smallhobbit: (Cat)
9.  Audio books. Until I changed job I wasn’t a particular fan, but now they make the drive to work so much more bearable.  If I have to sit in a queue of traffic, then I might as well be entertained.  Richard Armitage reading Georgette Heyer was lovely – oh, the adorable dark brooding hero.  Currently it’s a production of Hamlet, with Jamie Parker as the Prince of Denmark.  (Plus Tom Mison as Laertes and Carl Prekopp as Rosencrantz.)  I’ve also got his narration of Under The Greenwood Tree to look forward to.  (These two thanks to Waterstones vouchers from MIL.)  After which it’ll be back to Ebay I suspect.


10. Sam Troughton. You didn’t think you’d get through a whole month without mention of my favourite actor, did you?  From the minute I saw him as Brutus in the RSC production of Julius Caesar I was captured.  This is the only time I’ve come out of a production and said to myself ‘I must find out who that actor is so I can see him again.’  I’ve travelled to Sheffield and to Liverpool to see him, as well as several plays in London (and dragged SM/friends along too!)  And soon he’ll be Clarence in the second series of the BBC’s Hollow Crown production.


11.  A Glass of Wine.  I do like sitting down in the evening and having a glass of wine.  Sometimes, depending on what we’re both doing, we’ll begin the glass during dinner, sometimes it will be later.  Occasionally we’ll have a couple of glasses.  Nothing expensive, just a quiet glass of wine.


12.  Writing on Trains. It takes just under two hours to travel from home to London and it’s ideal for writing.  The scenery isn’t stunning – the Stroud valleys are pretty, but not spectacular, the journey from Swindon to London is tedious.  So no outside distractions, just me, my pencil tin and a notebook.  Okay, not all the words are legible when I come to type them up, but overall that doesn’t matter (and it means no-one else can read it!)  And yes, this was originally written on a train :)


13.  Live theatre. Yes, I know you all know this is my great love.  But I’m not going to leave it out.  There is something so immediate and real and wonderful about going to see a play.  And I’m delighted the daughter is also taken with the theatre bug.


14.  Chocolate Box Comm. This is a comm, based on AO3 and run from Dreamwidth.  It’s a multi-fandom exchange (fic/artwork) with a minimum wordage of 300 words.  The reveal is on Valentine’s Day.  It’s not just for ships, but also for gen fic, where the love is not of the romantic nature, but more friendship.  I have received three gifts (one main and two treats): Bear’s Life as a Dog, Person of Interest, an ideal story for me starring Bear in a variety of BAMF situations; Under the Mountain, The Hobbit, in which Bilbo gets lost and Thorin does something about it (and they kiss, of course); and The Care and Feeding of a Watson, ACD Holmes, a sweet tale of Holmes and Watson.  I wrote my main exchange plus a last minute treat, but if I said which fandoms that would give it away, since author reveals have not yet happened.


15.  Shopping with the Daughter. We don’t go often, and my credit card normally sighs, but it is fun.  I’m very lucky in that she doesn’t expect me to spend major amounts on items – we picked up a few excellent sale bargains.  She has good taste and will encourage me to buy things when I might hesitate, but I’ve not regretted the purchases (even if it does mean I now have two t-shirts I probably didn’t need!)
smallhobbit: (Brutus)
It's time to look back and consider which plays I've seen over the past year.  There were 22 this year, one more than last year.

Oct 2014   The Witch of Edmonton   RSC – Swan Theatre   (Eileen Atkins)
Nov 2014   Gypsy   Chichester Festival Theatre   (Imelda Staunton, Kevin Whately, Lara Pulver)
Nov 2014   Jeeves & Wooster   Cheltenham Everyman
Dec 2015   The Shoemaker’s Holiday   RSC – Swan Theatre   (David Troughton)
Jan 2015   Bull   Young Vic    (Sam Troughton)
Feb 2015   The Ruling Class   Trafalgar Transformed   (James McAvoy)
Mar 2015   King Lear   Cheltenham Everyman   (Northern Broadsides)
Apr 2015   The Jew of Malta   RSC – Swan Theatre
Apr 2015   The Merchant of Venice   Globe Theatre (Jonathan Pryce)
Jun 2015   American Buffalo   Wyndham’s Theatre   (Damian Lewis)
Jun 2015   War Horse   New London Theatre
July 2015   High Society   Old Vic Theatre   (Jamie Parker)
July 2015   Everyman   National Theatre
July 2015   Constellations   Trafalgar Studios   (Louise Brearley, Joe Armstrong)
July 2015   The Beaux Stratagem   National Theatre
Aug 2015   Three Days in the Country   National Theatre   (John Simm, Mark Gatiss)
Aug 2015   Bakkhai   Almeida Theatre   (Ben Whishaw)
Aug 2015   Volpone   RSC – Swan Theatre
Aug 2015   Hamlet   Barbican   (Benedict Cumberbatch)
Oct 2015   La Musica  Young Vic   (Sam Troughton)
Oct 2015   Measure for Measure   Young Vic   (Romola Garai)
Oct 2015   Henry V   RSC – Royal Shakespeare Theatre

