Journal: Pages 49-50

  

31 May 2003, Saturday: Oslo - London

   
What was once considered a mere layover for a long, exhausting trip turned out to be a lavish coup d'grace. Then again, this is London, one of the most cosmopolitan metropoli on the planet.  
  

ACT Productions / A Really Useful Theatre

       

The fun started as a simple ride on the double-decker bus from the parkside hotel at Lancaster Gate to the usual West End crowd depots -- the shops along Oxford Street, the seedy alleys of Soho, the aroma of Chinatown and the cinemas of Leicester Square. I didn't even want to burden myself with the camera, having thoroughly soaked my back with perspiration during the trip from Stansted on this sunny, warm and humid afternoon -- not to mention the dread of dropping the camera again, or having it snatched away.

   
After a 15:00 dinner of roast beef and Yorkshire pudding at The Shakespeare's Head on Carnaby Street -- I had the entire Victorian dining hall above the pub to myself -- I noticed that one of my most admired thespians, Sir Ian McKellen, is appearing at the Lyric on Shaftsbury. Forsaking any last pretense of frugality, I dropped the 34.50 for a very front row seat.

McKellen isn't the only living legend in this production of August Strindberg's sardonic Dance of Death (adapted by Richard Greenberg); with him is his longtime colleague, the brilliant Frances de la Tour. Together with Owen Teale and under the direction of Sean Mathias, this funny yet sad drama about a destructive marriage of two spiteful characters practically exiled in a remote Swedish island outpost has all the existential angst of an early Ingmar Bergman film (even Maja, a shadowy cloaked figure just short of a scythe of death, was

 
 
Switzerland (2002, 2003) 1-2 3-4 5-6 7-8 9-10 11-12 13-14 [Liechtenstein 15] 53 
New Zealand (2002) 16 17-18 19-20 21-22 23-24 25-26 27-28
New Zealand (May-June 2004) 54 55-56 57-58 59-60 61-62 63-64 65 72 
Australia (2004) 66 67-68 69-70 71
New Zealand (November 2004) 73-74 75-76 77-78 79-80 81-82

     

   
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