Bradley’s Spanish Bar

 

[Update: the good news, if you read the comments below, is that Bradley’s is safe until at least 2018. So even I might get around to visiting it again.]
bradleys-spanish-bar-hanway-streetHanway Street, a narrow little cut-through (that hardly anyone actually uses to cut through) between Oxford Street and Tottenham Court Road, has just been bought by developers, and that means another of London’s institutions will be swept away.

That is Bradley’s Spanish Bar, a place that I haven’t been in for nearly 20 years, but which has huge, fond memories of when I worked in Covent Garden and Soho in the late ’80s and early ’90s.

Bradley’s was one of those places where you met up with friends, because it was a memorable place; once you’d been you never forgot it. Continue reading

King Lear – Richmond Shakespeare Society

CTUg3yNU8AABksuThis review originally appeared on the Sheengate Publishing site. The production ran from 7-14 November 2015.

King Lear is one of Shakespeare’s darkest tragedies. Old men make fatal misjudgements, the younger generation are corrupted by ambition and the blackest parts of human character are revealed. Nature itself seems to rise in rebellion, but love and loyalty offer hope, and through suffering comes the wisdom to see the truth and the goodness of the human spirit. Continue reading

The Glass Menagerie – Headlong Theatre

Erin Doherty in The Glass MenagerieThis review first appeared on the Sheengate publishing website. The production, by Headlong Theatre, was at Richmond Theatre from  3-7 November 2015.

The Glass Menagerie at Richmond Theatre is an impressive and moving production of Tennessee William’s “memory play”, with strong performances from the entire cast.

According to Tom Wingfield, one of the protagonists, the play is “truth in the pleasant disguise of illusion”, a memory of events that happened several years before, when he was living at home with his overbearing mother Amanda and his disabled and painfully shy sister Laura.

The staging is one room, set back on the stage to emphasise its distance from both the audience and the present. As Tom says in his introduction, as a memory play it is “dimly lighted… not realistic” and we see a stage stripped of nearly all furniture and props, with no windows and no homely touches. The actors are barefoot and, although the play is set in 1937, their hair and costumes belong to no particular period, as if to show that that such details are unimportant and distracting, and that it is only the interaction of the characters that is significant. Continue reading