Have any travelers to London been blessed with such glorious weather so many days in a row? We are all feeling quite fortunate on that front. Not an umbrella has been opened…so far.
Seeing Amadeus at the National Theatre last night gave us a chance to take the tube over to Embankment and wander along the Thames. The paths on both banks were alive with locals and visitors taking advantage of the miles of walkways and sites along the storied river. Many walked across the Millennium Bridge, pausing, as one must, to look back at St. Paul’s Cathedral from the midpoint. Stunning. Maybe it was because of the enticing smell from the candied almond cart, but one can’t help having a few moments of thinking about how different the sights (and smells!) would have been back in Shakespeare’s day.
You may have guessed that a few of our travelers visited Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre during the afternoon. A recreation built by American actor/director Sam Wanamaker, the theatre is a faithful reproduction – as best as can be determined – of the original. No theatre enthusiast’s trip is entirely complete without a visit!
A few of our friends popped into the Tate Modern, currently featuring an exhibition of photography from Elton John’s collection. Some wandered through Borough Market, and we hear rumors that special cheeses were acquired for later!
This morning we gathered in our usual spot to unpack our impressions of Amadeus. Many know the Peter Shaffer play from the movie version starring Tom Hulce as the giggling, impish Mozart, and F. Murray Abraham as Salieri. This live production couldn’t have been more different, which lead to a lively discussion with many wonderful observations shared.
The distinguishing characteristic of this particular production is the inclusion of a live music ensemble onstage, replacing the normally recorded music. Stagecraft (like the ensemble) was in full view, and costumes and props mixed styles and eras in an interesting way. Our discussion brought out a range of views about the power of the live music, and the overt theatricality. As always, it was amazing to see what can be done at the Olivier–the largest, most fully equipped theatre at the National.
(At the National Theatre bookstore, we spotted a copy of Folk, the beautiful play by Tom Wells that will receive its American premiere at Chester Theatre Company this summer!)
The National Theatre production of Amadeus is being shown in movie theatres (including Amherst Cinema) as part of the NT Live series (as is Hedda Gabler, also currently playing at the National.) It’s worth buying a ticket to the filmed version to experience what we did last night. Of course, next year, you could join us in London in person, and we hope you do!