Went to the theatre to see Donkey's Years: classic Michael Frayn farce from the Seventies that's been revived. Absolutely superb: brilliantly timed with intricately planned entrances and exits; witty script; excruciating accurately-observed characters. If you're in London, just go and see it.
Was worried that it would be dated, but it actually seems pretty timeless; since it takes place in a kind of nostalgic bubble: a gaggle of old college friends, one a government minister, return for a reunion. Doesn't seem to have many period references, except maybe to Industrial Action. Saw it with an American, and it didn't seem to be too UK-centric either.
Another thing that pleased me, since I'm very shallow about these things, was that it was a play that did a lot of scene shifting: lots of raising and dropping false walls and moving of furniture to create several realistic rooms and settings. That seems to be very out of fashion at the moment: these days you seem to either have minimalist sets, or one big static multi-levelled set that they move around on. Maybe one day I'll be cultured and will learn to appreciate an empty black stage with a black curtain and actors in black jeans and black jerseys.
Ate at the Woodlands restaurant afterwards (South Indian, vegetarian). Pretty nice but had amazing difficulty in finishing my food for some reason.
What I'm Reading
Nearly finished Rabbit Redux by John Updike. Much superior to the first one: Updike has trimmed out at lot of the pretentiousness from the prose, and added a lot more eventfulness to the story.
Overall it's definitely redux; following the same basic pattern where Rabbit splits up with his wife, and finds another more promiscuous partner which eventually leads to tragedy before his reconciliation. This volume has a lot more politics, as Rabbit spends time in the orbit of a black militant Vietnam veteran: has a fascinating slow depiction of Rabbit's attitudes alter, even slightly as they do.
It's set in 1969, and again portrays the period very well. Very much takes the downbeat view that was prevalent at the time of a dark time of war, unrest, despair and confusion; rather than the rosy haze of baby-boomer flower-power nostalgia.
Definitely worth reading. Would work as a standalone novel: probably a better place to start than the weaker first installment.
The character of Rabbit is less irritating this time, probably because he suffers more. Since the third one is called "Rabbit is Rich", will probably not read that one, at least for a while.
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