13 September 2014

The Comedy of Errors, Shakespeare's Globe

It finally rolled around. Having booked it months in advance, when the tickets get released at the beginning of the season, Mum and I were off to see our second play at The Globe in as many years having fallen in love with A Midsummer's Night's Dream

One of Shakespeare's earliest, The Comedy of Errors is one of his shortest and most humorous plays. What's it about? 
Take one pair of estranged twin brothers (both called Antipholus), and one pair of estranged twin servants (both called Dromio), keep them in ignorance of each other and throw them into a city with a reputation for sorcery, and you have all the ingredients for theatrical chaos. One Antipholus is astonished by his foreign hospitality; the other enraged by the hostility of his hometown. The Dromios, caught between the two, are soundly beaten for obeying all the wrong orders. Basing his plot on a face by Plautus, Shakespeare caps the mayhem of his Roman original to build up a hectic tale of violent cross-purposes, furious slapstick and social nightmare.
I'll be the first to admit, I'm not a huge fan of slapstick comedy. Throwing custard pies and sticking a leg out? No thanks. But right from the off of this play, I was hooked.
A glorious cast jest their way through a script that is simultaneously elegant and naughty. Complaints of Shakespeare being difficult to follow could be completely assuaged by seeing this play - the words were brought to life with such beauty that it inspired me to pick up my languishing copy of his Works. The joy of Shakespeare is that despite the somewhat antiquated language, the jokes and the passion still shine through and they're just as easy to find funny - the entire audience were in complete hysterics with some well-timed japes (and of course, a ridiculous scene involving a rubber octopus) and there was a brilliant nod to both Hamlet and Harry Potter in one understated scene.

Being able to see a play that's been performed for almost 400 years today is such a privilege, and The Globe is one of the most accessible theatres in London. Standing tickets (groundlings) are as little as £5 so you can simply wander in to watch that day or book in advance and snap up seats for a bit more - we go for what we call the best in the house - H5 and H6 on the Upper Gallery for pure, interrupted viewing.

We've vowed to go once every season so I can't wait 'til April when the next run of shows gets released. Who knows, maybe they'll do a classic Romeo & Juliet? Here's hoping.

12 September 2014


One of the reasons I was most exciting to finally move into the new house (have I gone on enough about it yet?) was being able to cook. While staying in a beautiful house with friends for the last two months has been great, having half a salad crisper worth of space in the fridge (yes, really) was bordering on torture. Now, in the new house, I'm only sharing with A and S and we have no plans to be militant about fridge space. I ordered my huge food shop (so many things to buy when you start from scratch!) on Wednesday so have been getting into the habit of cooking things - and then having to eat them off one of two chopping boards as we don't have any plates or bowls yet.

I stumbled across this incredible food photography; ingredients given life by being tossed into the air and captured just at the right moment (I think the one above looks a little like a flower, don't you?). How the dish looks when cooked is up to you - pristine cuisine, eat your heart out.

11 September 2014

Menier Chocolate Factory restaurant

This place sounded right up my street. A restaurant in a former chocolate factory? Say no more, I'm sold.

I'd been tasked with finding a restaurant for lunch before we went to see The Comedy of Errors at The Globe (more on that soon) on Friday. We needed to be close enough to dash off to our seats once we'd eaten our fill, didn't want anything too expensive and didn't want a chain. That narrowed our selection down quite significantly so after some Googling and Try This For-ing, I laboriously booked the Menier Chocolate Factory for our pre-theatre dining.

It was never going to be easy though, was it? My mum's train was delayed which meant we had to push our table back (which was fine) and hotfoot it down the packed South Bank to Southwark. Finally arriving at Menier, we were greeted with a beautiful old warehouse building that, true to its name used to be the site of a chocolate factory, now houses a restaurant, bar, rehearsal room and theatre. We had just over forty five minutes to order and eat which was always going to be a push, despite the very friendly and accommodating staff, so any expectations of a relaxing lunch went completely out of the window.

Mum went off-piste and ordered the burger (£11) - patty, bacon, cheddar, relish and lettuce - served with chunky chips and a small pot of ketchup on the side. Predictably, the behemoth that arrived was vast and a little on the dry side but for someone who doesn't tend to order burgers that often, devoured in double quick time.

