Running to Hamlet !

Saturday 1250  –  13.08.2016

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Photo: Manuel Harlan

I know it’s a bit of a shock ,for my regular readers, that I am posting 2 Saturdays in a row because it’s been quite a while since I did that! ( though this one is, in fact, a week late – ho hum )

This Saturday I set off in the morning for Stratford-upon-Avon to attend a matinee performance of Hamlet at the famous Royal Shakespeare Theatre. It’s about 1 hr 45 mins drive and I allowed myself about 3 hrs just in case.  

It turned out the “just in case” was much needed.  

First there were problems on the infamous A14 road; about 25 mins of the extra time was lost there.

Then there were horrendous queues trying to get into Stratford-Upon-Avon, well it was a Saturday so I should have guessed that might happen and it is a huge Tourist destination being the birthplace of William Shakespeare. Another 20 mins lost there.  I hit the centre of Stratford with about 30 mins to go.. the theatre is right in the centre of the town so I was thinking I should be okay, although I was supposed to be there 15 mins before to collect my ticket.

But…… yes there’s so often a “But”.

Could I get parked? Nope! Even though I know, what I thought, were a couple of less well known parking places. Not today they weren’t.  I eventually got parked quite a long way from the theatre and now had just 15 mins left before curtain up. It was hot and I cannot run because of my “fixed” ankle.. I must have looked a sorry sight; red-faced and doing the equivalent speed of an Olympic walk, but without any degree of athleticism!

I arrived with just 5 mins to spare, thankfully they hadn’t sold on my ticket and I even had time to visit the ladies before sinking into my seat with 1 min to spare; noting that I was still wearing my prescription sunglasses, having left my glasses in my car!! Nothing for it but to watch through them. Unfortunately you are not allowed to take any photos during the performance so I have just included a few from around the theatre and the header from another source. 

The performance was utterly stunning; being full of passion, colour, drumming and brilliant lighting. Simon Godwin’s interpretation of the play is set in a present day? militaristic African state and the majority of the actors are black; sadly this is still considered to be unusual and a talking point.

The role of Hamlet was played by Paapa Essiedu, the first black actor to do so at the RSC. It was surely long overdue.  Paapa was outstanding – madness, pathos, indecision – a very fine and physical performance. He handles Hamlet’s descent into madness with eloquence and brilliance.  The staging was clever, as you would expect from The Royal Shakespeare Company, every inch of the stage used, with smoke, rising stages, entrances from between the audience and even a rope descent, but at the same time with very minimal, if sumptuous, props.

I could not fault any of the cast, all played their parts with gusto.. gusto is a good word for this piece of beautiful, fierce, oddness.  The howl from Horatio near the end is utterly memorable for it’s powerful, haunting and blood curdling nature.

Class all round and as it was so dazzling, my wearing sunglasses was instantly forgotten 😉  

Click on any of the photos to increase size.

Who knew that so many of the notable phrases, still use in almost everyday speech, came from Hamlet and were written almost 6 centuries ago. Here are just a few of them :-

Frailty, thy name is woman!

Neither a borrower nor a lender be

This above all: to thine own self be true

Murder most foul

There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so

What a piece of work is man

To be or not to be: that is the question

Get thee to a nunnery 

O, woe is me 

The lady doth protest too much 

Hoist with his own petard

There are lots more, as there are from every Shakespeare play.  Isn’t it wonderful that he still has such an influence on our language.

Your thoughts are very welcome as ever. 

Saturday Girl signing off.. 

Oh, and back in 2012 I wrote about one of Stratford-upon-Avon’s other attractions, The MAD museum. You can read about this fascinating place by clicking HERE  


If you’s like to you can take a look at my photography blog Photomania by clicking on the word.

Midnight Tango

Saturday 1463 – 15th July 2012.


“You can dance anywhere and you can dance in your mind, in your heart.”–Jacques D’Amboise


                                                                                                                     Manuel Harlan


I know this blog is often serious and I make no apologies about that as I guess I am quite a serious person. I don’t think I had realised just how much this is so but it has become apparent to me since I started this blog that at times I do want to use it to talk about issues that are of importance to me.

I DO hope my sense of humour can be glimpsed too!

I am reminded that this blog isn’t just what I am thinking about but what I am doing on each of the last 1500  Saturdays I might have left.

So today’s is about unbridled pleasure..

It was my daughter’s birthday in December and I bought her a present that she has only just received, but definitely worth waiting for, tickets to see Midnight Tango in Milton Keynes, home of the Open University, Concrete Cows and Grid pattern streets that all look the same!.

Here’s a bit from the advertising blurb which tells you a little about it though it doesn’t mention that there’s also a lot of comedy in there –

“Midnight Tango is set in a late night bar in downtown Buenos Aires and featuring some of the finest Tango dancers in the world and live music, Midnight Tango, takes you on a journey into a heart of this intoxicating city. Danger and excitement, joy and jealousy, pain and passion all combine.”

Unfortunately photography was strictly prohibited and even though I did sneak a couple of shots they weren’t up to much so for once I am using shots found on the internet ( shame on you Helen !! ) to illustrate what I love about the Tango.. The body tension,precision and lines, intimacy, passion and sensuality.

Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace are brilliant world-class dancers and the show is a showcase for them.

I have credited the photos where I can –

Take a look.

                                                                                         Alastair Muir




Manuel Harlan


                                      Manuel Harlan


                                                                          Manuel Harlan


and better still a video of a few bits from the show

If you get the opportunity to see this show I would most definitely take it..

I love this quote attributed to Anastasia Demaggio though I’ve no idea who she is!

“In tango, the relationship between lead and follower, man and woman, is so intense and all-consuming, that there is simply no time for small talk. The last man I danced with, I know more intricately in many ways than his lover: I know that he perspires in a tiny spot above his brow; that when the dance slows and our connection is tight, his breathing almost stops; that when my leg sweeps his, he arches his neck imperceptibly upwards; that when another couple got too close he subconsciously enclosed me in a protective embrace; and that his hand rested so delicately on the flesh of my back. Yet all I know about him are his name and his country of origin. Small talk is a luxury not afforded to us tango addicts.”


and here’s some street Tango in Argentina… I especially like the 2nd half of this video

I hope you’ve enjoyed my happy trip into the world of the Tango

I also have a daily photography blog called Helen’s Photomania which you can find here I hope you’ll pop over and take a look if you haven’t already.