The RSC: King John

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This afternoon was a unique opportunity to see Shakespeare’s rarely performed production of ‘King John’ at the Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon.

We met Chris and Gill at theirs and headed over to the Theatre in time for a spot of lunch followed by the performance at 1.30pm. (The lunch incidentally, was superb!)

I wasn’t familiar with this production at all, but any performance that features a live food-fight (warning those in the front-row that they ‘may not escape the fallout‘ gets my vote! ๐Ÿ˜„).

On a more serious note, it’s billed as: ‘a tale of a nation in turmoil that vibrates with modern resonance‘ and tells the story of John’s turbulent reign from 1199 to 1216. Now that sounded like something worth seeing! ๐Ÿ˜

So, what of the production itself? If you like your Shakespeare productions on traditional side, then this most definitely WON’T be the one for you. And unlike many of the Bard’s other works, there’s no well-known characters in this, nor any famous one-liners to hang onto!

But overall, none of this really mattered!

For me, although the plot was difficult to follow (no change there then!) the acting, costumes, lighting, music and stage were all definitely something to remember! Everyone gave an excellent performance, and the very wacky production design didn’t distract at all. In fact, the ‘dad-dancing’ (yes, really!), the additional short dance routines, the fight scenes and the encouraged audience participation, made the aforementioned food-fight feel quite appropriate! And yes, some the audience will have had a cleaning bill! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

Quite a lot of blood too! ๐Ÿ˜ซ

In conclusion, a thoroughly engaging production but not one for the traditionalists

and maybe it was just me, but the fact that they brought on two Henry vacuum cleaners to clear up the stage during the interval made me giggle – ‘Part 1’ and ‘Part 2’ perhaps???? ๐Ÿ˜‚

China – By the numbers!

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A Chinese ‘Sanpan’


Welcome to my second – and final – piece reflecting on our recent holiday in China, (the first was posted HERE yesterday). Our 19-day adventure included shiny modern cities, smaller towns, rural locations, large retail malls, small local shops – and pretty-much everything in between! We saw the uber-rich, the rich, the poor and the very poor. We people-watched a lot of time whilst travelling by train, mini-bus as well as by foot, and this offered us a great understanding of modern China. Unsurprisingly, my figures DON’T reflect Hong Kong (it felt very different!).

Our China Holiday in 2019

China – By the Numbers!

Best read with your tongue occasionally in your cheek! ๐Ÿ˜

0 motorists giving way on the roads (from ANY direction!)
0 locals understanding ‘cold milk in a jug please’
0 awareness of a Westerner’s need for ‘personal space’
0 locals prepared to queue
0 rickshaws seen in action
0 lbs weight-gain (Ann). Only 2 for Steve! – see the last item on this list!
0.25 metres of toilet roll in the whole of mainland China
0.33 bars of soap in total when out-and-about
1 person in a wheelchair
1 canal trip
1 phone/laptop portable charger confiscated (ironically on our final internal flight)
1 beggar
1 Audi e-tron
1 McDonald’s visit
1 lake
1 location where my VPNs didn’t work all day
1 Irish Bar
1 sound-and-light show
2 languages on most major road signs (English & Chinese) in/near the big cities
2 pieces of cheese (they don’t appear to ‘do’ cheese in China!)
2 river trips
2 international flights
2 motorists signalling (surely a mistake!)
2 locals using the toilet cubicle with the door OPEN
3 paper hand-towels (but not in the same place!)
3 Stellas
3 scooter riders of 300 million (official ownership stats!) with their lights on when it was dark
4 different scooter riders (only!) wearing skid-lids
4 glasses of Guinness (ยฃ12 a pint!)
4 mozzy bites
4 Brits trying to make sense of it all
5 domestic flights
7 Temples
7 tour guides (Michael, Mona, Nina, Jeremy, John, Stephen and Mark)
8 is THE lucky number of you’re Chinese
8 cities
11 Chinese lunches
11 Teslas
14 teas tasted, ranging from ‘English Breakfast’, ‘Earl Grey’ to ‘Habiscus and Rose’
16 local beers
18 blog-posts
19 pagodas
23 coffees (they were found with the ‘hen’s teeth’)
125 quid for a new electric scooter – and you don’t need a licence to put it on the road
350 km/h – top speed of China’s ‘bullet’ trains (that’s a mighty 217 mph!)
430 km/h – top speed of the Shanghai’s ‘Maglev’ train (270 mph!) – Kettering to St Pancras in 15 minutes!
580 people in the cast of the sound-and-light show
800 metres of silk thread from a single silkworm’s cuckoon
806 Photos
23,247 Chinese flags (OK, we didn’t really count them all, but the Chinese are very patriotic!)
225,616 steps (including 28,102 in Hong Kong) – we DID count these using our phones!

Phew! ๐Ÿ˜


My camera-roll (and less of my chat!) HERE