Feeling: tired, sore lower back, sun on my face
Smelling: lemon-ginger water
Seeing: pink sunrise out my window, a street food market, twinkle lights along the Thames
Hearing: the music they play on Aer Lingus flights, the incredible Twelfth Night at the National Theatre
Tasting: the last of my veggie tart
My flight was midday and from Cork, so I wouldn’t have to trek several hours up to Dublin. Still, I woke up at 6 just to be sure I wouldn’t be rushing. A taxi from my place to Cork airport would have been around 15-20 euro, but I thought why not take a walk to the bus station and save money while getting some light exercise? Except it completely slipped my mind that there was a nationwide bus strike. Thankfully a friendly elder American man was looking to split a cab to the airport. I think his name was George, from around Seattle, and he’d been in Cork (and Ireland) just two days. He was looking to rent a car at the airport and check out Kinsale, and get somewhere to live for the next few months. He didn’t have enough euros to split the cab 50/50, which was fine with me, but he very kindly gave me some of his dollar bills. All the best, George.
The flight went fine, and I got to my hostel alright– train to Paddington, then tube to Elephant and Castle. After lying on my back for an hour (isn’t it weird how tired sitting in transit can make you?) I got back onto the tube to take me to Waterloo hours ahead of curtain. I didn’t work out exactly how to get from the station to the theatre but that was somewhat intentional; I wanted to wander a bit. And I’m so glad I got to wander, because my path took me through a market of food stalls of all kinds: New Orleans, Sicilian, duck burgers and fat chips, Korean BBQ burritos, Ethiopian, poutine, chocolate-covered fruit, Pad Thai, craft beer. I opted for vegetarian dosas and a green juice, and they were so delicious.
I was so happy. I wanted to keep getting more and never leave, but alas I am a mere mortal with a limited wallet and appetite. So I got up and wandered across the bridge and back, then along the bank. I sat on a bench and read a bit on my Nook while there was still a little daylight.
The production was really fantastic. I got a great view from where I sat (and got under-18 tickets, shh). Here’s a list of things I liked:
- Scottish, vaguely goth Antonio who wore a bleach-spotted black kilt that was more of a skirt than an actual kilt but he’s Scottish so I’m making assumptions. Also he kissed Sebastian on the mouth.
- Orsino kissing Cesario on the mouth before he knows Cesario is Viola. He says (speaking of Olivia), “give her this jewel.” And then he kisses her and leaves. And Viola freaks out gleefully.
- The Elephant was a queer club.
- Malvolio was Malvolia, and she did a burlesque performance for Olivia. My G-d, Malvolia was incredible; I think she was supposed to be the star of the production. And Olivia was performed beautifully and had great chemistry with Malvolia. The bit where she had to explain the letter to Malvolia was absolutely heartbreaking.
- There was so much water that I got scared for the integrity of that iconic rotating stage: a garden fountain and a hot tub.
- Orsino and Cesario practice boxing sparring together.
- Feste didn’t play an instrument but she was a wonderful singer.
- Andrew is a great clown with a hilarious and impressive physicality.
- The music was ace in general. There were two pits, which were actually more like perches than pits, on either side of the stage, but occasionally the musicians would actually be on stage. I wish I could get a cast recording.
Things that didn’t quite jive with me:
- I’m all for vague anachronism but I’m not sure what to make of the ruff-wearing ladies in waiting alongside the midcentury garb of the rest of the cast.
- Malvolia took too many unproductive pauses.
- In the Elephant, there was a drag show, but the performer was singing Hamlet’s “to be” monologue which was just kinda random?
- At the end, Malvolia takes off her black bobbed wig to reveal blonde hair and ascends the stairs to rain falling from the ceiling. The rain was cool because it goes with Feste’s song but what is happening with Malvolio? Maybe I’m overthinking it.
I was dog-tired at the end but made it back alright and fell asleep around midnight. At 3am, and seemingly continuously until 8, my roommates came in and set themselves up very loudly. I’m not really sure what happened.