We went to the theatre the other evening - the first time, apart from visits to pantomimes, since I sat through a three hour long so-called Shakespearian comedy as a truculent teenager. The play was an old Alan Ayckbourn farce called Separate Tables that didn’t make me laugh either, that’s if you don’t count a wry smile as a full-on chuckle. But never mind, this theatrical experience was nothing, if not a perfect excuse for my favourite, if slightly ignoble pastime of people watching.
The theatrical outfit involved was a small professional repertory company who would perform a different play every week for the whole of a summer season, so - as you can imagine some of the ‘casting’ was a little awry, but the dogged professionalism of all involved was very impressive.
Anyway, as I am no theatre critic in the making, you can rest assured that I won’t be going into each and every actors performance - nuanced or not, fluent or not! This brings me to the subject I want to describe to you - this being, ‘Us’ the audience. In a completely sold-out small theatre of about 300 seats, to gaze across the stalls was to be confronted by a sea of grey.
It was really quite remarkable. As someone who is only going slightly grey at the temples in the manner of an airline pilot, it was like being trapped on the set of that film ‘Cocoon’ - you know that film about old people who…Oh never mind! Anyway, prior to the beginning of the first act (good eh?) I made a beeline for the bar and was quite surprised that I had to stand five deep at the bar as if getting a pre-match ‘livener’ at Edgbaston Cricket Ground. However, the authorities at Edgbaston could learn a thing or two about pre-ordering half-time drinks as they seem to do in the world of theatre darling.
BREAK A LEG DARLING!
As you can imagine I fell into conversation with two pleasant chaps who told me that they had barely missed a single play of this ‘Rep’ company in almost 10 years - a feat in itself, if you ask me. Nevertheless, I was surprisingly impressed by all involved. The actors on the stage, who ranged from the callow and mildly over-eager - to those who had obviously been doing, what they were presently doing for quite some time.
I’m told that the whole point of Rep - is that as you perform one play, you are learning the lines for the next and so on - not easy, surely? As someone who can’t remember what he said five minutes ago, I am hugely impressed by this facility to memorise and then forget.
For this is what an actor chap told me in the bar after the performance was essential to his sanity. That made it three separate trips to the bar - before, during and after, an evening at the theatre. Clearly, you have to know how to hold your drink if you are a keen theatre goer!
As we left after a diverting evening I happened to mention to you-know-who that the young woman who played the character Ruth in the play ‘would go far’ - she answered “Yes, I could see that - as she spent quite some time trying to get away from you at the bar.” That wasn’t called for - now, was it?
IT’S HOT OUTSIDE!
Joy of joys! Over this UK late summer, August Bank Holiday, the weather has been wonderful. As I write this on Tuesday morning, with luck we can eek out this sunshine and warm temperatures for a few days yet, but alas, already weather blokes on the telly are shaking their heads meaningfully as they predict the end of summer as we know it. This brings me to the hilarious over-reaction that the authorities indulge themselves in when the mercury rises beyond 25 degrees celsius.
On Sunday morning, on the very day that England’s, Ben Stokes, battered the Aussies into submission in the Third Ashes Test Match at Headingly Cricket Ground, Leeds - (I thought I’d give it a mention) we were solemnly told by our betters that we must keep out of the sun between 1pm and 4pm (honestly!)drink plenty of water, wear factor 50 sun-screen and throw buckets of cold water over old people whether they like it or not. This afternoon, we are off to the Winchcombe Country Fayre and if you don’t hear from me again, it could be that I have succumbed to heat stroke and therefore I am incapacitated. But, don’t bet on it!
IT’S COLD INSIDE!
For those of you who have recently visited a British supermarket, the following factoid will not surprise you in the least. Indeed, why is that supermarkets here are freezing cold all year round? At first, I thought it was me - but, low and behold it is true - these places are bitterly cold and sometimes winter weather gear is needed when entering these establishments.
When it comes to these left-field observations, friends and readers alike, tend to take my ravings with a pinch of salt. But not anymore! For instance - did you know that 2% of all electrical power generated in the United Kingdom goes on keeping supermarket fridges and fridge freezers very cold indeed? Think about that one. And whilst you do, just imagine what percentage of power produced would be needed to keep supermarket fridges freezing in places such as Australia or Saudi Arabia? In the meantime please consider this. Are we as a nation - going completely doolallytap?
YOU SAY, ‘LEEDO’ - I’LL SAY, ‘LYDO’….
Apropos nothing! Towards the end of this week we will be taking a couple of our grandkids for a day out at our local lido. By the way, - is that pronounced ‘leedo’ or is it ‘lydo’? Never mind, we’re on like a bonnet! I’ve been elected to make the egg sandwiches that the kids apparently love so much and all is set fair for a lovely day out. Happily, I can swim, so hopefully there will be no hysterics from me, when I dive bravely into the pool and strike out in a manly fashion across the swimming pool - unlike, it has to be said, my recent embarrassing attack of vertigo in a play-park. However, I am a little concerned about lido’s in general.
As a child, I always felt that these places always smelled “funny” - a sort of damp unpleasantness mixed with a faint whiff of childlike urine - the sort of place where verruca’s lurk with intent. Wish me luck, I don’t think I could take another humiliation on a family day out.
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