Only 5 Shakespeare plays, of which only Henry V really grabbed me in the way I think Shakespeare should.  However there were a number written by Shakespeare's contemporaries or in the following century all of which I thoroughly enjoyed - clearly branching out has been worth while.  There were a number of modern plays, some of which I enjoyed, some I didn't so much, but that's always going to be the case.

As for destinations, over half once again were in London, five were in Stratford, two in Cheltenham and one in Chichester, this year's new venue.

As can be seen from the list, I got to see a number of well known names again this year, the most obvious being Benedict Cumberbatch, with Romola Garai and Damian Lewis as actors I'm particularly glad to have seen.  There were also some of the old favourites: David Troughton, Jamie Parker, John Simm, Mark Gatiss and Ben Whishaw, plus the lovely James McAvoy.  And I saw Sam Troughton twice - I really do want him to have a lead in a major play again.

My favourite plays this year would be The Beaux Strategem because it was so entertaining and Henry V for the force of the drama.

As for this coming year: my aim is to see the equivalent of at least one play a month.  I can't see that will be a problem, according to the calendar, and from the groans of my credit card, I already have ten booked.

La Musica

Oct. 12th, 2015 08:24 pm
smallhobbit: (Cat)
Not spoiler free, but it closes on Saturday, so I suspect none of my flist will be going to see it.

I was really excited when I saw Sam Troughton was going to be in another play at the Young Vic and enthusiastically bought a ticket as soon as they were released.  I am so very glad I hadn't just gone to London to see this play.  (SM and I were celebrating our wedding anniversary and so had gone to London for the weekend - he was visiting the Handel Museum and the Royal College of Music Museum at this point).

This was the first revival of Marguerite Duras' play in twenty years.  I'm not surprised.  Sam Troughton and Emily Barclay were very good, but they had little to work with.  There seemed no point to the story (fortunately the play only lasted just over an hour) and although at times it appeared to be picking up speed in the end nothing happened.

It had a very modern setting, which failed miserably.  The first half the two actors are sitting up on a large platform, with their backs to the audience, whilst their faces are being broadcast on a large screen next to them.  Most people watched the screen - I watched the actors to pick up more of the body language - and I had paid to see a play not a film.  When the first half finished the actors came down by cherry picker and moved into another part of the theatre, with the majority of the audience following, either taking their chairs or choosing to stand, presumably to give the play an intimate feel.

I wouldn't say this innovative theatre made any sense - it didn't enhance the performance - although I suppose if someone was falling asleep it would have woken them up.

However, I did get to meet [livejournal.com profile] duckyone afterwards, which was great.
smallhobbit: (Guy)
Because I thought it was time I did another meme post - this one swiped from [livejournal.com profile] blythechild

So what have you been up to? / Major life changes? Same old same old?
I started my new job last week and so far (three days later) it's okay.  I have another interview next Thursday for a part-time job locally, which I think I'll be unlikely to get - part of it I have little experience with, so if there are others with more experience they'll have the advantage.  On the other hand I do have the financial ability which a lot of pure administrators lack.  At least preparation for the interview should be interesting.

What fandom are you in/do you spend most of your time in?
Probably Sherlock Holmes, of the ACD canon variety.  I don't really feel like I'm in a specific fandom at the moment - a lot of those I'm friendly with have moved into other fandoms, which I don't share, so the friendship is of a more general nature.  As it is with a number of my flist, who were never fandom specific.

Where do you hang out online?
Here and I post fics to AO3.  Twitter as well, but that's mostly fandom friends I know in RL too.  And Facebook for seeing what the daughter is doing - last weekend was the Wolf Run in Coventry and she took part with a team from her ward - some impressive pictures of very muddy and happy people.

What are you reading?
Just finished two books, as my book review earlier this week will testify.  About to start the book on Richard III and possibly Mary Renault's The Charioteer.  I will pack a couple of other books for when we go on holiday.

