For those of us who are nuts about Shakespeare, a trip to the new Globe Theatre (not so new any more since they were constructing it in 1997) is a must. On a beautiful, blue sky day, my good friend Richard Bauckham and I took a trip down from Cambridge to the bustling metropolis that is London to accomplish two things: 1) see a Mid Summer Night’s Dream at the Globe, and 2) have dinner with one of my favorite writers of historical fiction— P.C. also known as Paul Doherty. This day went so well that I now have a new abbreviation for such days— BDE— Best Day Ever, well, at least in London. As you can begin to see below, the Globe resides on the south bank of the Thames, almost directly across from St. Paul’s Cathedral.
The theatre is partially open-air, rather like a domed stadium with a hole in the roof, and it is theatre in the round, so unless you are one of the groundlings, stuck with standing in the pit on the floor, you can see the reactions of the crowd to the play as it unfolds. This in itself is a treat. As for the play, it could hardly be more fun, whether you know Elizabethan English, or not so much. It involves lots of physical comedy and sight gags and the rude mechanicals who attempt to put on a min-drama about Pyramis and Thisbe are simply hysterical— especially Mr. Nick Bottom, in this case played to the hilt by Pierce Quigley. It is the perfect play for a bit of romantic comedy on a summer’s day or even a nice spring day like we were having. Here are some shots of the theatre itself.
After the play, which took about 2 hours and fifty minutes, counting the intermission, we walked across the newish walking bridge over the Thames, and wandered around in the area of St. Paul’s.
Then we were off on the Tube (i.e. the Underground) to Woodford in north London to have an evening meal with P.C. Doherty and his lovely wife Carla. Doherty was about to celebrate the launching of his 100th novel. Yes you heard me right. I would commend to you his medieval murder mysteries involving Hugh Corbett and Ranulf, and also his series on Constantine.
The dinner at a genuine Italian restaurant could not have been finer— prosciutto with melon, veal saltimbocca, tiramisu even with pistachio gelato… it was an embarrassment of riches. As was the conversation with the Dohertys. Here are a couple of pictures of us. Paul is still headmaster of a school near Woodford, still writing away at 66. I was inspired by his example.
Oh yes, one more thing. While Richard and I were standing near the train station waiting for Carla to pick us up, there was a chemist shop (i.e. a pharmacy). These two jars were sitting in the front window of the shop. Question of the day— would you visit a pharmacy that had these two jars prominently displayed in their front window? I’m just saying….