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After three weeks of no shows I came back to London theater going with a vengeance, hitting four shows my first week back and five the next. My show going got off to a bad start, with a run of shows that left me desperate to exit but without the grace of an interval to cover my departure. The lowlight was an amateur version of Dante's Inferno I saw at an "alternative performance space" in Shoreditch. It was so bad it made me angry. Been a while since that happened.

Nearly as awful but redeemed by campness the King Lear that Brian Blessed decided to star in was at least deliberately wretched - or that was my take. I in no way felt that they were talking down to the audience: no, we were being pandered to. So be it.

There comes a time when you lose your hope that you'll ever see a good show again. Do they all suck or can you just not appreciate it anymore? In a sea of brokenness, Tree at the Old Vic made me realize it's not me, it's them, because excellent theater was easily available just a few steps from Waterloo station. Whew!

And finally, I present the thought-provoking Dara at the National Theater. It's a flawed play, but as a story of princely ambitions I found it entrancing; in the wake of Charlie Hebdo, it's unmissable. It's not a response, of course, because it was written four years ago, but right now it's what thinking people ought to be seeing. It's also a rather excellent experiment addressing the suggestions I raised in my editorial about the lack of diversity in London theater programming: Dr Webcowgirl says we know what the cure is, now more theaters just need to do it.

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varina8
Jan. 28th, 2015 05:24 am (UTC)
I read your diversity post and hope it gets a wider audience. Funny you should mention August Wilson. The Seattle Rep is doing The Piano Lesson right now, to strongly positive reviews and full audiences.
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