What are you watching?
Um, nothing.  I caught the one episode of Forever which I missed when it was shown originally yesterday.  Hannibal is finished.  Person of Interest season 3 is over (hopefully season 4 will finally appear sometime next year).  I'm hoping something decent will turn up in the autumn schedules.  Can I include listening to radio plays/comedies/audio CDs with Sam Troughton?

What are you making?
I signed up for [livejournal.com profile] smallfandombang for my Lewis fic and I'm going to try to write my Lucas/Adam Spooks fic alongside it.  Also signed up for [livejournal.com profile] spook_me and in the middle of writing another short fic for [livejournal.com profile] older_not_dead

What are you squeeing about today?
Not much really.  Sam Troughton as above?

If you could rope old fandom friends into a new fandom, it would be...
Lucas North/Adam Carter from Spooks.  Obviously an AU, but irresistible.  Or Guy of Gisborne/Much from BBC Robin Hood.  Possibly a niche market, since I'm the only one writing that pairing on AO3.

What else is on your mind?
A feeling of the need to get back into some sort of routine.  The change of job and work hours has thrown me and although it's nice not working all week I have a sense of impermanence there.  Also, we're on holiday the week after next, so it feels as if I can't get organised long-term until we come back.
smallhobbit: (Reichenbach)
I'm not sure where all the time is going, but I definitely don't seem to be making much progress with things.  Which is probably because I was away at the beginning of the month and have been out a considerable number of evenings since I've got back.  And the one evening I was home last week the daughter phoned and we talked for nearly an hour.  So it's probably unreasonable to be feeling I've done nothing lately - but it's still annoying.

My total wordage until the end of April is about 8,000 down on where it should be if I'm to achieve my target for the year, and I've written very little this month.  I read a book last month - "The Master and Margarita" - which I finished on my return from Switzerland, but this month I've managed about three chapters of my new book - I keep meaning to read when I go to bed and then falling asleep.

I have listened to a BBC Radio 3 drama called "The Process", which is an updated version of Kafka's "The Trial".  It was odd and I only listened to it because Sam Troughton had the lead role.  (In the Telegraph review they say he made the part of Joseph Kay completely believable).  A few weeks ago I heard him in the Radio 4 serial "The Blast of War", which took a soldier, wounded in Helmand, back to various other battles fought in years ended '15 (Gallipoli, Waterloo and Agincourt) - I preferred this.

So, nothing much to blog about either.  Work is a mixture of budget preparation and complicated costings.  My brain may explode.

Oh, and if anyone fancies having a quick look at 975 words of Sherlock BBC, to make sure it makes sense, I'd be grateful.
smallhobbit: (Brutus)
Last Saturday afternoon I went to see "Bull", a play by Mike Bartlett at the Young Vic.  I first saw it two years ago, when it was premiered at the Crucible in Sheffield, and as soon as I saw it was being staged again I was keen to go.  The play was reprised with three of the four original actors, and since one of the said actors was Sam Troughton you can probably guess why I was going.

It's an interesting play.  It's set in what is essentially a boxing ring - ropes round the stage - and there's a water cooler in one corner.  There's a standing area round the stage, so that the audience can lean on the ropes, or have a seat outside that area.  It's a small set and becomes almost claustrophobic.

The play begins with a number of remarks that cause the audience to laugh, but, as the play progresses and it becomes apparent what is happening, they grow silent.  Having seen it before it was fascinating to watch the reactions and the growing horror that what was apparently a bit of good-natured banter is in fact a concerted attack by two people on the third.

I had chosen to stand (although my ticket said 'unreserved seating' so I was sent back to the box office to ask them to change it - they crossed out 'seating' and wrote 'standing') and knew exactly where I wanted to stand, which was right next to the water cooler, to be as close to one of the most dramatic moments as possible.  At one point two of the characters were having a conversation less than a foot away and there was the temptation to look away and let them have this moment in private - ridiculous, since they were obviously acting - but it really felt that intimate.

Afterwards, I was discussing the play with the guy I was standing next to, and he was asking why I'd come to see it again, so I said I was a Sam Troughton groupie.  To which he asked me if I'd seen him in "King Lear", said that ST was an excellent actor and we discussed other plays we'd seen him in.  Sheer bliss.
smallhobbit: (Brutus)
I managed 21 plays this year, more than ever before.  This was because SM found a number of plays that he thought would be worth seeing, so I went to things I wouldn’t have chosen otherwise.  The full list:

21 plays and my thoughts on the year )

King Lear

Feb. 7th, 2014 07:24 pm
smallhobbit: (Brutus)
On Monday I went to see King Lear at the National Theatre, with Simon Russell-Beale in the title role.  I have to admit that the main draw - the reason why I took two days off work, was to see Sam Troughton, who was playing Edmund.  I had chosen this particular performance, because on the Tuesday afternoon there was a Talking Lear with Sam, Stephen Boxer (Gloucester) and Tom Brooke (Edgar) discussing their roles in the play.

