I have been meaning to write this since the weekend; it must be the sinking feeling all this rain is giving me that has prevented me from starting, because the day, my birthday, which was such a brilliant day and which contained such brilliant experiences, was only slightly, but worryingly marred by .... so called .. UNCLE fans ..!( There's good and bad below here ....Collapse )
I'll skim over the first part of my birthday ... for all gymnites, I was in the gym at 8 going at it with Jim. No that doesn't sound right .. well you get the idea.
We set off for London straight after, collected the keys for my brother's flat where we were staying the night (it's so wonderful to have a brother with a flat in central London) and then headed off to lunch at this brilliant place in Exmouth Market (lovely bit of London near where brother lives) for lunch. After lunch, straight to the National Gallery for viewing of not one, but two pictures of Van Gogh's Sunflowers. Our one (I say 'our' meaning 'The Nation's one) and another which has been loaned from the museum at Amsterdam. For Sunflower lovers it was total joy.
Then, on to Charing Cross Road, where with superb strategic planning, the theatre proved to be only five minutes away from the National Gallery. However, we were early, so indulged in a little book buying in Blackwells and a rather lovely light dinner of Moules (Mussels) and frites (no translation necessary) before moving on to the main event of the evening.
The Garrick theatre is really the loveliest of places, very beautiful and intimate, just how a theatre should be (IMO). And we were so lucky to have seats in Row C, at almost touching distance of the stage. Everything was set up for absolute pleasure and it (and he) did not disappoint.
Twelve Angry men is an immense play, and I'm sure some of you will remember the 1957 film (well I know you probably didn't watch it in 1957 but hey ...). The action of the play is set in a room in a courthouse in New York on a fantastically hot and humid day, the weather playing an important part in setting the mood of the drama. Twelve men are given the task of deciding the fate of a young black man accused of murdering his father. Without giving you a long and detailed resume of the story, one man challenges the prejudices and pre-conceived notions of the other eleven, most of whom reveal their deep seated problems and attitudes as the play progresses. All the actors are on stage for the whole of the time, so that they have to be in role continually, a challenge for any actor I would think.
Robert Vaughn plays the pivotal role IMO of the first juror to be persuaded that the boy might not be guilty. It was fascinating to see how he sat for most of the play at the table, didn't say a huge amount, but what he said was absolutely central to persuading the others of the boy's innocence. His facial expressions and body language were fantastic. We were both so gripped by what was going on that we didn't notice that the rectangular table actually revolved at some point during the action (it must have done it very slowly) and suddenly you realised that it was sideways on etc. The other actors were also superb; most of them were British I think, but it was impossible to tell who was British and who American. It was very much a play where you went home and discussed the issues of justice, prejudice, belief, etc that it raised.
Sadly but joyously, after two wonderful hours it was over. I hadn't really thought much about what we would do afterwards, to be honest, rather than just go home. However, while I was chatting to someone near the stage door my husband pointed out to me that RV was coming out of the front of the theatre. With a slight fluttering of the heart, (only my heart of course, Stephen was calm), we stood outside the doors, along with a small group of women, who very sweetly (this is England after all) began to clap politely as he came out of the doors. I have to admit now that I am not a very accomplished fan, and have an innate fear of embarrassing myself or the person I am trying to admire. Consequently I just stood there in a state of semi petrification for a few moments. Then the unthinkable happened.
What I can only describe as a gang of men, made up I have to say of the strangest assortment of males I've seen in a long time, literally barged their way through the small, polite group of woman, and surrounded RV. As my husband observed, they had come prepared. For some reason they were all in black, brandishing what looked like clip boards to which were attached photos of Napoleon I think and also very large A4 size UNCLE badge things like you see at the beginning of the TV programme. When the theatre security people took exception to their behaviour, some pretty insulting things were said. It was horrible, and, whether he (RV) was used to this sort of thing or not, I found it extremely intimidating. Thus it proved virtually impossible to do anything except stand and stare. I actually found myself standing next to his car as he got in it eventually and then slipped away into the night.
I never expected to see either Robert Vaughn or David McCallum at all, and so to be honest, the play was such an unexpected and memorable event in my life, and was enough. However, that incident has left an unpleasant taste in my mouth of how fans can overstep the mark, particularly since he is now quite an old man (but soooo sweet and lovely). Perhaps someone can explain to me who these people are and what on earth they are doing to bring the whole MFU fan group into such discredit.
I apologise for not providing pictures - only just recovering from the trauma, and hey, you know what he looks like .. lovely.