Time goes really slowly, it’s boring and then I suppose you die and realise that you spent huge chunks of it watching The Gilmore Girls or worrying or both, or just lamenting how boring life is.
Thankfully, the above has nothing to do with today’s post. Instead, this choice adolescent musing is testament to how maudlin our brain becomes when we don’t have something to occupy it. The above came to me while waiting for the start of Jerusalem, the current West End wonder play. What larks!
Despite my downbeat opening gambit, yesterday was actually great. How does Jez Butterworth do it? The subtleties of the writing, knowing when characters should return and how to develop them and how to put across a message, an essence and still make the whole thing totally believable and enthralling. I learnt a lot watching the play and please, by all means go elsewhere to read reviews of this incredible production. Frankly, I am still thinking about it, trying to work out its peculiar magic, sitting on my toe dampening balcony in a drizzly Manchester a day later. It is a singular work.
What you will get from proper reviews is that Mark Rylance is amazing, which he is, but I think that the rest of the cast have been overshadowed by the superlative glare cast on the lead actor and focal point of the play. Anyone who has even sniffed near a rural English town will recognise the characters; I particularly liked the guy who was happy to stay where he was, doing what he was doing, saving up for the weekend and whizz and wangers and ‘shagging on’. He had no ambition to leave his birth county and was despondent that his local TV news programme had gone global by joining forces with BBC Bristol. Please, if you have seen this play, explain to me how it works it’s magic. Especially if you are American and saw it on Broadway – did it work? Do you think they changed it for the US? It’s reductive to say that it is a West Country Shameless, not that Shameless isn’t brilliant. But Jerusalem manages to be instantly recognisable and totally English at its core and completely mystic and mesmeric at the same time. Seriously, if you’re reading this and have seen the play, let me know your thoughts. Or whether I am just a weirdo.
Mainly I am fascinated because Jerusalem I think is everything that I wish I had written and now some other fucker has gone and done it. Cheers Butterworth!
Otherwise, London seems the same – although Busaba Eathai have removed the fishcake from their starter menu, something which perplexed me so deeply that it was going to be the theme of my post (hence the title) until I got distracted by Jerusalem thoughts. If anyone has seen Jerusalem AND eaten at Busaba Eathai AND can explain why they got rid of my favourite fishy morsels, please explain it all.