Welcome back to 1952

There’s something very peaceful about a snow filled vista.

That was my view walking to the shops this morning. A little further along the path, Farnham Park was alive with kids and parents sliding down the slopes making the most of the inch of snow while ensuring it only lasted a day. By the time I returned from the shops, the big hill by the castle was merely brown ruts of sodden earth rather than a pristine white blanket.

Still, they were all having a lot of fun. Even this little chap.

Mr Melty waves

Mirinda eventually came home (she’d been stuck at the flat last night because the trains can’t run if there’s even a whiff of snow in the air) and I told her all about the amazing things I’d seen in Berlin.

In the afternoon we took the girls to Frensham for a delightful, picture postcard walk around the pond. There were not as many people there as we expected and we even managed to park in the proper parking area rather than on the side of the road. I can’t remember the last time we were able to do that.

The walk was wonderful. A thin layer of ice on the pond, the pine trees providing pools of brown oases within the snow. It all looked a wintry delight.

Approach to the pond

There were a few family groups and people with dogs but it was nowhere near as crowded as it normally gets on a nice Saturday. We thoroughly enjoyed it.

We also stopped off at the Barley Mow in Tilford for a quick drink before heading home.

We weren’t home long before it was time to go back out again because we were off to the theatre.

I have managed to avoid seeing The Mousetrap for the past 20 years but Mirinda managed to corner me in a weak moment and I bought tickets to see the touring production. Tonight we saw it at the Yvonne Arnaud.

Originally Agatha Christie hoped the play would last eight months back in 1952 when it started. Even she was baffled at the plays success. Having finally seen it, I am also baffled.

Apart from the clearly dated nature of the play – it was, after all, written for an audience of over 60 years ago – the acting was pretty dire. Actors upstaging themselves all over the place, a bit of inexpert mugging and unconvincing performances left me cold and uncaring. Of the entire cast of eight I only thought Harriet Hare as Mollie Ralston deserves any sort of credit.

Apart from the dated material, I was astonished that the entire cast was mic’ed. The Yvonne Arnaud is not that big and any proper actor should be able to fill it with their own voice. The opera the other night may have been ghastly but at least it wasn’t delivered electronically. I think the actors should be ashamed of themselves if they are unable to use their voices properly.

Along with the dated dialogue and corny setting, I found the stereotyping deeply offensive at times. I know this is a glimpse into the past and it comes with the territory (sort of like seeing the homophobia in Friends but forgiving it because it was from a less enlightened time) but I don’t have to like it.

Another thing I found oddly reminiscent of a less enlightened time was the use of an English actor as the mysterious foreigner, Mr Paravicini. What’s wrong with using an Italian? Or Schumanian? We haven’t hit Brexit yet. I found this almost offensive and not a little bit unnecessary.

Then there were the strange gaps in the plot. I’m not the biggest Agatha Christie fan but her books are excellent in their plots and devices. They are really tight and work perfectly. The Mousetrap does not. There are holes in the plot and inexplicable snatches of dialogue that aid the plot but make little sense at the time. This is clearly not good.

I think it’s safe to say I didn’t enjoy it and if this is the level of theatre we can now expect at the Yvonne Arnaud then I doubt we’ll go much in the future. It’s a shame because I really want to support our local theatre but there’s no point if I don’t enjoy it.

In the front row in the red curtain glow

Something else that was very disappointing was the change of menu at the Top Bar in the theatre. The wonderful tapas menu has vanished to be replaced by a menu that is dull and consists of just cold stuff. Obviously this means they couldn’t justify the cost of a chef. Fair enough, I suppose but a real shame it wasn’t used enough to justify its existence.

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One Response to Welcome back to 1952

  1. Josephine Cook says:

    Snow wonderful snow but I like it a bit deeper. love mum xxx

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