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I had much less time in London this time, so I didn't manage to see all the theatre I wanted to.  This time around I saw The Lion King (you may have heard of it), Betrayal (the Pinter play) and The Railway Children.

The Lion King was predictably good, but its only surprises were visual. I really liked the "grass dance" (for want of a better description).

wasn't a play I knew, so it provoked a lot of post-play discussion and analysis between me and my friend. It has a complicated, Memento-like plot structure that runs backwards chronologically, but also sometimes runs forwards. Figuring out what came when, and therefore what lies had been told in previous scenes, made for good dinner conversation. The performances were all solid. Kristin Scott Thomas was well-within her usual range as an upper-class Englishwoman with unexpected fragilities, but the standout was Ben Miles (from "Coupling") as the seething husband. 

 The Railway Children had to work hard to get past my "I hate adult actors pretending to be children" bias, but it managed to by Act 2. The play wins for "most inventive staging": it's performed in a terminal of Waterloo station, now converted into Yorkshire (you could buy Yorkshire brews during the intermission).  When a real steam train charges onto the stage, it's a genuine thrill. TRC was never my favorite book, but the play was entertaining.
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The second long-promised post. My attempt to redeem myself continues.

I accompanied my siblings to Paris, where I finally got to see the Catacombs and the Musée de l'Orangerie. Game 7 began at 2am the night we arrived, so my siblings dutifully trekked out to a bar in Paris to see it. I mourned Vancouver's loss by getting a horrendous cold, which I nursed all through our trip to Champagne country (my brother, ever optimistic, had arranged it for the next day).

Random Paris moments: wandering through the design studios open houses, seeing the weird things one could conceivably do to chairs and drinking "Disney champagne." (It tasted of fizzy pinkness. I'm not quite sure what it was); running into and learning about the White Dinner, which looked fabulous, and which I'd love to do sometime; and reading upstairs during an improntu piano concert at Shakespeare and Company. 

Crossing the Inception bridge at night on our way back from the Eiffel tower, we were surprised by a young man wearing yellow contact lenses and vampire fangs. He leapt out of the shadows and asked us (in French) to wait one moment because something something something.

My brother, who apparently has low tolerance for a) vampires and/or b) people dressed like them, snarled "NON!" and led us stomping across the bridge... straight through the filming of a highly-choreographed vampire fight scene. The actors halted mid-chomp and looked vaguely embarrassed as we stormed through.

From this I learned that: 1) LARPers and actors should remember that jumping out at strangers while in costume is unlikely to go well, even if they are fluent in your language; and 2) my brother is never going to convert to vampirism, no matter how many episodes of TRUEBlood he watches.

For the record, the vampire film turned out to be called "Blood Dust." I asked the next time I was accosted at dusk by a Parisian vampire, because by then I knew what to expect.
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I'm really bad at updates, aren't I?

So a few weeks ago I went to London to tie up some loose research ends from last summer. My siblings were also passing through London on a European vacation, so I got to meet with them and do "London things."

This trip, "London things" were very martial in nature: I finally got around to touring the Imperial War Museum (with the siblings) and the Churchill War Rooms (with CW alum Derek Muir, International Man of Mystery).

I particularly liked the "spy training" video at the IWM, which covered the training of female spies and the utility of lipstick in espionage. The Trench Experience was also interesting, though it needed more mud and bad smells.

Seeing the cramped quarters and plain decor of the Prime Minister's room in the Churchill War Rooms drove home the severity of the war. This, dear politicians, is what austerity really looks like. When you're willing to have a reception room the size of a large closet, with the sole "good" piece of furniture being a small table, let me know. 


Jun. 26th, 2011 07:58 pm
akashiver: (Default)
Back from a whirlwind research trip to Britain. Internet connections were hard to find on this trip, hence the lack of updates. But I did stuff, and stuff happened, and I'll write a long post about it sometime when I'm not sleep-deprived.
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It's official: I'm heading to London again this summer to tie up some loose research ends. Did I mention how much I love that city?


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