Sunday, 12 October 2014

Theatre 2014: Review Thirty-Five

Seminar, Hampstead Theatre, London. October 2014.

I was very glad that I'd made the Friday a Globe double bill for although the weather started fair on Saturday it didn't stay that way!

However before the rain fell Rebecca and I managed to get to the Tower of London to see the amazing Poppy installation at the Tower of London. This is a truly powerful way to mark the centenary of World War One and the sight of that many poppies marking those from Britain who died in the war is mind blowing.

One small section of the final 888, 246 poppies.

After this the long suffering Rebecca agreed to accompany me to Gordon Square to see all of the Book Benches in one place prior to them being auctioned off for charity.  I love these projects of installation art with themes and spent a happy half hour photographing the front and back of all 51 seats.  Poor Rebecca sat under a tree with a book hoping that the drizzle wasn't going to get worse before I was finished.  We were mostly lucky and it wasn't until we were walking towards the West End that the heavens truly opened on us.

Wet through we made our way to Hampstead, dried out a little in a cafe and then got drenched again on our way to the theatre.  Not entirely in the mood for a play that hadn't had great reviews we took our seats.

Again I find myself out of step with other reviewers.  Seminar is an odd play in that it is all about the craft of writing. We follow four aspiring writers as they present their work to an expensive and well regarded editor/author.

None of the characters - including the superb Roger Allam - are likeable and all are almost caricatures of different types of writers/artists. For me this didn't matter as the play was about how and why people write and read, and I found it easy to transfer a lot of the ideas to both my studies in theatre and also my job in the book world.  I really could see several people I've met over time in all of the stage roles - not all of them flattering!

A play about writing is hard to talk about strangely enough as it sounds terribly dull but it wasn't, in fact I found it very human and very funny.

Concentrating at times did feel hard however as Allam was playing against characters called Martin and Douglas and his accent was just like the one he puts on on the episode of Cabin Pressure called Paris.

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