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.