18 September 2006
Farewell then, old tea and coffee warehouse in Dickens's 'hood, I loved you even though there was no running water in the bar and I could never remember where was the switch for the emergency exit lights no matter how many times people reminded me. Because theatre is a good, and you served up the goods on a staggeringly regular basis. From Erica Whyman's Winter's Tale, to Maria Aberg's production of FX Kroetz's Stallerhof, through Peter Gill's The Sleepers' Den as given by Thea Sharrock, and The Woman Who Swallowed A Pin (still the only really successful promenade thing I've been to). Summer Begins was a highlight in the past year, as was Ed Dick's scorching production of 'Tis Pity She's A Whore. (This last piece the only one of those I mention directed by a man, by the by...) I also take away and place in a shoebox my memories of four lots of miniatures - Rod Smith dancing to the Floyd in the play by Sebastian Baczkiewicz, Glyn Cannon's eerie piece about a murder during the Katrina disaster, so on.
You see me pictured as I arrived for the last night. Kernackered but excited. There was a lovely buzz about the place, just the right mix of celebratory and wistful. Fulsome tributes to Juliet, who set up the place way back when, with husband Tom and Mehmet (yes, that Mehmet). She's retiring as chief exec, to be replaced by the extremely able general manager Chris, who's been steering the ship towards new waters. Cracking show, incorporating some great singing, some hilarious corpsing and some random crisp-eating (what was that all about, Mairead??). I won't write more about the play - if you'd like to read it drop me a line. But I was pleased with it, it gave me pleasure as always to see my very own thoughts enfleshed, mixed with the abiding terror, the habitual, that someone would stand up and say Hang on, this is rubbish, can't you all see? Stop it immediately, it's embarrassing.
So after, drinks and nibbles (water for me, for a bloody change). Chatting with pm (oh yes. but don't scurry over there for a review, he's far too discreet), Ellen, Charlotte, Erica, Steve, Rupert, Michael, Laura, Lucy, and sundry other lovelies. Including my good lady, released into the community for one night only thanks to a crack team of grandparents holding the line at our place. Operation Milk Out Of A Cup.
I'll wait till it's all properly public to talk about what's next for Southwark Playhouse. Should be good, though! Here's to the next thirteen years.