Monday, June 27, 2011

Of Birthdays and Beauty Queens

As we all know, birthdays can be easily (and rightfully) extended to encompass at least a week. If the birthday in question is a landmark one, it's almost de rigeur to extend the celebrations for a month or two. Long time readers might recall, for example, Dong's "longest celebration" which merged nicely into Mrs The Millbrooker's anniversaire of a couple of years ago - the details of which can be found here. With volume two of the memoirs here. Volume three is here. There is also a volume four here. And a volume five for those with supreme stamina is here.

You probably have the idea by now.

Mrs The Millbrooker celebrated her actual birthday last week on the summer solstice - which fell this year in the middle of a working week. So, naturally, the whole thing was extended to the weekend. To mark the occasion we went to Wiltshire to stay with Anal and Sandybum; we also took in a play at Bath's famed Theatre Royal.

Let' start at the very beginning (it's a very good place to start, apparently).

After an uneventful and comfy trip during which Mrs The Millbrooker tried out her birthday present camera...
...we found ourselves on the platform at Westbury.

Shortly after that we found ourselves packed into Anal and Sandybum's little Ka.
Our hosts decided that the best plan would be to head more-or-less straight into Bath, spend the afternoon pootling around and then eat wherever took our fancy before it was theatre time. So that's what we did.
A quick lunch in the Abbey Churchyard followed.
Shortly after that the party separated into gender specific pairings. One gender seemed to have an interest in looking inside lots of shops. The other had more important matters in mind.
Several important matters later, and after failing to find anywhere that we really fancied eating; the call of Wetherspoon's got to us and a birthday nosh ensued in the King of Wessex - almost next door to BathNick's pad. Sorry we didn't get to see you, BathNick, the schedule didn't allow for such pleasantries - here's to next time.
And so - to the highlight of the weekend: Martin McDonagh's "The Beauty Queen of Leenane", a revival by the Young Vic. 

Here's the set as it appeared from the royal circle in Bath's Theatre Royal:
I have no intention of turning this into a review - the play itself is wonderfully written and has McDonagh's trademark dark humour and splendidly banal, yet wickedly funny, dialogue in between fits of violence and bleakness. The four performers were spot on, the set worked excellently. I did think that the house was a bit poor - less than half full, I'd estimate. Is there really no market for genuine quality drama in a sophisticated city like Bath?

For what it's worth - I recommend this production highly; we all came out of the with big smiles on our faces and odd thoughts in our heads - exactly as McDonagh intended. It's touring - in Cambridge this week and Malvern from 5th-9th July before a season from the 20th July until 3rd September at the Young Vic in London.

After the show, with a short while to wait for the train back to Westbury, further urgent matters needed attending to. The Hobgoblin in St James Parade provided the venue.
And then it was bed time. Mrs The Millbrooker was, so I discovered, still experimenting with her birthday present camera. Do try to control yourselves, ladies.
Sunday saw a flying visit to see Milly and Trickers for lunch in the Waggon and Horses (yes, I have spelt "waggon" correctly - that's what the pub sign says).

I eschewed the traditional roast in favour of the purportedly lighter alternative of a Caesar Salad and Milly did her charm-the-barman act before generously picking up the bill.
All that remained was a spot of enjoying the sunshine and the ride home across the renowned Dawlish sea wall.
And so another fun filled weekend passes. And it's only a short time before 'ollerdees and, therefore, yet more frolics. Huzzah!

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