Bond and Berowne
At 2 p.m. on Friday I had my bottom on a seat in the local cinema for the afternoon showing of Quantum of Solace – and I loved it. I know reviews have been mixed, but personally I prefer the new grittier set-up, i.e. no gadgets or gratuitous sex scenes. Yes, the storyline is a bit ropey at times, but I’d be lying if I said that’s what I wanted from a Bond film. Knowing that this was set literally hours after the end of Casino Royale, I was more interested in following Bond’s story – James as a person, as a spy and (to quote from the film) as “damaged goods”. And in that sense, I think both the film and Daniel Craig really deliver. The undercurrent that ran through the film was his struggle to deal with his emotions following his ordeal with Vesper, and yet to continue doing his job. Add in a flashy car, an aeroplane, a couple of pretty but feisty ladies, explosions, fire, some chases, Daniel Craig’s fantastic voice (I love that this Bond has a clean-cut English accent) and a fantastic turn from Judi Dench as M (ooh, feel the crackle between her and Bond!) and you’ve got a great 007 caper. I came out feeling shaken and stirred (apologies for the pun!).
On Friday evening I was back in Stratford at the Courtyard Theatre for the RSC production of Love’s Labour’s Lost. It’s not one of Shakespeare’s better-known plays, and I recently bought a copy to try and familiarise myself with it beforehand. Now I know why it’s not all that well-known! It’s very hard work to read because it’s linguistically challenging – it’s still quite funny, but the edge is taken off when you have to keep checking the notes to make sense of what you’ve just read. But, as my old English teacher used to tell me, Shakespeare didn’t write his plays to be read, he wrote them to be seen. And for me, Love’s Labour’s is the perfect example of that. With all the complicated language put into context on stage with great direction and sparkling performances, the play became something fantastic. I laughed till it hurt…in fact I think I slightly annoyed the woman who was sitting next to me! Obviously, I thought that David Tennant was fantastic as Berowne, but we know I have no objectivity when it comes to him… DT aside, I loved Edward Bennet’s performance as the King – excellent comic timing and subtle but wonderful expressions; and Mariah Gale and Nina Sosanya were stunning in both looks and performance as the French Princess and Rosaline respectively. It’s on for another couple of weeks so anyone who’s tempted should definitely check the box office for returns!