Something slightly different to end the week. As much as I’d happily have gone to both performances of Much Ado, I had to put some more variety into my week – and make the most of being able to treat myself to some top quality food. So a table at the Swan followed by Read Not Dead was in order!
I’ve gone for drinks in the Swan quite a bit over the past year or so (even managed a couple of visits for some mead yesterday), but have never been able to fit in a trip for food. All I’ve ever tried is their press night selection, and that was definitely enough to tempt me in! (They do the best sausage rolls in the world, just FYI.) As I don’t live with my parents anymore I don’t get regular Sunday lunches, so I just had to schedule my meal for the last day of the week: roast dinner o’clock.
My menu, then. First off was an aperitif; I’ve never had a Bellini before, so even if the other choice wasn’t a Bloody Mary (yuck yuck yuck) I think I’d have gone for that anyway. So, my appetite well and truly stimulated, I moved onto my main course: roast beef and all the trimmings! I discovered that bone marrow isn’t disgusting like I’d always imagined it to be (though it is still very weird) and that Yorkshire puddings can sometimes be a bit crunchy… Call me gross, but I could have just eaten an entire plate of that beef (and gravy) and still been happy!
For pudding, I chose the baked blackberry frangipane tart. If you know me you’ll know I can never resist frangipane. Even if it’s the hottest day for a long while and what I should really be eating is something cold like a mousse! It was absolutely delicious – and, followed by a latte, rounded off the meal perfectly.
I had intended on going to the exhibition in between my lunch and the performance, but I hadn’t anticipated not really being able to move afterwards… I don’t generally eat a lot (combination of saving money and time), so having two courses of quality, rich food (plus a bubbly aperitif) was a bit of a shock to my stomach! So annoyingly I didn’t manage to stick to all of my aims. Another time…
So then it was on to the main event: a staged reading of John Lyly’s Sappho and Phao. Regular readers will be aware that I was first introduced to this playwright only last Friday, when I was privileged enough to see a production of his The Woman in the Moon at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. With some of the same actors having been cast (this also involved The Dolphin’s Back), I knew I was going to be in for a fun afternoon.
Now, this play isn’t big on plot (as explained in the programme), but it more than makes up for that by way of highly comic scenes. A particular highlight had to be James Askill’s Cupid guzzling Ferrero Rocher (doubling for sweetmeats) like they were going out of fashion – just about five minutes and I think they had all gone! Aside from that, Emma Denly and Patrick Walshe McBride were excellent as the eponymous characters (especially once Phao was made the fairest being by Venus), and Selina Cadell was a wonderfully wise and funny Sybilla. All in all, a brilliant couple of hours – and I was glad to learn some more Lyly.
So, that’s it! I’ve come to the end of my week. I’m extremely glad I did it; every second I can spend at the Globe while Emma Rice is still in charge is something I’ll cherish forever. And managing to fit this in during one of the most diverse weeks of the schedule was an added bonus – I’ve so enjoyed learning more about Mexico, India and the plays that are running. Also, surprisingly, I only got rained on a bit during one show! That is something of a result for me.