Well, we went to the theatre, which was the RSC’s production of the Roman play (JC by WS) and it was – well, the cast was enthusiastic. And competent, except for, sometimes, voice projection. I have good hearing for my age (I had a hearing test and that’s official) and I had to focus all the time to hear it all and, as there was no amplification, it really relied on clear, projected voices. Everyone managed it some of the time, few managed it all the time. Caesar himself did and so did Mark Antony except in the final ‘Noblest Roman of them all’ speech.
I’m fine with modern Shakespeare, experimental Shakespeare, gender and racial neutral Shakespeare. As Wink’s neighbour said at the end, Shakespeare always wins. He also, having read the programme, said after the interval, “hmm, it’s a young director, I didn’t really need to be told that,” We would like to sit next to him every time, he was dryly hilarious.
At the interval, I said to Wink, I was considering whether that was a second or third year stage school interpretation. She thought I was being over-generous by a year, but I didn’t. All the same, a lot of the gimmicks were pointless. I liked the touch of some of the main characters being women. In speeches, she was used instead of he but man was retained, rather than being changed to woman. That was fine. Colour of the actors was unimportant. I want to check whether Brutus’ servant or, more likely slave, was actually mute and whether Antony said, at the end, that he was safe with him.
Overall, the audience was good-humoured and receptive, whilst clearly recognising that it was a somewhat amateur production.
When we went in the theatre, it was unrecognisable. They’ve revamped the foyer, bar and restaurant areas and it’s changed so radically that I truly didn’t know the place. There were numerous volunteer ushers to point us in the right direction. The seating gives more legroom, though they’ve done away with the central aisle to make up some of the loss of seats, which isn’t great.
I spotted a woman, several rows ahead, with the most fabulous hair. It was steel grey, which rippled in thick waves down her back and the bottom 15cm or so was dyed a lovely rich chestnut colour. It was a variation on the ombré technique, I told my hairdresser about it the next day and she asked if it was growing out – no, it was certainly intended to be like that. If there had been any doubt, I saw another woman with blonde hair, blue at the bottom, which wasn’t quite so effective – it was just that the first woman had the most glorious hair and the variation drew the eye. Maybe it’s just the latest fashion in Norwich, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it catches on.