Wednesday, July 1, 2009

That was delicious!

I am so full, I could not possibly look at another thing! This is how I feel after a sinfully indulgent trip to London and Ireland with my family. While we were ostensibly there to visit my dear old relatives in County Tipperary, I could not help but make the most of being out there in the big wide world.

So, on our first night in London we scored tickets to see Paul Weller at the Shepherds Bush Empire, just one in an incredible bill of acts to celebrate the fiftieth birthday of Island Records. Next stop was a production of Peter Pan in a big-top tent in Kensington Gardens, complete with great acting on flywires and neat puppetry.

Days later I found myself at the opening night of the Dublin Writers' Festival where, gentle-voiced but sure-worded, the beautiful Seamus Heaney read poems in celebration of his seventy years of life and eighty years of Faber and Faber publishing. You have to feel good in a country where poets and playwrights are accorded the celebrity status that Australia saves for sporting figures. In Lisdoonvarna (home of the famous annual match-making festival), local musicians wander into a darkened pub with instruments tucked under their wings. They meet up and play purely for their pleasure, which happily became ours too.

Back in London, we could not resist the lure of the West End, where we duly trotted off to take the children to see the Lion King and Mama Mia. Of course, it was all about the children and I couldn't possibly admit to having a fantastic time, especially in Mama Mia which ended with the entire audience up and dancing in the aisles.

But the cherry on that gloriously indulgent culural cake was, without a doubt, the ten quid student tickets to see Waiting for Godot with Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart. I mean really, how cool was that? Front row, right there with some of the world's best actors doing a show that, in the wrong hands, could be excruciating but with these guys was truly breathtaking.

Yes, I feel full and satisfied. Like I have been spoiled with the tastiest of performance treats. But the diet will have to wait, as back in Hobart the next thing on the menu is the Festival of the Voices. No, I couldn't possibly have more.

Well, maybe just a little...

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