Friday, 3 June 2016


The Thames at Richmond
Author Diliff 
Source Wikipedia
Creative Commons Licence

I arrived home in the early hours of this morning after a diversion via Leeds because I missed my connection from Wakefield owing to a late departure from London. Leeds has much to commend it not least its adoption of Northern Ballet but its attractions are far from obvious at 23:15 in the evening.

My visit to London had not been entirely a pleasure trip.  I had to give a course on Intellectual Property Law and Fashion in the City between 09:30 and 17:00 yesterday which was followed immediately afterwards by a VoIP con with lawyers in London and the United States.  I shuffled into King's Cross trundling heavy equipment and papers as well as a lady's typical accoutrements for a night at the theatre and a day's business with minutes to spare before the advertised departure only to find that my service was not even in the station.

Nevertheless I had a great time in the Smoke and that was largely thanks to the performance of Cathy Marston's Jane Eyre which, as you will note from my review, was the best new work I had seen from Northern Ballet for yonks. The fact that it was so good should surprise no-one  for Marston is an important choreographer. She was Associate Artist at the Royal Opera House between 2002 and 2006 Artistic Director of the Berne Ballet between 2007 and 2013 and the footage on her YouTube channel is amazing. The only surprise to me is that Jane Eyre, which ought to be a flagship work as it towers over 1984 and just about everything else that the company has done since the days of Christopher Gable, was launched in Donny and is being traipsed round Richmond (which is at the end of the tube and awkward to reach from most parts of London) and places like Leicester and Stoke on Trent. A work like Jane Eyre could easily have filled The Grand (if not the Wells) not to mention The Palace in Manchester, the Festival in Edinburgh and The Mayflower in Southampton.

Doubtless there is an explanation and I am not complaining as I know Richmond very well having grown up in Molesey and attended school in West Kensington. My school was just across the Talgarth Road from the Royal Ballet School and one of its students used to catch our train to Barons Court. I can't remember her name and have often wondered what became of her. It was good to return to the theatre on the Green where I have seen many pantomimes.

I didn't buy a programme on Wednesday as I found it was exactly the same as the one I had bought last March for the Simon and Anthony show. I have since had a chance to read the interview with Marston, which confirmed my surmise that the "D-Men" were demons. It also has a lovely photo Gavin McCaig and Abigail Prudames with Marston in rehearsal.

After the show I reflected on its success with a bife de lomo and a glass of Malbec at the Buenos Aires restaurant in The Square. I also found Barreworks not far away and took a peak at one of the classes upstairs. The studio where the class took place was spacious, light and well equipped studio and the students seemed to be having fun but I did not stay long as there was nobody on reception and I did not want to distract the instructor. However, I would love to sample one of the classes on another visit and I shall try out its on-line workouts in the meantime.

The only shadow over my visit to Richmond was that a child or young woman in the seat next but one to me was taken ill during the curtain call. She grasped the lady next to me shouting "Mum", "Mum", "Mum". Her companion asked  for an ambulance and I passed that request onto an usher who acted with commendable alacrity and efficiency. The patient left her foot behind in her haste and I handed that to the usher after the reverence. I feel so sad for the patient and her party. They had just seen something splendid and this attack must have marred their evening. I wish them all the very best.

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