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02 April 2012


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Pleased to hear you are now enjoying the NT so close to Exmoor. I have happy memories of my London days in the early seventies, rushing down in my lunch hour to the Old Vic to get same day tickets (very inexpensive, seating on the hard benches on the topmost tier.) I have been enjoying the Metropolitan Opera live by satellite in Toronto for the last few years - a plane fare and hotel bill to New York being quite a financial undertaking. For $22 we have it on our doorstep! Although our local Canadian Opera Company does a fine job and I supported them for many years, in retirement I have been forced to scale back on my opera tickets, so these satellite performances offer a terrific value. Also saw the Bolshoi Ballet in The Nutcracker over Christmas, by the same technology. Like you, I enjoy the cameras panning the audience taking their seats, makes me feel as if I really am in New York. The High Defintion video, close-ups and the interviews with the principals in the Intermission are added bonuses. We also struggle here with “front of house” issues, no cast lists, and a lone cinema employee trying to address a full movie theatre without a microphone, informing us of intermission times etc. - possibly the front three rows heard him. These performances just don’t seem to be a priority for the movie house chains, yet they are filled to capacity, with tickets having to be purchased many weeks in advance.

Anyway, bravo for technology!

Writing from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to say that I saw Stop the World, I Want to Get Off here -- probably in 1962. After the show, my best friend and I waited at the stage door (we were 15 years old) and actually spoke to Anthony Newley and Cyril Ritchard. Thrilling for stagestruck teenagers.

My husband and I saw the NT's Frankenstein here last year. I think you will love it.

Maggie B - oh how I remember those hard benches at the Old Vic. How could I forget? I perched on one of them in an advanced stage of pregnancy to see Olivier's Othello and it was only after the very last curtain call that I realised how uncomfortable they were. So sorry to hear that the front of house problems are the same in Toronto but, as you say, 'bravo for technology'!

Kate - you are the first person I've come across who also saw Stop the World. Such a brilliant show. I was a huge fan of Anthony Newley and still watch David Lean's 1947 film adaptation of Oliver Twist whenever it is broadcast, just for the pleasure of seeing the young AN as the Artful Dodger.

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Thought for life

  • The House of Breath, William Goyen
    We are the carriers of lives and legends - who knows the unseen frescoes on the private walls of the skull?

Thinking about . . .

  • Daniel Klein, Travels with Epicurus
    I too listen to music more and more. Throughout my life, music has stirred me more than any other art form, and now, in old age, I find myself listening to it almost every evening, usually alone, for hours at a time.
  • Julia Blackburn, Thin Paths
    I began writing because I liked to write things down. I learnt foreign languages because they seemed to enter my head by a process of osmosis.
  • Joan Bakewell, Stop the Clocks
    I live contentedly alone. It's better that way and I am often thoughtful about what has been and what might have been. There are many like me.
  • Patti Smith, M Train
    Oh to be reborn within the pages of a book.
  • Patti Smith, M Train
    Why is it that we lose the things we love, and things cavalier cling to us and will be the measure of our worth after we’re gone?
  • Judith Kerr, Observer Magazine, 22 November 2015
    I don't believe in God. I find it much easier to believe in ancestors. I like to imagine they are pointing us in the right direction.

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