Month: April 2019

The Hard Yard

The Hard Yard

This is why I love London and perhaps it’s one of the reasons you do too. To be fair you may not even like going to the theatre and do you really want to watch a play written in 1953 that dramatizes the Salem Witch trials that took place in 1692 which is an allegory on the McCarthyism that was plaquing the US at the time the play was written? The answer to that tangled list of questions is actually yes, but let me explain.

Arthur Miller’s The Crucible is currently playing at The Yard Theatre in Stratford and while I’m loath to do reviews on this blog, I leave that to others, I’ll just say this an extraordinary production that left the audience breathless the night I went. If anything, the director, Jay Miller packs too much into the show, hardly allowing the play to settle, but let’s not carp. The play starts with the cast sitting in chairs with their names on the seat-back. They start talking in British accents and I thought well OK, most would have just arrived in America and perhaps would retain their original accent whatever that sounded like in the 17th century. But gradually as the action gets under way their accents change to American and modern dress is replaced by period costumes. This is just one of the striking aspects of this production.

So why does this make me love London? Well it’s fairly obvious. This is a stellar production with a stellar cast, and everyone complains how expensive London is, but here in Stratford an evening at The Yard will cost you, top price £21. If you’re under 25 and turn up on the night and there are tickets available, then it’s yours for a fiver. I go to The National Theatre and the West End quite a bit and inevitably it’s full of middle aged, middle class people like me. Who else can afford it? Here at the Yard it’s stuffed with young people eager for a theatrical treat. And that is exactly what they get.

The theatre seats may be hard and made from plastic stacking chairs that have been torn apart and screwed into a wooden amphitheatre. The whole place was built out of salvaged material and has the feel of make do and mend, but don’t let that put you off. Twenty-one quid for a world class show; well you’d be foolish not to.

The Yard Theatre, it’s another London wonder.


 

Street Junk

Street Junk

If I ever need to buy heroin or presumably just about any other drug of choice, I now know my local dealer. I’ve yet to approach him but most days he can be seen dressed in a hoodie with a promising looking backpack slung from his shoulder often with a couple of sad-sack junkies trailing in his wake.  He’s always in the same place hanging out, taking care of business, at our local BT InLink digital kiosk.

InLink allows you to make free calls, jump on wifi and charge your phone. It’s a hi-tech version of a phone booth and has proved a huge boon to the drug dealing fraternity.

Occasionally backpackers, slumped on their luggage, can be seen topping up their mobiles which must be deeply irritating to the dealers who feel that this is rightfully their territory.

BT must have thought they were on to a winner: A free public service that comes with a sleek electronic advertising hoarding that puts other street furniture to shame.

I suppose it’s an example of unintended consequences with crims using a service most people don’t need now most have smart phones. But bad news Mr Drug-Juggler, apparently police and councils are stopping further installations.

Dealers are big fans of this service as calls can’t be traced, but, wait a minute, there’s a CCTV camera hanging right above our kiosk. Perhaps the hoodie is obscuring his view.