Monday, January 12, 2004

Theatre — His Dark Materials Part 1

Went down to London on Saturday, to see the first half of the production of His Dark Materials at the NT's Olivier stage. Very well produced, and making such continuous use of the drum stage to achieve frequent fluid scene changes that I can't see it transferring well to anything other than a minimalist, almost-no-props version in a less equipped theatre. Especially, they get the daemons down just right, with some very clever and effective puppetry.

The play has so far worked through the books in rough order - though cutting out a lot of the boring bits (Will Parry's moping, which especially annoyed me in the books, compared with can-do Lyra; and so far, it seems, the astrophysicist/dark matter thread which also put the latter parts of the sequence on rocky ground for me) - and bringing an amber spyglass into the hands of the witches almost as soon as they appeared.

Next week, part 2, which is only being done as an evening performance, while part 1 is always a matinée.

Of course it's not much good recommending this production as it's now sold out to the end of its run...

The new Jubilee footbridge from Embankment was very convenient - but has succumbed to the temptation of providing disabled access by lift, like on the Millennium Bridge. The lift there has never worked; and the one at the Embankment end was out of service when we returned. Similar disabled access screwups happened at the NT - to access the cloakroom and disabled toilets on level 1.5, there's a staff operated wheelchair lift up a shallow flight of stairs, which also failed to function.

When will people learn that ramps aren't subject to such mechanical failure?

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