It’s been a very long time since we’ve seen anything truly awful at the theatre. We made up for it tonight.
I guess dinner should have rung loud bells of warning. When I rang to book, the person who answered the phone stopped me before I could ask about a table to tell me she’d only picked up the phone because it was too noisy and could I wait while she served a few hundred people. I sat and listened to the hordes, drinking, chatting and being served. Eventually she returned to take my booking.
And the day had started so well. We had a lovely walk around Thursley – Carmen managed to avoid jumping into the bog. It was grey and chilly but still beautiful, with very few people to spoil it.
We arrived at the pub at 6pm and stood outside the restaurant part, waiting to be seated. Eventually Mirinda just went and sat down while I went to the nearest bar to tell them we’d arrived. This was a pointless exercise as I was pretty much ignored. To be fair, there were a lot of thirsty customers ahead of me. I decided to join Mirinda instead of being ignored at the bar.
At a table that we assumed was ours, we sat and waited for someone to notice us. After far too long, I went to the bar and managed to get a couple of drinks. Meanwhile, back in the restaurant, a nearby group of diners were getting a bit toey as well.
We were all set to enjoy a lovely dinner followed by an equally lovely pudding, but time and staff were against us. I must say that my ox cheek and venison suet pudding was delicious and Mirinda enjoyed her ham egg and chips.
As time rapidly approached the time to leave and we were increasingly unable to attract anyone’s attention, we just left some money next to our empty plates and left.
But if the experience at the pub was bad, it was nothing compared to the play. I sat, in increasingly excruciating wonder, at how anyone could think they were actually any good. They were very, very wrong.
To be fair, the two biggest problems were the play selection and the abysmal direction. And I’m being very generous calling it direction.
It’s difficult to point to any one thing that was to blame for how truly awful the non-direction was, but basic stage knowledge springs to mind. If you have a completely empty stage and three actors, use the stage rather than have them crowded in one corner as if stuck in an elevator…unless they’re supposed to be stuck in an elevator, I guess.
Actually, there were far too many things wrong with it to go into too much detail. And I’m ignoring the usual wooden acting, bad or non-existent projection and over eager clapping from technical staff in the hall.
The latter was actually quite funny. Generally, in amateur theatre, someone from the theatre company will take it upon themselves to be the audience applause prompt. Usually this is only required when the audience are sitting, somewhat befuddled and not sure whether it’s time to clap. It can be quite handy.
Not so tonight. The clap prompt, who was sitting a few rows behind us, burst into life as if trying to force some sort of charitable response from a bunch of coma patients. And, to be fair, it did wake me up.
I’d love to say that the play improved after the interval (which took a very long 90 minutes of Slow Time to arrive) but we didn’t stay. The chance that it would have improved was quite small and we figured we’d been through enough for one night.
Mirinda, of course, has to resort to a softly, softly approach when leaving at the interval and so, armed with drinks, we stepped outside, as if taking some fresh air. To all intents and purposes, we were merely waiting for the second half to begin. Then, with a sprightliness belying appearance, we just disappeared into the shadows, leaving the glasses on a post as the only proof of our existence.
In Mirinda’s defence, she does this in order to spare the feelings of the people working front of house. Personally, I’d just leave. Still, it makes for a more interesting blog post, so I’m not complaining.
Back at home, snug and warm and surrounded by poodles, we watched an episode of CSI and ate Chinese delicacies. A much better way to spend a Saturday night.
I’ve made a conscious decision not to say who we saw tonight as I’m fairly certain it can serve no useful purpose. And, while I’m going to mention it on Trip Advisor, I’m also not going to mention the name of the pub.
This is the first blog post written and added on my brand new, non-Apple, ASUS tablet. I’m a very lucky and happy boy. Thank you, Bob.