Culture Catch Up

I’ve been on annual leave for the last week. It was my (rather late) post-Christmas break. Just after Christmas, I didn’t want to be away from either home or St Mary’s, probably due to having just come back from my three-month sabbatical. Hence, I put off taking time off until now.

This year I threw myself into a culture catch-up with a wee trip to London.

Here are the scores on the doors:

Takin’ Over the Asylum at the Citz in Glasgow – solid reworking of a good TV series for the stage Rating: ★★★½☆

La Traviata at the Coliseum
– all done with curtains. The curtains open to reveal a set of curtains, which in turn are pushed apart to reveal a set of curtains, which in turn…. All in all a rather good postmodern interpretation. Then end worked well. You need a good seat for this one. Some of the action happened amongst the audience. Rating: ★★★★½

Cocktail Sticks – a new piece by Alan Bennett about his parents. Made me laugh. Made me cry. Rating: ★★★★☆

This House – an enormous new play by James Graham about the politics of the 1970s and 1980s. In other words, a play about the politics that I first remember. Rating: ★★★★☆

Merrily We Roll Along – The Play. This was a mistake. Booked it at the last-minute thinking I was booking Merrily We Roll Along the Musical. The play is incomprehensible, particularly so in a rehearsed reading. This was a rehearsed reading. Lasted until half time. Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

People – another new play by Alan Bennett. This one had the wonderful Frances de la Tour being an imperious old aristocrat. It also had an actress, a bishop and enough trouser-dropping to prove that farce has not died just because Brian Rix is no longer in charge. It is not Alan Bennett’s greatest work but greater than so many other people’s greatest work nonetheless. Rating: ★★★½☆

Ice Age Art – the Arrival of the Modern Mind at the British Museum. This one is selling out every day – you need a timed ticket to get in. Fascinating, beguiling show of bits and bobs from Europe made by people we know so little else about. Enigmatic “venus” figurines and a ghostly puppet were my favourites. Rating: ★★★★☆

Light Show at the Hayward Gallery. From prehistoric art to the art that depends on the technology of today. (I think we can be pretty sure that none of this will be around in 27000 years). An interesting show. Would perhaps have felt spiritual and holy if one had had the chance to go around it alone. As it was, there were too many other people. (Which was the theme of one of the Bennett plays above, oddly). Rating: ★★★☆☆

Oh, and I met one or two people I know and one or two I know now.

There we go – not a bad week all told. Four and a half plays and two big art shows. Oh, and I also worshipped last Sunday in a small congregation in the West End (just 19 of us gathered right where London’s heart beats strongest) and at Westminster Abbey on Tuesday evening for a gorgeous Evensong with dozens in the cast and hundreds in the congregation.

God was present in both these services.

And in the rest, I’d say.

Quite a lot of dashing about, not least as I was only in London for three nights.

And that’s what I did on my holidays. Rating: ★★★★★


  1. Susan Sheppard Hedges says

    My rating of the post – ******
    That’s as close as I can get to making stars!
    I love your writing and reviewing of cultchah!

  2. I’m currently having a short holiday and the best part of any holiday is the people one meets….so I’m glad to hear you caught up with old friends and met one or two new ones.

Speak Your Mind