So I’m feeling very cosmopolitan right now, sat in a coffee shop in the centre of London sipping a skinny iced latte (perfect drink for a sunny afternoon) with headphones in, sunglasses on (yes I’m inside but doesn’t that just add to the allure!) and iPad out, ready to begin my next entry. For this one I thought that I would continue my daily blogs (aren’t I on a roll!) with a play I saw earlier this year, a mini trip down memory lane if you please. This particular play I’ve chosen because it is part of a series that’s on in London this year and I recently booked tickets to see another in a couple of months.
Also I was thinking about the concept behind this play earlier today, musing how people can seem so calm and self-confident on the outside whilst battling inner demons that only a few can relate to. Ooh how deep! Yes I do have meaningful thoughts I’ll have you know. This philosophical train of thought of the morning subsided when I watched an episode of Great British Bake Off – you can’t think too deeply when 13 contestants are scrambling to make angel food cake in 2 hours. Eh tense though!
Anyway, I took one of my regular theatre friends to see Peter and Alice at the Noel Coward Theatre, part of the Michael Grandage Theatre Company series (overload of big theatrical names there). Michael Grandage is a British theatre director and producer and his name is currently plastered over the West End on posters of 5 plays that are running over a 12 month period at the Noel Coward. Underneath his name are pictures of a few people you might know – Judi Dench, Daniel Radcliffe, David Walliams and Jude Law for example. All are starring amongst others in the plays, so of course demand for these is high.
Peter and Alice was the first of the plays in the series I managed to see. We got cheap £12 tickets to sit in the balcony – sometimes this can be a tricky move, you never know whether you’ll be able to get the full atmosphere of a play when sat in the gods. What helped here were the two leads, Ben Whishaw and Judi Dench. Ben has a terrific knack for drawing you right in to his character and seems to convey so many hidden emotions with the simple words he utters. And Judi, well enough said. Her last name is now synonymous with the epitome of cool to us hip youngsters (yes I am still young… At heart anyway). She could whisper a word and it would resonate around any theatre up to the gods, such is her gravitas.
So the play revolves around the first meeting between Alice Liddell Hargreaves and Peter Llewellyn Davies, both of whom are uniquely special in that they are the people upon which 2 of children’s literature’s most famous characters are based – Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan. Very intimate in setting, the play is performed straight through with no interval and doesn’t call up any bells or whistles, any bangs or flashy sets or audience participation. No obvious humour, no OTT tear jerking moments to draw in the audience. The way it works is with a fascinating insight into how an individual must attempt to process the price of fame – a fame not of their own making but nevertheless thrust upon them.
Have to admit, the seats were definitely enticing you to fall asleep (so comfy) and I was TIRED that day, but I was completely drawn in. I think this play could have been a flop, but Judi and Ben were so in tune that you couldn’t help but watch. After all, it’s M and Q, but no gadgets or 007 sass here.
To continue my literary expedition, word of the day – gravitas. Mainly because I used it in my blog!