After booking the tickets seemingly years ago, last night was finally the night to see the Magistrate.
"With his louche air and a developed taste for smoking, gambling, port and women, it’s hard to believe Cis Farringdon is only fourteen. And that’s because he isn’t. Agatha his mother lopped five years from her true age and his when she married the amiable Posket.
Well, when I heard the new dad was a police magistrate, I was scared. Said I to myself, “If I don’t mind my Ps and Qs, the Guv’nor – from force of habit – will fine me all my pocket-money.”
The imminent arrival of Cis’ godfather sends Agatha incognito to the Hôtel des Princes to warn him of her deception. But it’s also where her son has cajoled his otherwise staid stepfather into joining him for a binge. High-spirited carousing leads to a police raid and a night of outrageous mishap as the trapped guests make desperate attempts to conceal themselves from the law and from each other. Indignities escalate at court the next day where Posket, the police magistrate, must preside."
This was a truly outstanding performance from the National Theatre, and I think it may have earned its place as my favourite play ever.
I was particularly impressed for the following reasons:
1. The characters were all very likeable. Usually, I have one favourite character, but here I was torn between Posket, Cis' and smaller roles too - such as the waiter in the Hotel des Princes. I think it takes a lot of skill for the audience to be so engaged with comparatively minor roles.
2. The singing. The songs were well interspersed between the scenes, and actually added something to the play, rather than detracted as can be the case. The Singing Dandys did a great job and the lyrics were well composed and witty.
3. The scenery and costumes. I'd say the National Theatre always has great sets, but I thought this was truly exceptional. But it wasn't just the look of the set that impressed me - the way the set moved between scenes was really quite something to watch.
After the play, Harry and I went to the Mezzanine Restaurant at the National Theatre for the post-theatre dining deal. For £15, you got a flat-iron steak with frites, bearnaise sauce, a small tomato salad, bread, and a blackberry bellini. An absolute steal. The steak surpassed my expectations, being a good inch or so thick, and nicely pink in the middle. The portion was generous too.
All round, a great evening at the National Theatre. I can't recommend it enough.