Despite a stupid week/month and stupid weather, we were off to see Godot. in what was, frankly, the best production I've seen, and will probably ever see of it.
It had everything I could ever want, including, and especially, a cast of four absolute faves: Hugo Weaving, Richard Roxburgh, Luke Mullins and Philip Quast. Quast was a most theatrical Pozzo, and Luke's aptly named Lucky entirely stole the show from Hugo and Rox, which is no mean feat, as the two boys were on top form, clowning about, completely owning the stage while portraying such lost, almost ghostly souls, and there was a real affection there, which I think make for the best Didi and Gogos. The history the actors can draw on really helps sell the sady adorable co-dependence of our two heroes.
Despite the much reported troubles with the production, I think, personally, it was all the better of it, the cast having been made to wait for a director that never arrived (that particular irony not lost on anyone), I think, saved them from overthinking it and filling the blank empty spaces with too much trickery. (I know I'm not normally one for bare empty spaces, but it's Beckett, it's required - what I object to is staging high Victorian drama as post-Beckett bleakness, it's not appropriate and not clever).
I also came to a further understanding of the text. Not that I'll ever understand it (Christian allegory? Real? Fantasy? Past? Future? Some never-realm? a dream? A nightmare?), but I got further in it than I ever had before. That was solely due to Mr Weaving and Mr Roxburgh, giving the best performances I've ever seen of them. I last saw Hugo as the icy Valmont, what a change his Vladimir was, he seemed to be delighting in the shaggy, shameless, theatrical tramp. Richard's Estragon seemed to be Cleaver infused with Chaplin. Much pulling down of hats and falling about.
And the boots. I could really empathise with the boots - I'm sure I must have been the same pulling off my boots on Saturday night. I think the jetlag/sleep deprivation helped, too. I could really understand where he was coming from (man, I was so tired I came home to find I'd left my light burning all day, cheers for the bill next month).
It was really, really good. One of those performances I wish they'd record and beam out like NT Live, just so they could see what our top starred boys can do.
It was also a lovely piece of synchronicity, fitting in nicely with my programme of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead and Hamlet. Three points of a triangle, if you will, for I'm told R+G is pretty much a mash up of Hamlet and Godot, and seeing them now so close together, I can see it for myself.
So yeah, did I mention I went and saw Hamlet again. That was a thing. Rebooked tickets, then Toby was off to Hollywood and cut the season short, so I had to rebook again. Managed to get pretty much the same seats again, just the other end of the row (and the B. is so small this means I was only six seats along) and it was a better night all round - no feral audience members and the Smitches (as we are now calling the Toby Schmitz model of Cumberbitches, who were out in force) amused (anyone more embarrassing than me is comedy gold).
Love the puppet show, in lieu of the players, and loved the few remaining characters. Ophelia, in particular, was rendered the most tragic and undertandable portrayal ever of a young girl, out of her deoth, flirted with by the prince, remonstrated by father, then dumped by the flighty prince and then that damned prince kills her father. Small wonder she goes mad, but poor little O. is usually so sidelined she cuts less of a figure than R&G, so it was poor Ophelia's tragedy that I enjoyed most about this production, if enjoyed is the right word.
Toby's Hamlet screams and shouts a lot, and if not for Toby's irresistable urge to clown and flirt, would be entirely unlikeable, and I'm still not sure about the end as we dispense with the usual duel to the deaths (plural), instead we have Hamlet surrounded by the bloody shades of the dead and dying, including himself, and I was left with wondering...
Is this the real life?
Is this just fantasy?
Caught in a landslide
No escape from reality
Open your eyes
Look up to the skies and see
I'm just a poor boy, I need no sympathy
Because I'm easy come, easy go
A little high, little low
Anyway the wind blows, doesn't really matter to me, to me....
You get the idea.
And, oh yes, I couldn't let a day go by without another Shakespeare play. I also saw Comedy of Errors by the Bell Shakespeare Company at the Opera House. It was only a preview, but, hey, it was cheap and the audience was almost entirely made up of American and British tourists, and wasn't it quite the study to watch them laugh at entirely different spots (what the Brits would roar at the Yanks would recoil from, when the Yanks guffawed the Brits remained silent, good luck selling comedy to both markets, yikes).
I loved it to bits. A farce of very little plot: seperated identical twins end up in the same town, hijinks ensue, and this was an oldie even in Bill's time, being based on the Roman, which was based on the Greek - as a trope, it's pretty much prehistoric, as I bet the Greek was based on an even older version.
