It's been a busy weekend. Although not on Saturday, when the only two things that occupied me were staying bed for as long as possible and a trip to Sainsbury's to get supper.
Of course, the weekend starts on a Thursday these days, so Thursday evening we went to the cinema to see The Book Thief. Neither of us realised it had only just opened, but that would explain why we hadn't read any reviews. It was probably a good thing we hadn't. The reviews range from awful to very awful. Not that it mattered to us...we both rather liked it. We hadn't read the book either so had no expectations on that level either. Anyway, it is (roughly) about a girl adopted by a Bavarian family. Her brother was also supposed to have been adopted but he dies before they arrive. The mother is gruff, the father a sweetie. They hide a young jewish lad in their cellar...and no more before it all becomes a spoiler. For us, the beautiful setting (there's no getting away from the fact that Bavaria is a beautiful part of the world) made the tragedy of war, and the Jews in particular all the greater....the parts were generally well played all round, and there's nothing wrong with some obvious emotional string pulling is there? If you want to see a weepy, this is the one.
Friday night and we headed off to see A Taste of Honey by Shelagh Delaney which is on at the National at the moment. At the time this was a quite shocking play, particularly as it was written by a nineteen year-old. Many of the issues that it deals with - unplanned pregnancy, mixed race-relationships, homosexuality, bad parenting and impoverishment, are commonplace in the media now...but it wasn't hard to imagine the impact fifty years ago....to such an extent that if you closed your eyes during the performance, it was easy to imagine the whole thing in black and white. Apart from some overacting in some places, and one or two odd directorial issues, the whole thing was superb. It's unusual for me not to fall asleep in the first half of a play these days when the performance has been preceded by a glass or two of red wine, but I stayed awake, alert and totally engrossed. The play makes the point that despite the awfulness of some people's lives, life just goes on and on and on in an endless cycle which just repeats itself time after time...and it made it very well indeed. In itself it's a perfect period piece, and does make you reflect on modern day issues...
In a much more elegant way, we had a great evening at the Sam Wannamaker theatre...an evening of Mozart and storytelling. Not much to say other than it was a gorgeous candle-lit evening, and it's always a joy to hear Mozart played on original instruments, especially when there's some good commentary to go with it.
So, back to my header.