Saturday, 21 October 2017

"Pre-Hallowe'en" Psychic Fair & Play: Oslo

Today, Spooky London Pubs had a "Pre-Hallowe'en" Psychic Fair at the King and Queen pub, just down the road from me. Free entry - well, I couldn't say no to that! Could always leave if it wasn't interesting. That was in the afternoon - in the evening, I was off to Oslo. The play, not the city! (Despite all my Scandic jaunts of late!) Taking place in the Harold Pinter Theatre, it tells the story of the Oslo peace accords. Has rave reviews. Cheapest tickets were with Amazon Tickets.

Had a late night, and a lovely, long sleep.. why not, indeed? That emergency door release, down the hall, that someone activated, and which has been beeping for the last three days, is still at it, but a bit softer:

Anyway, I moseyed out of the house and down the road at about 3pm. The King and Queen looked worryingly empty - I said I might as well have a peek all the same, and carried on to the upstairs room. Where six people were gathered, chatting, around tables - a couple of which had posters on them. One had little glittery things on it. All the people in the room looked expectantly at me as I came in - oh hell, I was the only non-medium there! Ah now.. Well, one asked whether I'd come for a reading, and I said I was just having a look around, and he gave me a couple of brochures, which I said I'd go off and read. And I duly legged it. Jeez, I've never seen such a badly attended event - you know, they have these in Ireland too, but they sell jewellery at them, and incense, and stuff.. and they get good attendance.. Honestly, what do you expect if you just put a bunch of psychics in a room? (The cynic in me can't help but remark that, being psychic, they should have known.. oh well..)

Right, that was the first event of the day over. Shortest ever. And I made my way to the office, in a stiff breeze - I was passing a newsagent on Charlotte Street when the carousel of greeting cards, just outside the door, got blown over, and the cards were strewn all over the pavement! Luckily, the owner was at the door at the time, to start the clear-up..

A few hours in the office, which is quite devoid of food today, so I decided to eat out. Fancied a Chinese, which I hadn't had in a while - and Chinatown is conveniently positioned right between the office and the theatre, so I popped off to New Loon Fung, where they were busy enough that I got the last table on the main level - they had to open the upstairs section. Nonetheless, service was brisk, and I was soon served. Had my usual - chicken spring rolls, which were delicious, and chicken in a delicious honey and lemon sauce. The fried rice was a bit bland, but pouring some of the sauce on it helped. The pinot grigio was nice, too - and all the while, I was entertained by watching the Chinese lanterns decorating the street outside sway back and forth in the wind, which has continued all day.

Finished in under an hour, and another quick walk to the theatre - and yes, that queue outside was for the box office. I was in the Royal Circle - I just won't get the Gallery here, it's far too cramped. Seemed to be full tonight, though. I was in the front row, at the end - which was described as an aisle seat, although it's patently not! Anyway, the "restricted view" just consisted of a safety rail cutting across my field of vision, which was perfectly fine - good legroom too. I'd definitely recommend this seat.

This play is based on the true story of the Oslo peace accords in 1993, where basically, a Norwegian academic thought that he had a better theory for how negotiations should take place, and why they were currently failing. He and his wife were in Gaza in 1992 when violence broke out, which inspired them to try to host an informal talk between the two sides, back in Oslo. Don't underestimate the audacity of that aim - at the time, it was illegal under Israeli law for government officials to talk to members of the PLO, and what this Norwegian pair were trying to do - without knowledge of their superiors - was to get two tigers in a room together and stand back.

Oh my, how noble and dry. Oh no it isn't.. this play is absolutely hilarious, clever rather than silly. The two sides like nothing better than scoring verbal points off each other, and the thing is packed with rapid-fire one-liners and impersonations of political leaders. Really, if the talks were like this, they must have been great fun. And it's a masterclass in negotiation - with the Americans sidelined, wondering what's going on and being outright lied to, so they don't take over. It was a fabulous piece of diplomacy at the time, even if the peace didn't last.. a poignant final scene has all the actors, standing still, reciting the litany of atrocities that happened since - and including the deaths of some of the participants. And throughout, projections on the rear of the stage explain to us where we are, and what's happening.

A wonderful, sparky, intelligent piece of writing, this is entertaining, while never making light of the serious issues involved. A fantastic play, which I'm delighted to recommend - go see, go see, go see. Runs until 30 December - nearly three hours including interval, but it flew by, truly. There was a collection as we were leaving, but we hadn't been warned, so I wasn't ready to go digging for change.

Tomorrow, I'm with Walking in London (a Funzing group) for Southwark's Saucy Secrets.. Hope I can make this one in time!

On Monday, back with the Crick Crack Club - at Soho Theatre this time, with Nell Phoenix telling us all about Tricksterland: a favourite theme of hers!

On Tuesday, the London European Club (first time in ages!) - we're off to the Barbican for a dance production by the Michael Clark Company.

On Wednesday, Walking Victorian London is doing a walk called Alexander Pope's The Dunciad.

On Thursday, Up in the Cheap Seats is off to Albion, at the Almeida. Then I'm back to Ireland for the weekend again - hopefully, by that stage they'll have cleared the roads following Storm Ophelia. And Storm Brian, which is due to hit this weekend..

On the 30th, I finally get to see Apologia, at Trafalgar Studios - London Dramatic Arts was going to this a while ago, but it was far too expensive on that occasion. Well, that's what you get for having Stockard Channing and Laura Carmichael in it! Amazon Tickets again.

And finally, I'm hoping for a nicely scary Hallowe'en.. when I heard that they were doing the first-ever stage production of The Exorcist - and what's more, it's on in the Phoenix Theatre, right behind the office.. well, that was fate, wasn't it?! I jumped to get a ticket for that, as soon as they went on sale - after all, Hallowe'en has to be its most popular night! Jenny Seagrove plays the mother of the demonically possessed teen..

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