Feb. 24th, 2016

albadger: (Named Death the Streetcar Is)
Did I not post in Amsterdam? No reason to, a very brief trip, nothing much happened. I actually turned the TV on to Comedy Central and just knitted. Comedy Central in the Netherlands, as it seems to be in Germany, is just repeats of American sitcoms, mostly the animated ones. In Germany they dub them all, in the Netherlands it's all in English with subtitles. Bob's Burgers and Archer are the best in either case.
Then the ride from Hoek van Holland to Harwich, a "ferry" that approaches a cruise liner in ambience, including two decks of very nice cabins. Those cost a pile for the night crossings, but in the daytime they give them away for peanuts, so I grabbed one and had a very refreshing nap. Perfectly calm seas, and we were part of a HUGE convoy, so it seemed -- in reality it's such an incredibly busy shipping lane there will always be a bevy of ships out your window. Also passed an offshore wind farm, very dramatic. The bus ride from Harwich to London, a bit less so.
Now at a hotel next to Euston Station (pronounced "Houston," and a flash back to the Netherlands here, Gouda is pronounced "Howda"). Tuesday through Thursday are about going to theater, and it's total conicidence that every one of the shows I'm going to is right on the Northern line of the Underground, which goes through Euston (actually here because the sleeper train to Edinburgh leaves out of this station).
Tuesday being over I can talk about the first two shows. I hadn't bought a Tuesday matinee ticket ahead of time, assuming I'd be spending all day getting laundry done, but laundry only took an hour, and the St. Martin's Theater being nearby, I tubed over and bought a cheap same-day ticket to <a href="https://www.the-mousetrap.co.uk/Online/" target=new>the Mousetrap</a>, world's longest running play. Meh, it's okay, serviceable content-free clockwork in the Christie style, and the lead role was played with a great deal less subtlety than the community theater in Castro Valley managed a few years back. But the theater itself more than worth the price, a delightful 1916 jewel-box, so I had a good time. A short refreshing nap during Act II did NOT mean I didn't enjoy the show. Just that I found it restful.
Evening show was much better, Jeff Wayne's concept album <a href="http://www.dominiontheatre.com/theatre/war-worlds/" target=new>War of the Worlds</a> is being staged, with Wayne himself conducting. Kind of a must-see, though I was a bit worried when the publicity material played up Liam Neeson, who pre-filmed segments. Was it all going to be canned, I fretted. No need to worry. Live (if heavily amped) 13-piece string section and 11-piece rock-style band, chorus of oodles, all the sung parts done live. The theater's been rigged up for fancy lights, fire effects, projection screens, and surprise giant props. Actually came off more like a rock concert than musical theater, and was great fun. But this will NEVER get brought across the pond, I'm afraid. Oh, extra points for the understudy who went on for the Artilleryman, and was both Fabulous and Boffable.
Trying to keep the theater to things that WON'T cross -- tomorrow matinee is an Ibsen at the Old Vic with Ralph Fiennes, so probably not transferring to Broadway. And that's also on the Northern Line!
albadger: (Hitchcock)
There's a Sainsbury's in Euston Station, and after I get back from the theater it's more convenient (and cheaper!) to buy dinner there & carry it back to the hotel. So of course I need to get a new bag for 5p every time. I know they will be of good use!

Today I took a little detour that I've been dreaming of for years, and rode out to the Leytonstone station on the Central line to see the Hitchcock Mosaics... I took pictures of course, and they're horrible, other people have documented these better than I did, but it was great to see them in person.

Matinee was "the Master Builder" at the Old Vic, with Ralph Fiennes in the lead, solidly translated and performed, and, even better, my seat was next to a pillar AGAIN! They make the best seatmates, though the lady on the other side of the pillar engaged me in conversation and was quite interesting. She approves of my plan to eat haggis in Scotland but warned me that "there's good haggis and there's bad haggis."

Evening show was Hangmen from aging infant terrible Martin McDonagh. Enjoyable enough from moment to moment, but it failed to build and repeated a lot of the writer's go-to tropes. More to the point, if anybody gives you a free ticket for Balcony A-26 in the Royal Court Theater, DO NOT GO. Don't go even if they offer you money, up to $750. It's not really a seat, it's a little angled bench tucked off the side of the stairs, with barely room to side facing sideways, and you have to turn at a painful angle to see the stage properly. Only 20 £, which by my count is 558.38 £ overpriced. Happily, Sainsbury's has aspirin. And I have another Sainsbury bag!

Tomorrow, Shakespeare in the indoor theater at the Reconstructed Globe, and then the Caledonian Sleeper! Very excited by that.

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