Monday, November 13, 2006

Running Late

Saturday was a first for me. I was late for a show for the first time ever. I could blame the central line engineering works that added twenty minutes to my journey or the BT helpline operator, with whom I had a frustratingly circular (and, it turns out, pointless) conversation, that caused me to leave home later than I intended - but it comes down to the fact that I was late. And not just dive into my seat as the two minutes to curtain-up bell rings late, but actually "no, the show has started and you'll have to wait until the interval" late. I was so annoyed with myself. Fortunately the staff at the Bush theatre were lovely about it (it's a tiny venue with a no admittance policy to latecomers so I guess they're probably used to it) and I met another girl in the same boat as me, so we were able to slink guiltly to a nearby pub for a very necessary G&T during the remainder of the first act. Equally fortunately, the Bush supplied us with a plot synopsis and a copy of the play text so it wasn't difficult to catch up with what we'd missed.

Steven Thompson's Whipping It Up is a sharp political comedy very much in the vein of the Thick Of It with shades of Yes Minister. It's set in 2008 when the Tories have returned to power, presenting a believable portrait of the casual backstabbings and machinations of the chief whip's office. I enjoyed it to a point, but it felt like it belonged on television rather than on stage (though I gather a West End transfer is already being discussed, whic makes sense given the pedigree of the cast - Richard Wilson plays the Chief). I doubt my overall impression of the piece would have been much altered by me seeing it all the way through, though that still doesn't alter the fact that I misjudged the journey time. I expect I shall be turning up to things ridiculuously early for the next few weeks, thumbing a book in the empty stalls, reading the programme from cover to cover or sinking one too many gins in the theatre bar.

Sunday was less fraught. Finally trained it down to Winchester to visit Neil and Jo and their lovely, lovely new house. We spent the morning wandering through the town before raiding the local farmers' market for goodies. Fantastic bread, cheese and brlliantly fresh cherry tomatoes. Lunch was a long and rambling affair, pretty much ideal.

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