We had an invitation from Ravi and Maggie to see a Shakespeare play being performed in Ely Cathedral. Rosemary was very interested, I was a little dubious having fallen asleep in the last play I saw by the Bard. Well in any case it was a night away, Rosemary wanted to go and who am I to argue, and Ely cathedral is a beautiful grand building. Oh and the sun was shining.
We drove on up and got immediately were caught is some traffic delays around Cambridge, major works building a new interchange for the A14. Be warned this will take several years to complete. Checked in, at the Poets House Hotel and Restaurant, into a huge room, with huge copper bath and separate shower, overlooking St Mary’s Street and The Green. Car parked, and we walked down to the River Great Ouse and sat beside the river in front of The Cutter Inn with a pint in one hand and a very large BLT sandwich in the other. Just as we were settled, out host walked by, Ravi was on his way to Cambridge to give an Economics lecture but would be back for the evening.
We were not the only guests, Andrea and Richard were also on their way and met us at the Inn for lunch. Maggie the other host also materialised, and we sat and nattered.
We did a little shopping in Ely city centre, viewed some frying pans that might have been suitable for Morrison, but ended up not buying. R also rummaged through a few charity shops. I was barred from entering Fat Face. Next, we ended up back at the hotel, changed and made our way to the Cathedral for the play, Much Ado about Nothing. I didn’t realise how small and intimate this performance was going to be. I had incorrectly assumed we would be in the main body fo the cathedra. But no, there were about 40 of us watching, seated on either side of the chancel, with the actors in between us. Oh, we were so close to the actors we could reach out and touch them. Indeed, some lucky/unlucky audience members were picked on and used as props.
The play is quite complex, but luckily, we had read a Wikipedia entry as we were driving up to Ely, so we had some idea of what was happening. The actual play is set in Messina, but this performance was set in France after the WWII with a mix of French locals and English squaddies and commanders. It started off with a short farce all spoken in French, I became extremely worried, thinking I was going to have to concentrate hard to understand a complex play in a foreign language which I had failed four times at O-level. Luckily, it all became clear, the farce ended, and the play started with a mixture of English and French and a bit of Allo Allo! The company abbreviated the play a little removing a few characters, but the essence was there. It was fun and funny with no chance of me falling asleep.
The company performing the play [Antic Disposition specialise in showing plays in Cathedrals in intimate settings. They also perform the plays in the UK and France and have both French and English actors.
After an interesting evening we headed down to Ravi and Maggie’s home for a late-night repast before heading back to the hotel for the night. The next day we had breakfast with Ravi, bade Maggie goodbye and headed home for an even longer delay on the road around Cambridge.