The Knight of the Burning Pestle, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, London. March 2014.
The last play of the weekend was at the beautiful Sam Wanamaker Playhouse and this time I had a much more comfortable seat - they've improved the cushions and there seems to be more space in general in the lower gallery.
The Knight of the Burning Pestle was a contrast to all that we'd seen previously and as different from The Duchess of Malfi as can be imagined. It is a play within a play and then some.
Players are trying to stage their melodrama but a 'citizen' in the audience is not entirely happy about this and insists that his apprentice should have a role. Once poor Ralph has a part the citizen and his wife spend the rest of the play trying to make his role bigger and thus subvert the normal play.
It could be a total mess, and to be honest by the end I'd given up trying to follow what plot there was, but for me it didn't matter as it was so funny, and well acted, that I'd have gone along with anything. Occasionally the ad libs and interactions with the audience felt more 21st century than early 17th but that aside it was fun. Pantomime for grown ups in the best sense and a nice way to finish the weekend.
Three plays, a visit to the British Library, a visit to the British Museum, nice food and a glorious walk along the sunny South Bank was a lot to cram into just over 36 hours but so worth it. Time to start planning the next mad weekend I think...