It's the first time I've been to the Olivier Theatre, so I was very pleased when I discovered where I was sitting, because I had had to book a seat on the side of the stalls and it turned out to be at the front of the raised area, so the view was excellent.  As was the production.  It was one of those occasions when I've walked out of the theatre and thought "wow, that was good".  There was no one thing that stood out, but everything gelled and worked together.  Stephen Boxer highlighted how much of an ensemble piece it was and how Simon Russell-Beale didn't try to be pre-eminent, so that all the characters played their own part.

I know I'm biased, but I did feel that I understood Edmund's part better in this production - although it could be because I was concentrating more on his role.  The scene where Gloucester has been captured by Cornwall and Regan was imaginatively done and yes, I did look away at one part - to find the lady I was sitting next to doing the same, so we smiled at each other.  I was also very taken by the showing of an eclipse before the performance started, as a sign that all was not well with the world.

The play lasted just over three hours (plus interval) but it didn't seem very long, because the action kept moving forward.  This is the third time I've seen King Lear in the last few years and I would say it was the best production that I've seen.
smallhobbit: (Brutus)
Because every year I like to look back at what I've seen.  By tradition this runs from my birthday.


Oct 2012  55 Days   Hampstead Theatre    (Mark Gatiss, Douglas Henshall)
Nov 2012   Our Boys   Duchess Theatre   (Laurence Fox)
Jan 2013   My Fair Lady   Sheffield Crucible   (Dominic West)
Feb 2013   Bull   Sheffield Crucible   (Sam Troughton)
Mar 2013   Macbeth   Trafalgar Transformed   (James McAvoy)
Apr 2013   Winter’s Tale   Regent Theatre, Stoke                  (RSC Touring)
May 2013   Two Gentlemen of Verona   Cheltenham Everyman   (SATTF Touring)
June 2013   One Man Two Masters   Theatre Royal, Haymarket   (NT)
June 2013   Hamlet   RST   (Jonathon Slinger)
June 2013   The President is Coming to See You  Royal Court   (Sam Troughton)
July 2013   The Hothouse   Trafalgar Transformed   (John Simm)
July 2013   Candida   Bath, Theatre Royal   (Jamie Parker)
July 2013   All’s Well That Ends Well  RST   (Jonathon Slinger)
Aug 2013   Henry VI, parts 1,2,3   Tewkesbury   (Globe, battleground)
Sept 2013   Candide   Swan Theatre   (RSC)
Sept 2013   Titus Andronicus   Swan Theatre   (RSC)

16 plays – or 18 if you count Henry VI as three plays not one.

See my comments )
smallhobbit: (Much)
In which I ramble away to anyone who happens to be listening.  BBC3 is currently repeating Series 3 of Robin Hood, so I was watching the current episode on Catch Up TV whilst doing the ironing.  Yes, I'm probably the only person around here who irons, but who cares.  It's much improved by watching programmes that aren't too gripping and where otherwise I'd be throwing things at the TV.  Like Robin Hood, which has me complaining about the plot and the fact that basically the same thing happens every week and surely even the Sheriff would recognise that it's the same peasant as last week.  At which point I have to remind myself why I'm watching.

It's the actors, to be precise Sam Troughton, who plays Much.  There is bonus Richard Armitage as Guy of Gisborne and I'm still trying to sort out in my mind how to have a early middle ages Stanley Hopkins.  But Sam Troughton (see icon).  He's the actor who caused me to drag two of my friends to Liverpool, had already meant I'd dragged one of them to London and OH to Stratford upon Avon.  He's also taken me to Sheffield and London (again) this year.

It also has Joanne Froggatt, who I think I ought to like since she played Sam Tyler's mum in Life on Mars, but I don't.  This might of course have something to do with playing Anna Bates in Downton Abbey, but I don't think so.

Anyway, to return to the point of this ramble (it has a point? you ask - I was tempted to call it a stream of consciousness, but that requires rather more of my brain power than I manage on a Saturday).  I was watching Robin Hood when I realised that I was shipping Guy of Gisborne with the Sheriff.  They did seem to be getting their swords out rather a lot when they were alone with each other.
smallhobbit: (Brutus)
Time for my annual review of what I've seen this past year:
14 plays in 12 months )

smallhobbit: (Brutus)
In which I go to Liverpool purely because Sam Troughton is in a play.



A Streetcar Named Desire )

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