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Temples I visited

Wednesday: Bayon (gear carvings), Baphuon (neat causeway, Buddha on the back, part of Angkor Thom), Phimeanakas (jungly, no art, men's and women's pools); Terrace of Elephants and Leper King; Ta Prohm (the jungly one); Angkor Wat. Day two: Banteay Srei; Banteay Samray.


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Update on my New Year's resolutions

I did actually go dancing three times in January: swing dancing, "disco" dancing, and ceilidh dancing. February I'm lined up for another ceilidh and then a weekend doing Balfolk with Henri: I expect it to be marvellous!

Running is making some progress, as I made it to 6 K but have been distracted from 7K by the cold. I expect I'll do it within the next week, though, then 8 K by the end of Feb. Go go go!

Savings; I'm within £500 of my pre-illness savings levels thanks to a check from the tax man. So I should hit it by April. Hello, three goals reached!

Otherwise - I still have a lot of things for my life I need to sort out. I'm thinking about moving to Australia. I haven't been writing at all.
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Reviews: Dara, Brian Blessed, the worst show in three years, and Tree

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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Getting older

One of the benchmarks of young people, for me, has been how, when talking, they define themselves by what they like. Later, of course, people tend to define themselves by what they do: at some point, I'm hoping I can see myself more in terms of what I've done ( which seems not much, still).

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Start as you wish to continue

I spent today doing a beach crawl (so I call it) with my friend Katie. We visited (and swam at) four different beaches between about 1 and 5 PM today. We probably didn't stay in the water for more than 10 or 15 minutes at any place, as there was quite a lot of walking to do, but it was really great and I like to think I've set a record I'll have a hard time beating. Beating these kinds of records, where the thing you are doing is intrinsically fun, is actually a very good time.

Meanwhile I'm getting ready for my trip to Thailand. This will be totally on my own, a not entirely new but still scary experience. I'm ticking off my to do list tonight: check weight limit; set up airport transfer; get application to be a writer in residence for a theater festival done (check!). Hopefully all will go well, especially the bit where I'm going to Angkor Wat. Really, the life list is getting checked off at a tremendous rate this week.
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New Year's Eve 2014

It's New Year's Eve where I am. Plans for today are: go kayaking, learn how to make a paavlova, get in an application for a writers' workshop, watch fireworks from rock pools. Start as you wish to continue, eh?
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Reviews: Hope, Spymonkey at Wiltons, White Christmas

Last week's "seven shows in six days" was pretty exhausting. Thank goodness for Jordi Savall on Friday so I could have a night of something I didn't have to review! The night before had been a well meaning but dull political play with some comedic value: Hope. I was really happy that there was a play with an actress with Down's syndrome happening - that was great - but otherwise it needed more punch.

Then it was time to "celebrate the season" which I did with Amy and then Alex. Amy and I went to see White Christmas - the kind of thing that really gets your hopes up. Amy found it less enjoyable than the movie for many reasons that could mostly have been dealt with by the scriptwriter of the stage version: read her notes here. Less disappointing but still flat was the Spymonkey show at Wilton's Music Hall - they were having fun, I wasn't. Except for going with my friends - that makes any afternoon/evening enjoyable.

This week it's three pantos in a row, Wedesday/Thursday/Friday, but the reviews will be on The Public Reviews before they make it to my blog - their requirements. Then Saturday it's another DOUBLE HEADER and then believe it or not I'm just seeing one play in all of the next week - but I get to see Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back so that will be a-okay in my book.
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Reviews: all of the pantos; God Bless the Child; Assassins; Here Lies Love

It's been a generally excellent autumn for theater in London. The National has an extremely enjoyable new musical, Here Lies Love, which seems like it could be dull (Story of Imelda Marcos) but is actually a great time. A somewhat distant theater has put on a play that's a live-action Cthulu RPG; I found it an excellent modern day horror play. More frightening was Assassins at the Menier, which is the best show on right now and gothy as fuck. Chilling and comic was God Bless the Child, which posits a state trying to basically teach children to sit down, shut up, and feel good about themselves - and one child realizing what is being done to them.

And then you have the pantos, which are on full blast right now. Surprising excellence was on tap at the Rosemary Branch theater, where their comic western Billy the Kid put Aladdin in the Old West, but with really excellent singing and so many saucy jokes I thought it was adults only. Listed as adults only but in no ways as entertaining was Treasure Island: Curse of the Pearl Necklace: let down both by the actors and the writing team, I think. None of that at the Prince of Wales pub, where A Lad in Tights was rude, crude, and absolutely hilarious. This is the one I'll try to see again.

Stay tuned for next week, when I see THREE MORE PANTOS in a row. The horror!