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Albion – emotional indoor gardening

Another evening, another theatre, feeding my ever-voracious appetite for drama, this time in North London at the Almeida yesterday.

A preview performance of Mike Bartlett’s play Albion.  The play was performed, by substantially the same cast, just over two years ago to sold-out houses and rave reviews so I had booked ahead a while ago to secure a couple of decent seats.

I loved this production. I particularly loved the staging – a garden which changed with the seasons, from winter through summer then autumn. The planting for summer was performed by the cast in an interlude, with music – and similarly when the plants were supposed to have died away, they removed them and scattered dead leaves on the lawn. More and more flowers or leaves.

The fully planted garden (taken during the interval)

So, these were bucolic surroundings for some truly emotional scenes: grief dividing strong women in a garden. Massive simplification and I’m not going to try and explain more here other than to add that there was an actual rainstorm, a very affecting ghost and quite a lot of mud. There’s a lot to think about in relation to my country in its newly post-Brexit era – perhaps a significant reason to revive the production so soon.

It had crossed my mind at the time of the summer planting that I was in danger of enjoying the gardening display above the acting but, for a number of reasons, not least the individual and ensemble performances, the story touched and moved me. The best of 2020 so far.

Also, there was a young man who took his top off.  Unnecessary?

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