36 Hours in Hackney

I don’t get to Hackney as often as I would like, nor do I manage to get to the theatre often either.  So it is with a real feeling of excitement that I bundle myself  into our car on Tuesday afternoon, our destination being a Light household in east London.   I have tickets for a double bill at the Aldwych Theatre in the Strand.  Hilary Mantel’s two novels based on the life of Thomas Cromwell have been scripted as plays.  The two full-length plays are being performed to run concurrently and on Wednesdays you can see Wolf Hall as a matinee and Bring Up The Bodies as an evening performance.  I am to be accompanied by Emma to one play and Dan to the other.  To enhance the neat symmetry I have even booked the same seats for each play at the front of the Circle.  The plays are described as ‘a familiar tale with a thrilling originality of storytelling’.   The sets are cleanly simple, the cast shifting from one scene to another by walking to a distal point on the stage, turning and re-entering in another frame.  As with the novels the dialogue imagined between the protagonists has riveting verisimilitude.

On the Wednesday I walked a good distance of Dan’s daily route into Scrutton Street with him.  We stopped at Betty’s café for coffee, then I completed my journey to Tottenham Court Road by bus.  I meandered down to Covent Garden, found a water hole for lunch which was disappointing, and, because it was chilly, I bought a colourful wool scarf to go with my new royal blue top.  I then met up with Emma for the play.  Lovely mother and daughter-in-law treat.  After Wolf Hall I killed a bit of time then met Dan in The Delauney for a light supper before the second play. I think both my guests were taken with the performances. I enjoyed every moment. Dan and I took a taxi to Betty’s for a night cap, then a bus to Downs Park Road. On Thursday morning we bade our farewells, not forgetting my beloved tabby Rooney who now lives in Hackney, and took the girlies to school before heading for Dorset.

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