London finale: installments 4-6 and looking ahead

Monday, 26 March 2012 01:46 AM Written by 
While in London with the PG Critics Choice tour, March 6-11, I managed to publish just three installments of what should have been at least a six-installment diary (click the stage light at left and scroll back a few entries to find them).

The truth is, leading a theater tour of two dozen people while going to eight shows myself and trying to squeeze in some museums, pubs and antiquarian bookstores, it’s pretty much impossible to find time to write, especially if you hope to get more than four or five hours sleep. So I just fell down on the job – or to be more precise, fell asleep over the computer.

However, my survey including capsule reviews of the shows I saw is now out, published this Sunday, so you can see that my time was well spent.

I’ve been asked what shows I particularly recommend. One of my goals in reviewing, even when I have as little space as in this package of quick responses, is to say enough to help those interested make up their own minds. After all, tastes differ. But for myself, the top experience was “Matilda,” a deliciously snarky musical (if a tad too cute). Next, maybe “Bingo,” a grim picture of Shakespeare’s final days, lit up by a brilliant scene with Ben Jonson (very different from the Ben Jonson you saw in the movie “Anonymous”). Otherwise, I treated myself to a seminar in period comedy, from 18th century (early, middle and later) to c.1900 to the 1930s and 1950s.

One special treat was the Garrick Club, which I visited courtesy of a London critic friend. In this country, I don’t think most critics can afford to belong to such clubs (e.g. The Players in New York), but anyway, there aren’t really any clubs as grand as the Garrick, with its soaring ceilings and museum’s worth of theatrical art.

If you think you might be interested in next year’s London theater tour, probably to be scheduled in early March, keep your eye on the PG when it’s announced in the late fall, or, to be extra sure, contact Gulliver’s Travels (call 412-441-3131 or email and ask to be put on the list for a mailing.

And while I’m on the subject, have you noticed that we’re enrolling travelers now for the spring ShowPlane to New York?

(Several links still to be inserted in this post. Try tomorrow.)

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