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Oh, so civilised

September 8, 2019

One of the joys of living in London (or New York) is the availability of so much wonderful theatre. A particular treat for me has always been dinner and the theatre.

When one moves from London to an island off the west coast of Canada, there are certain things one accepts will cease to be part of everyday life.

Happily, it turns out the theatre is not one of those things. For the past several years I’ve been involved in a lot of theatre on the island, either appearing in or directing many productions. In either capacity it is well-nigh impossible to consider going out for dinner before a show.

Fortunately for me, I had a ticket yesterday for the first show by a new theatre company on the island and a friend who thought dinner beforehand at the very good restaurant on the island was an excellent idea. A glass of rosé, a delicious meal, a decadent desert and the evening wasn’t over – it was just getting started.

the blue room

I’m a great fan of David Hare’s writing, although I confess I’d never heard of The Blue Room,  described thus in Outlier Theatre’s promotional material: “Freely adapting Arthur Schnitzler’s 1900 play Der Reigen, which provoked a prosecution for obscenity and was meant as a dramatic exposé of the decadence of Austrian society, Hare has moved the action from turn-of-the-century Vienna to modern London and infused the sketches with witty and provocative modern nuances. The Blue Room depicts a daisy chain of ten sexual encounters between five women and five men all played by two actors portraying the hypocrisy, the folly and the loneliness of the human roundelay.

Fuck me, that last line about the human roundelay is good. I wonder who wrote it?

Anyway. I know Roger, who directed the play and appeared in the male roles. The first time I met him was at the auditions for my one-act play, That’s Nice, in which he was cast – and did an excellent job – as Ralph. It was a joy to work with him and to discover such a great talent had arrived on our island.

I knew Roger would be good – he’s good in anything he does. I knew nothing about Heather, the actress (yes, yes, I know, I’m supposed to say “actor” for everyone now, but old habits die hard) playing the five female roles. Bloody hell. She was amazing, so completely present in every moment throughout.

This is a challenging play for many reasons. Bravo to Roger for taking it on. And bravo and brava (I believe you’re still supposed to say “brava” about a female performance, but who knows these days?) to Roger and Heather.

A delicious meal, followed by a fantastic piece of theatre. Oh, so very civilised. I’m not sure I could have done better in London last night.

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