So, I mentioned that when we were at the National Theatre we impulse-bought some tickets for later. The first of these, on Wednesday evening, was Treasure Island, which seemed like a fun kids’ play and turned out to actually be pretty impressive. The staging was insane: the set transformed and rotated in real time during the show, with Jim’s grandmother’s inn rising up out of the stage and, later on, belowdecks rising up as well, then in the second act things rising up to reveal underground tunnels. Very impressive staging. There was also a well-done animatronic parrot and a detailed stars/constellations setup over the audience.
The other particularly notable thing about the play that Jim, the protagonist, is a female tomboy with initially unstated gender (and a good exchange early on which amounted to: “Be you girl or boy?” “That’s my own business.”) The cast is likely much more gender-balanced than the book. This is particularly interesting because the book was originally subtitled “A Story for Boys” and a quote from Stevenson about the book being explicitly for boys and excluding women. In addition to my general like for gender-variant characters, I thought that was a cool way of reclaiming adventure stories for everyone.
That Saturday we decided to see some more of Kensington. We started at the Troubadour, a pub and music venue that Sarah really likes with cool decor, good food, and apparently good music (though we haven’t been there for music yet). Nearby is the Brompton Cemetery, a large and gorgeous overgrown cemetery, which we wandered a little and looked at the varied setups and plant growth.
Then we made our way up to Holland Park, a great foresty park with the remnants of a mansion bombed in the blitz and lots of trees and gardens. There, we finally did our first geocaching in London, including an elaborate and well-designed multi-cache as well as a couple of smaller caches. I’m a big fan of Holland Park, and the caching was a great way to see various parts of it. Then we saw the new Cinderella movie at a theatre that looked like it had been a cool building but really only had an elaborate staircase left. The Frozen short was fun. Cinderella itself was very pretty but felt like the people making it had different ideas of what they were trying to have it be, leading to it not achieving anything terribly cohesive. Still, it had some great scenes and was very elaborate.
Sunday featured some relaxing and also a brief foray to the Victoria & Albert Museum, which had a small and somewhat randomly assorted collection of cool Japanese stuff and an impressive array of wrought iron. Also an impressive medieval staircase. Afterwards, we wandered Kensington Gardens, which is huge. We saw the Elfin Oak: a dead tree trunk with little sprites and other decorations added on, which was pretty awesome. (There was also a notable entrant in the general pattern I’ve noticed of “people building fancy memorial stone water fountains last century sometime and then them not being kept in working order, which I find a shame.)
Afterwards, we ended up dashing about finding a place to eat dinner amid some reasonably-impressive rain. I think we ended up at a Thai place or something.
The main thing I remember from that week (aside from Pac-Man in Google Maps ^_^) was going to a tavern on Earl’s Court Road called the Blackbird, which had delicious pies and cider.
In non-London-specific news, I finished Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, which I’m somewhat all over. I’m distinctly threatening to write a rationalist Frozen fanfic at some point. Because obviously.