Nevertheless, with a lot of bold and brassy farce and end of the pier humour (oooh-er), it was lightweight but hilarious, the actors were OTT and yet eactly right, lots of running in and out of doors, and a full on Scooby Doo chase towards the inevitable denouement.
It made me laugh out loud after another awful sob in the loo sort of day, so I could not ask for more. Bless you, boys and girls. A couple of follks in the cast are worth keeping my eye on. They really sold the play, making themselves human and fragile in moments of high farce, which is no easy thing. Definitely a couple to watch there.
And I haven't even told you about the weekend, yet. The weekend of the boots that wouldn't come off without effort. All that standing, you see. Though not as much as I'd feared and dreaded. In fact, I must say, the queues were short, fast, orderly, organised and good natured, and I even managed to accidentally end up at the front of one.
Yes, on a whim (and I paid for this, later), I decided to run off to the Supanova con going off in Adelaide because Jerome (he of Soldier Soldier, Game of Thrones, and my current darling, Ripper Street) was going to be there, and Adelaide also has an entire room in their gallery devoted to my beardy tub thumbing socialist Victorian boyfriend, Mr William Morris, of Morris and Company and PRB fame.
So, off I went, grabbing the bag I stashed from under my desk....no, it wasn't as simple as that. I was so cream crackered that I went off forgetting all sorts of essentials so I had to do a racing round trip back home (and I live so far away from work it's a different climate) and it nearly killed me but I did it. Made it to the aiport on time but I was the only one. Having purchased late and cheap F-me-about fares, they did indeed and I finally made it into Adelaide (via Melbourne!) several hours hours late and totally missing the first Jerome panel. You know, the one good thing about being that freaking tired is that I can just shrug them off because I'm just too damned tired to be irked.
Saturday morning was lovely, the jacaranda trees still out and lovely, but I was anxious, despite the lovely lady in the transport info shop scrawling all sorts of instructions and directions and advice all over my timetable I still wasn't entirely sure what I was doing or where I was going, but it was, eventually (very eventually) simply a case of following the Ewoks.
The Adelaide version of Supanova was lovely. I must say this. In Sydney they are so crowded and awful, it's just, well, awful. Here the queues were small, fast, organised and good natured - which is easy when the queues are small, fast, organised and everyone has a reasonable chance of getting the autograph/photo/panel they came for.
I certainly did, and I am amazed (considering my extreme bad luck with these things in dog eat dog Sydney). Okay, I had to miss the Danger 5 panel (noooooooooooooo!!!!) because it was on opposite the only other Jerome panel - and I had great seats for that because when I asked for where the queue was, I was told I was it, so I just stood around like a dick, and it was only when I went inside did I see how long the queue had wound around behind me. Crikey!
It was a good panel, too, nearly as mant Ripper Street questions as Game of Thrones, which surprised and pleased me (I had been feeling as if I was the only fan on the planet). The best bit had to be when someone, there had to be someone, asked Jerome to swing a little Unchained Melody our way, and he said he'd only do that if Mark Addy also did something from twenty years ago, at which point the audience roared with approval and the boys just about tried to bury themselves in the couch once they'd realised how they'd set themselves up.
Sad to say there was no singing or stripping (as much as I enjoy the tighter organisation of your professional con, I miss the old days where you'd get the GoH blind drunk and then he'd perform like a trained bear, too far gone to know better, ah, those were the days).
Got my autographs done, easy peasy. Mr Flynn was surprised to see I'd prised out the covers of one of my old Soldier Soldier volumes for signing. Yes, dear, it played out here. Then he asked if I had the cd, to prove I was a proper fan. Well, really. I'd read an interview where he'd remarked pointedly an folks bringing the cds to be signed at GoT cons so I thought he was totally over it, so I'd actually put it aside, and now here he is, asking me where was it? Can't win. Never mind, jolly nice, if cheeky chappy, and a pleasure to meet (well, I'd be heartbroken if after twenty years of admiration he turned out to be a complete twat, and it wouldn't be the first time) and he dropped a few Ripper Street spoilers on me (cheers, mate) and all done.
Photo with the same gentleman also went wrong as they couldn't get a decent shot of me that wasn't camera breaking, but whatever, at least I got a photo, even if I wanted to burn it afterwards (that's the one they thought turned out best? No wonder people cross the street to avoid me).
It sounds bad, but at the time I was quite happy to have met Mr Flynn, after twenty years of dedication, and to actually get autographs, panel and photo, because it's a darn sight more than I've managed with any Brit thesp passing through the Emerald City this year.
