Monday, April 09, 2012

Quite a Find: Bankside Rose Production of Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors

As I've  got older I've developed a preference  for theatres  within ten minutes' walk  of a  train station. The Rose Bankside is  near  London Bridge,  quite  near the more famous Globe, so quite fits the bill in that respect. I couldn't see the theatre on my mini-A-Z, but I knew how to get to Bankside.

I was lucky, too, because earlier the same week I visited the Tate Modern, where the Damien Hirst exhibition had just started. There's a lot of construction work going on around there, so I got lost among the back alleys, but by chance I spotted a poster on a stand outside a doorway festooned with leaflets. This was the entrance to the  Rose.

Right beside it was a flight of steps leading up to the south side of Southwark bridge, beside the huge Financial Times office block. I walked to the corner and saw that Southwark Bridge Road led onto Southwark Street, so I more or less knew that if I walked on I'd get to London Bridge station. On the right I recognised the Menier Chocolate Factory where I'd recently seen a play about Chekhov.

That time I'd got lost in these atmospheric backstreets, too, trying to find a pub to meet my companion and obstructed by a school playground. I keep meaning to get a newer version of the small A-Z that I carry in my bag.

It's a real handicap to have no sense of direction  - I even get completely lost inside buildings, turning left instead of right when I leave rooms.

When we left the Rose at the end of  The Comedy of Errors we didn't go up the steps. Roy went to school in the area, and was so familiar with it that he  led confidently  through Borough  Market to Southwark Street and we emerged almost opposite London Bridge station.
I was surprised  to learn that foundations of this late sixteenth century theatre were uncovered in 1989, during excavations for a new office block. Without the funding and the celebrity backing enjoyed by the Globe project, supporters struggled to develop the site.

By chance, the day after I wrote the review for the Remotegoat website I visited the Tate Modern again, and as I  passed the Rose I was thrilled to see extracts from my review had been pasted on both sides of the board outside the theatre.  It deserves to be much better known. (The theatre, I mean, although it wouldn't do my blog any harm, either)

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