This final blog entry from the 2017 London Tour is being written back in snowy Chester, but what a marvelous time (and what marvelous weather) we had. Our last days went in a blur of activity. Friday morning we gathered for our Talkback about Amadeus at the National Theatre, which had live musicians on stage throughout. Among the remarkable moments was Salieri’s first encounter with Mozart’s music. There was enormous power and emotion in hearing and seeing the music played live as Salieri described its shape and its impact.
Friday evening we went to the Lyric Hammersmith to see our final show, Seventeen by Australian playwright Matthew Whittet. The play takes place over the night following the end of exams for a group of seventeen year olds–but, the actors are in there 60’s and 70’s. Our discussion the next morning was fascinating, as some among us found great power in the resonances between youth and age, and others found the casting less effective. (By this point in the week, many of our tour-goers have become quite expert at looking at design, and noticed one playground structure in the set that looked suspiciously like an infinity sign!)
The rest of Saturday was free, and many in the group (believe it or not) found one more play to see. Among the favorites were An American in Paris, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, and a production of Hamlet at the Almeida, directed by Robert Icke, featuring Andrew Scott, Jessica Brown Findlay, and Juliet Stevenson.
Some went to the Churchill war rooms, always a powerful experience in imaginative time travel. One more time, the weather treated us generously, and others chose to take the boat up to Greenwich–a beautiful ride–and tour there.
Many of us gathered Saturday evening for a farewell drink. In all, we had a marvelous week. Terrific plays in a marvelous city; great conversations with intelligent, enthusiastic, and thoughtful theatre-goers; wonderful museums; beautiful neighborhoods; pubs and restaurants. Already we’re looking forward to next year’s trip. And, to our fall domestic theatre trip (hint: you might want to think about your favorite museums at the Smithsonian).