There are leaves on the trees here. A light jacket is all you need. It's quite a different country from the London of our winter theatre tour. But inside, the theatre is very much the same--and still very good.
I got last minute obstructed seating to Beyond the Horizon at the Cottesloe, an early Eugene O'Neill play I didn't know and no one else in the audience did either. Two brothers on a farm, both in love with the same woman. She confesses she loves the one who's about to go to sea. So he stays with her, and the other brother, a farmer, gets on the boat. Things do not go well on the farm. At the interval over hazlwnut ice cream we were all guessing how it would end. Not well, as it turns out: the brother on the farm gets TB and dies. We should have known. But it was strong stuff, and it's an amazing fact you have to go to London to see a 1920 pultizer prize winner-- the National theatre does more O'Neill than you'll ever see on Broadway.
Yesterday after a good English queue i got the last return ticket to the sold out Posh at the Royal Court Theatre. This is pure Brit drama, a play about ten Tory undergraduates behaving very badly. They've gathered at a pub to have a ten bird dinner, get very drunk ("chateaued" as they call it), and trash the place. This they do in a great bit of destructive choreography. The play's characters bear a
more than a coincidental reference to the Bullingdon club, of which David Cameron, the new Conservative prime minister, was a member-- there was a well publicized photo of him all dressed up like the cast members of the play. This is probably very unfair, but it is sensational, and persuasive about the callousness of privilege and power. The play is very accurate about boys being boys, very bad boys, moving from uncertain and tentative wit into a drunken savage pack. I had a great time watching these terrific young actors work out-- singing, drinking, trading insults, drinking, bonding, drinking,wrecking havoc.
Only in England would you walk out of an incendiary play like this and find yourself in the middle of Sloane Square, one of London's famously posh neighborhoods. Then a leisurely stroll through Hyde Park, past the Serpentine and Peter Pan, watching the late afternoon sun kiss the soft clouds gold and lavender. A glass of rose on a high street cafe, then a bus home. And it's still light! The night is still young! Ah, civilization!