liberal lefties trying to subvert the democratic will of the people that made me chuckle, thinking of the political fracas of last year! As one review remarked - as sharp as a paper cut; it's quick and it's clever, like Murdoch himself, and a show to see. Runs until the 6th January - shop around for tickets.
Tomorrow, I'm back with Up in the Cheap Seats for Ballet Boyz at Sadler's Wells.
On Wednesday, back with Funzing (London Speaks Sessions and LDN Talks @ Night) for a talk on Revolution in Iran: Girl with a Gun. This will be an interview with a female Kurdish revolutionary.. on the Battersea Barge, which I believe can get choppy. Never mind. This is one I got for free, for completing a loyalty card with three talks. Or work have a Latino night, some corporate VIP being in town on a visit. I'll see how I feel on the night.
On Thursday, Let's Do This are back to St. Martin-in-the-Fields, where London Concertante is performing Bach Violin Concertos. Then I'm back to Ireland for the weekend again.
And next Monday, back at Southwark Playhouse with Up in the Cheap Seats - this time, it's for A Day By the Sea.