And it's a bloody sight more than I manage with most of my favourite shows. Lookit, dvd bought and signed in a matter of weeks. That's service, that is. That's a lot of luck and silliness. I was very pleased, even if I did make a complete tit of myself.
Managed to get into the George R.R. Martin panel, after much searching of bags and surrendering of all devices, where, instead of a Q&A, the cranky old curmudgeon decided to read chapters from the next, as yet unpublished, book. When George says there are going to be spoilers, he's not kidding. Oh, so not. I could be mean, but no, I will only say hearing the man himself do the war horns sounding from the walls (Awooo! Awoooo!) was a particular treat to be fondly remembered.
Got my book signed, bought some junk and bits and pieces of a steam punky costume, despite sternly telling myself I was on a budget (and I was, tsk), chatted with folks and that was that. I shall fondly remember the lass dressed up as a dragon (I think) it a sweetly homemade costume that had far more charm than the professional outfits, telling me the trick to getting in the driver's seat with the wings attached. What the other drivers must have thought as a wee black dragon whizzed past in traffic I'll never know, though the Adelaidians (?) were extraordinarily laid back. On the bus back to the city a whole crew of manga characters piled on the bus and the grizzled old gent reading his paper up the front never even flicked them a look. I was impressed.
I could have gone the second day but as I'd missed half the panels I wanted to really see, I decided to give it a total miss and give Adelaide a go instead. Shamefully, my first first visit. Ah, well. Without a car, there's not much to see or do, and so, armed with only a barely remembered Year 4 project and a hotel map, I found myself on the streets of Adders.
First of all, all this press about how lovely their main streets are in the evening - no way. Think my rough home town or any British northern town on a Friday night. Much fights and people throwing up in gutters - and it was only 10pm, for shame. The brochure led me to believe it would be a touch more...suave. So now you know why my Adelaide nights were spent with room service and internet telly. And I was staying just down from parliament house and the gallery/museum/uni. In other cities, that usually indicates a better class of folks face down in the gutter. Ah, well.
But by daylight, not too bad. Enjoyed my early morning stroll to the art gallery, admiting jacarandas, architecture, and a couple out for a stroll in high Victoriana gear (whatever, I'd been rubbing shoullders with stormtroopers, like I could say anything except bid them a very good morning).
Loved the art gallery. There was, indeed, a dedicated room of Morris and Company (some rich South Australians had pretty much bought the entire catalogue and the remnants are on display). It wasn't as large a display as I'd hoped, but I wandered around it several times and called myself sated on high Victorian wallpaper and curtains.
Ah, William Morris, my tub thumping, red flag waving artist-socialist beardy Victorian boyfriend. I do wonder if those ladies who lunch (the ones who go to gallery cafes but never go inside) are quite aware that the boy was leading the charge at the Traflagar riots. So sadly funny that poor William's prints now decorate the umbrellas of the middle classes.
But, yeah, fabby wee gallery. Small, but so well curated every piece was an absolute treasure. I just spun with joy in the room with my Longs, McCubbins, Bunnys, Ramseys, Streetons, Roberts, etc. Proper gallery, too. Unlike some (glares in certain direction), it did have old Greek pots, Roman glass and marble, some Egyptian tat, Wedgewood, classy bits of bling (the dragonfly Lalique brooch was the first time I've ever really wanted to punch my elbow through the glass, it was so perfect, and the Lalique vase, oh, my).
I also liked the way the rooms were arranged on themes instead of eras or trends - exactly the right choice for a small but beautiful space with limited but lovely things. So we had love, death, memory and celebrity (with Fat Harry glaring down from the top row in a very Victorian hang).
A sweeter, more delicate collection of Asian arts than I've ever been treated to before, and lots of zodiac/cosmology related pieces, which seemed to all come from a private collection. Anyone working on one of those many, many shows that feature weird conspiracy macguffins (White Collar, Da Vinci's Demons, Sleepy Hollow) should trot along to the Art Gallery of South Australia forthwith, because the freaky bling hangs here.
Watch out for the old brass ventilation grill in the tapestry room though. Apparently I'm not the only victim it's caught, which is why it's the tapestry room and not the priceless Ming vase room, I guess. Face plant, big time, and the guard just wet himself, basically. Cheers, Adelaide.
Had lunch in the cafe, cause it was nice, and had butcher's paper and crayons on the table, though the service was speedy (would that they had crayons in any Sydney cafe you care to mention, I could be finished with Guernica before they even came to take my order).
