A couple of weeks ago I discovered the 18th-century German playwright Friedrich Schiller. (Yes, very belatedly.)
Having loved the production of his Don Carlos now in London, I went on Saturday night to the other end of the theatre world to see his Maria Stuart at a fringe venue in Southwark, the Union Theatre.
The friend with whom I went wasn't entirely convinced by the idea, and almost tried to persuade me to see The History Boys instead, but in the end, after some doubtful moments, she was glad she hadn't.
The acting was surprisingly good, in places excellent, particularly by the actress in the lead role, and if Queen Elizabeth at first seemed a bit of an odd presentation, it grew on you.
The trains rattled overhead (the theatre is in the railway arches), they should to do something to stop the CD player on the stage manager's computer whirring all the time, but this is the fringe. What really could be done is to rein in the director's flights of fancy that has the players occasionally moving into arty slow motion dances between scenes, and quite why a telephone suddenly appears at the start of the second act, when the rest is more or less an original-setting production, is utterly beyond me.
But overall it is well worth ten quid if you can get to see it. (The curious "leave a message on the tape if you want tickets" method of booking seems to work.)
And if Maria Stuart appears anyway in the world near you go to see it; this is a spectacularly fine piece of drama.
P.S. I can also recommend the nearby Baltic "vodka shot" bar - very good fun (and the music is at a volume that makes conversation possible!) The ginger vodka is dangerous delicious, and the plum brandy not bad at all.
A tag: [theatre]