Friday, 11 March 2016

Seek the lofty

I am off to the Big Smoke for a flying visit and thought I would bring things up to date before I left, just in case anything happens while I'm there that's worth writing about. First, there has been a satisfactory conclusion of sorts to the latest round of the Osprey book-ordering saga. Waterstones have acknowledged that a refund of £0 wasn't going to cut the mustard and have given me back all my money plus £5 as a goodwill gesture. I have immediately reinvested it in second hand copies of the same books from AbeBooks. They're no cheaper than the price of new ones, but surely I can assume that they already exist and are printed on both sides of the page; can't I?

Second, I have been to see The Matchmaker, the play by Thornton Wilder which was the original of the musical Hello Dolly. It was enjoyable enough, but also proved a truism that I have mentioned before: comedy is the hardest form of acting to do well, and farce is the hardest form of comedy to pull off successfully.

Third, and speaking of comedy/farce, I have been to see Hail, Caesar!, which was amusing, if somewhat unfocussed. It may presuppose a knowledge on the part of viewers not just about classic era Hollywood, but also of the life and works of Marx (Karl not Groucho), but 50% of the audience at the screening I was at were definitely experts in the latter; I can't speak for the lady sitting a couple of rows behind me.

Fourth and best, I have been to see Thea Gilmore. I have reported on seeing her before - indeed she was the recipient of the eagerly sought after Epictetus gig of the year award in 2014 - so I won't say too much this time. Suffice it to say that she and husband Nigel Stonier were as good as ever, still performing an intriguing mixture of her own stuff, plus covers of songs by bands such as Guns 'n' Roses and the Damned.

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