Monday 24 April 2023

The game is up

The jury remains out on precisely which drugs W Shakespeare had been smoking when scribing Cymbeline, but we'd all like to know. It's not commonly staged: In 1970 (I think) I performed in a production of this play, directed by a far-sighted teacher of English; I saw it again on the West Yorkshire Playhouse stage the evening before one of my weddings in 2006, and then once more last Saturday, produced by the RSC in Stratford.

I managed to enter the auditorium with some very cocky foreknowledge of this madness, but had forgotten (before checking) that this is where the phrases Boldness be my friend (A1,s6), The game is up (A3,s3), and I have not sleep one wink (A3,s4) originate. Now you know.

It's fairly well known that he got a little wacky towards the end, but this play scales amazin' heights; the appearance of Jupiter at the end, descending from heaven amid thunder and lightning, was even better that that depicted by my late friend Peter Gleeson on the Hele's School stage half a century ago. The RSC could have taken advice from us on the length of the play, which kicked off at 7.15 and let us out at 11pm, with two very short intervals. During the second interval we got to look inside a props cupboard which included a dead chicken and a dead goat. How I wanted to nick one (or both) of these.

In preparation we viewed Anne Hathaway's cottage, which remained in Hathaway hands into the C20. There was, recently, a Hathaway gathering at the place, when those attending did not have to pay the £13 entrance fee. I told them I was a Hathaway and asked for a refund: while too courteous to tell me to bugger off, they weren't giving in.

The Crowne Plaza Hotel has corridors that make you feel you are in an Escher drawing

Interesting, but insufficient to make the shocking service bearable.

Anything else? The usual RM hotspots.

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