Monday, 11 October 2010

Recent nights out: Faust, Shirley Valentine

I'll say what makes me happy in London: the environment, when it's outside and you're not dealing with people or requesting services, is g-o-o-d. All those European trips a few years back just come back to me all at once - the air, the sky, the abundance of things to see and explore...this city is popular for a reason. We've only been here for less than a month and we're kind of laid back when it comes to going out, but we've already seen two performances, randomly picked by moi.

The first one's an opera by the ENO, a production of Faust.



Of course we all vaguely know the story, but to be honest it's really vague - all I knew is that there's this person who trades his soul for an eternal life, or something along those lines... and of course S didn't know ANYTHING about it at all. :) So we saw it one night, were a bit startled that there were still people who would dress up for events like this (well, it's probably our problem, not theirs), and I felt a bit tortured having to stay still in the seat for 3 hours. The performance was okay, but to be honest, without the subs we wouldn't be able to understand a thing - the singing in old language was really a bit of a challenge! Like I said, it's a good 3 hours, and it's really a bit too long, considering the second act's a bit tedious, as S put it. But it's a good experience overall.

We saw the second performance on my birthday.



I picked this when I saw who's in it - it's good old Meera Syal! I read a couple of her books some years ago, and I wanted to see her as a performer on stage. Of course there are always these 'stars' who try to make it on stage, but it's not always good. Syal is, I think, terrific in delivering the goods. She was performing alone throughout the 2 hours (which reminded me of Jim Chim in Hong Kong), and she's good. She plays this Liverpudlian housewife stuck in her home and marriage who decides to find her life back in Greece. The story's kind of cliche, of course, and it's really not worth mentioning much, but Syal's animated throughout, and I was particularly impressed with the different accents she adopted. An enjoyable performance!

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