Last night I went to the Open Air Theatre in Regent’s Park to watch Into The Woods. A belated birthday present from my dear friend Ellen. It’s an absolutely perfect location for that show. The set was beyond beautiful; an enormous four-tiered wooden structure, which seemed to cling to the giant trees at the back of the stage area. The show itself was patchy. The director had a “concept”, which rather destroyed the integrity of the show and I went away feeling less moved than I would have done had he left things well alone. Hannah Waddingham (the Witch), Michael Xavier (the Prince/ Wolf) and Jenna Russell (the Baker’s Wife) were wonderful, but the guy playing the Baker wasn’t a good enough singer to play the role. Unfortunately they decided to cast an “actor”, which is always a mistake in the land of Sondheim. I was also disappointed by the distinctly underwhelming actress playing Cinderella who had a vibrato that you could swim through. Still, it will take me a long time to forget that wonderful setting. The performance started at dusk, with a magnificent pink sunset still in the sky, and all the way through the show, there was the continuous magical sound of wind rustling through the trees.
Helen and a very expensive programme...
Tomorrow was meant to be the BBC4 premier of the film they made about the making of A Symphony for Yorkshire. Unfortunately there seems to have been some kind of disagreement within the internal political mechanisms of the BBC, which meant that it was on and then it was off and then it was on and then it was off again. I wasn’t sure that the BBC were actually able to change their minds like that, particularly so late in the day, and with something that was already on the listings, but changed their minds they have. Oh well, I’m assured it will be screened later in the year. I just wish I hadn’t sent out an email telling everyone it was on!
September 4th 1660, and Pepys, yet again, had the builders in, installing a new floor in his dining room. Pepys and his friends Dr Fuller and Mr Moore returned to the Bull Head tavern at lunch time. Keen readers of this blog will remember that the three of them had shared a very fine venison pasty there a few days ago. There had been an argument about theatre, which they decided could only be resolved a few days later whilst eating the remainder of said pasty. Pepys was given the deciding vote and came down on Dr Fuller’s side, which meant Mr Moore lost 10s.
In the early evening, Pepys called in on his old house in Axe Yard and bumped into Diana Crisp, daughter of his former neighbour, Mrs Crisp. Diana was the young girl who’d been so flirty with Pepys two nights previously. He seized the moment and took her upstairs “and did dally with her a great while, and found that in Latin Nulla puella negat”, which rather hideously means, “no young girl says no.” Just you wait, Mr Pepys, until 1669, when a certain young girl will use pins to protect herself from your rogueish advances!