I went for the carne sharing platter, the size of which is in the name. A vast plate of chorizo, parma ham, teruel lomo was fringed with two slabs of duck and ham hock terrine (dry but I soldiered on), tzatziki (underlyingly fizzy but also soldiered on), olives and huge amounts of warm khobez bread. At £15, the portion size of some of the elements was more than ample but the ingredients themselves were a little lacking in flavour, taste and finesse. I didn't manage to finish as time was against us so I felt a little bit done in when handing over my card for the bill but reassured that we hadn't opted for a pricier menu.

Saying our goodbyes, we fled back to the river just in time to take our seats for what, of course, would be the showstopper of the day. Shakespeare, of course, can do no wrong. Menier Chocolate Factory, on the other hand, gets a two and a half out of five from me.

10 September 2014

Party! (The Meth Lab)

I feel that I think it's been a 'crazy few days' pretty often but the last week or so really takes the crown. It all started last week really with an indescribable number of back and forths trying to organise our new house until Thursday, when we were finally able to sign the contract on our lovely new house in Clapton. I, of course, was in the mood to celebrate so traipsed up to Camden with T and J for a wholly different kind of night out.

I'm not one for reality shows. We had a house phase of watching Geordie Shore before we got bored, we turn off Big Brother quicker than a blink of that big eye and TOWIE really doesn't appeal. Ru Paul's Drag Race, on the other hand, is our vice of choice. Each season (there's been six so far) twelve handpicked drag queens compete to be the next Drag Queen Superstar of America. Whether they're comedy queens, pageant girls, club kids or lip-syncers, they're pitted against each other to find out who can become the fiercest, fishiest queen to take it all. And it's absolutely brilliant.

We're addicted to watching it and finally, this year, the winner and one of the runners up of season six crossed the Atlantic to bring some American attitude to London. Hosted by Meth, one of London's most famous queens, in The Meth Lab (aka The Black Cap in Camden) the nights are a riot of cabaret, comedy and eye-watering performances. Back in August, we went to see winner Bianca del Rio - a killer queen with an acid tongue who had us in absolute stitches as she combined good-natured heckling with wickedly simultaneous self-deprecation and aggrandisement until we could barely breathe. Last week, we saw Adore Delano - the flamehaired singer whose potty mouth would make even the hardiest of builders blush. While she wasn't as funny as her predecessor, she put on a damn good show and had everybody screaming for more as soon as she strutted off-stage.

Honourable mention must go to LoLo Brow, a cabaret act who mashed up an old-school Caspa & Rusko song with a routine that involved stapling playing cards to her naked body. Told you drag nights can be eye-watering.

While far from the most conventional of nights out, partying in an environment so full of warmth and support can be a breath of fresh air from some of the more sinister London scenes. Yes, the audience is mostly men who simultaneously berate you for taking up valuable dancing space but appreciate a bit of community support but if a girl can't come away from a drag night with a few make up tips, then she's doing it wrong.

3 September 2014

Currently #4

eating // Rosie's Lemon & Garlic Chicken with mountains of dauphinoise potatoes and salad on a cold night, and saving her Pork Belly recipe for a perfect weekend.
introducing // My dad to Pizza Pilgrims on Carnaby Street. I'm like a broken record because I love these guys, but I've totally managed to convert my dad too.
drinking // The Sohocello Bombs from Pizza Pilgrims made with the especially-made Chase limoncello.
dancing // In the parade at my first Notting Hill Carnival. It was the rainiest Monday but having donned an attractive yellow poncho, nothing could stop me.
adding // Cloud Atlas, The Godfather and The Fall of The House of Usher to my reading list. Have you read any of them? 
waiting // To get the keys for our new place. Having spent the last seven days in referencing hell, we're hoping to finally move in at the weekend
looking forward // To watching The Comedy of Errors at The Globe on Friday. Mum and I have got our favourite seats (we think the best in the house) and I'm thinking about taking a hip flask because there's nothing like nips of something whilst watching a bit of Shakespeare.
needing // To completely furnish our new place. I've spent hours trawling Pinterest for inspiration and have a million tabs open with things to buy. It's exciting and expensive in equal measures.
wearing // The coolest of accessories - tiger facepaint - courtesy of a 'quiet' night in with the guys (see above)
working // My socks off. With international opportunities a big thing next year, I'm determined to show my worth and bring new ideas to the table. I work two roles in one so I'm entitled to get a bit power-woman on myself, right?

You can find more Currentlys here.

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