Finished the day with a wander through Rundle Mall before heading back to the airport. They have another one of those hideous high Victorian fugly fountains, as seen in Sydney and Wick, and this one is called the Jubilee fountain, which of course explains the near identically awful fountains residing in far flung corners of the Empire. Of course. Well, the mystery of the mighty ugly Wick fountain is finally solved (the question being why? Why?).
Back to Sydney, eventually, very eventually, for a rotten week, bar the highlight of seeing Waiting for Godot. Oh, I forgot to mention see the exhibition of American art. It was a bit meh. Not because American art is meh (far from), but they sent out out a rag tag collection of also rans, cheers, and so it's a bit meh all round, meh to the art, meh to the folks who couldn't be bothered sending us a single something impressive to view.
That said, there were a couple of Dances With Wolves type piccies that were evocative, and a couple of early 20thC urban scapes that were interesting if derivative, but mostly, meh. It's a pity, I'd been looking forward to it. Meh.
Rest of the week has been work, work, work, some really nasty comments, of the wishing me dead variety (cheers) and much Doctor Who, because it's my tv blankie, besides being effing brilliant when it's good (and beyond dire when it's bad).
Been watching Doctor Who off and on all day, because the weather has been stormy, and I'm still nursing hurts over being wished dead, and, you know, I won't be watching the 50th anniversary episode with my Dad, but I'll still be watching. That kind of day.
Fish fingers and custard for tea, that's the way.
Doctor Who Animation - 50 Years in Time and Space
Waiting for Tamas - Samuel Beckett's absurdist masterwork is always a challenge, writes actor Richard Roxburgh
Waiting for Godot, Sydney Theatre Company
Two blokes walked on to a stage
Something special in Beckett's show about nothing
Rehearsing for Godot
Charlie Murphy Makes 'Ripper Street' Debut Tonight on BBC One
Behind the Scenes - Life on Leman Street
Goodbye to the splendid 1930s world of Poirot
The Day of the Doctor: TV and cinema screenings
How did Doctor Who reflect the real world?
Doctor Who Google doodle: the story behind the Whodle
Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary celebrated with a Google Doodle
Doctor Who takes fight to the Daleks and Cybermen – and critics of BBC
Queen Elizabeth I
Buring loves playing brothel madam
Edgar Wright Posts “Embarrassing” Photo with Every 100k Twitter Followers
Doctor Who: BBC 'stupid' for axing show in the 1980s
Doctor Who at 50: Tour the Tardis
Whovians illustrate Doctor's uncanny ability to regenerate an audience
Doctor Who: Best moments
Doctor Who: the 10 best stories
Doctor Who's Britain: 50 years of out-of-this-world locations
Australian 'Doctor Who' Fans Gear up for 50th Anniversary Special
Scottish independence: Dr Who claim dismissed
BBC responds to Marco Polo recovery rumors
Alan Turing biopic accuracy questioned
The Mirror Has Two Faces
Supernatural's Ackles and Padalecki: Is Sam Still Ready to Die?
The beginning of the Enz
This photo, posted on ABC Online, is the world's first known 'selfie'
Telstra's copper is 'nearly beyond repair' and 'an absolute disgrace'
Stone-Tipped Spears Were In Use 85,000 Years Before Modern Humans Appeared, Scientists Say
Shocking Medical Devices From Another Century
Qatar's accidental vagina stadium is most gratifying
Trainspotting's Francis Begbie returns in Big Issue Christmas story
Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries author dismisses 'tramp' criticisms
The Morning After Texts of Star Trek: The Next Generation Are Hilarious
Is 'Preacher' coming to AMC from Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg?
Coffin design, from Ancient Egypt to modern Ghana
24,000-Year-Old Body Shows Kinship to Europeans and American Indians
TV sleuths solve mystery of rotating Egyptian statue
THE 10 WORST BRITISH WINTERS EVER
San Francisco transforms into Gotham City for 'Batkid' battling leukaemia
Robot used to round up cows is a hit with farmers
'Breaking Bad' Meets 'Malcolm in the Middle' In Hilarious Alternate Ending, Starring Bryan Cranston
Miss Fisher author dismisses 'tramp' criticisms
What Makes a Great Shakespearean?
These Horrifying Creatures Ought to Be Movie Stars
Tutankhamun's sister goes missing
Melvyn Bragg: My friend Francis Bacon, possessed by devils
White Collar's Bridget Regan: Neal and Rebecca's Chemistry Is "Undeniable"