Wednesday, 10 April 2013

The Way We Were

According to NME, New Order's Blue Monday is the greatest song of the 80s.  Now, I'd possibly agree.  But then, as far as I was concerned, musical nirvana came in the form of Andrew Lloyd-Webber,  more specifically the soundtracks to Cats and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dream Coat.

My mother actually took us to see Joseph, in real life; it was literally one of the most memorable treats of the entire decade, and we only just made it due to there being a bomb scare in the West End that same day.  It was life before the Good Friday agreement.

Which is a life that came back to me, in part, when I went to Arcola Theatre last weekend to see Gibraltar, by Alastair Brett with Sian Evans (who is an ex-Casualty script writer - I love Casualty), a play that suddenly seems significantly more timely than it did when I saw it, simply because of the subsequent death of Margaret Thatcher.  (Not of course that she solved the issues with Ireland.  But the Anglo-Irish agreement at least paved the way, a bit.)

But I'm getting ahead of myself:  the reason that I mention Ireland is that the play is based on the highly contentious 'Operation Flavius', the shooting of three Provisional IRA members by the SAS in 1988, all of whom were later found to have been unarmed.  The play also goes into drug running, MI5 informants,  gives an analysis of the television documentary based on the shootings, and provides a view into life on the Costa del Sol in the eighties.  And it's got a great little ditty about the SAS being 'Maggie's assassins'.  I'd recommend dinner at Mangal on Arcola Street beforehand.  The food is amazing.

And then, while we're on the subject of theatre, Brian Friel's Molly Sweeney at The Print Room - which has nothing to do with the Troubles or the IRA or indeed anything at all regarding politics or Margaret Thatcher, but is set in Ireland - is brilliant.  Really, really brilliant.  And it's not just me who thinks that (my husband tells me that I'm the worst critic ever because I'm so easily pleased.)  It's opened to 5* reviews.

Gibraltar is at Arcola Theatre until the 20th April.
Molly Sweeney is at The Print Room until the 27th April.