A key benefit of having a friend who works in the theatre business is that it is very handy for getting word of and to see great shows. Mucho ta!
Four of us went to see the current RSC touring production of The Tempest at Nottingham's Theatre Royal (rest of this week and then at Sheffield - go see it if you can get a ticket!)
This version of The Tempest produced in association with South Africa's Baxter Theatre Centre is a visual spectacle and is also aurally incredible. Puppets, music, masks, singing: it was a sensual treat.
I confess that it is not a play that I know well - Bloody Peter Greenaway's Prospero's Books didn't help warm me to the text, although the elegant ending to Neil Gaiman's Sandman books* thankfully did. But this production certainly made me want to read the play proper.
Sher as Prospero is brilliant - as you would expect an actor of his calibre to be - but his equivalent John Kani as Caliban (and perhaps even more so Kani's son Atandwa as Ariel) were astonishing. A sumptuous feast full of verve and delight, real magic and spectacle. A complete privilege to experience.
* I've done my annual re-read of The Sandman this weekend -- and it felt rather apt to end on 'The Tempest', issue 75 at the end of the finale volume 'The Wake' just as we went to see this RSC production. Neil Gaiman and all your compadres: I salute your brilliance.