I have never actually been to the Almeida Theatre before, and it’s an absolutely lovely little place! nestled just off of Upper Street, it’s one of those landmarks that as a Londoner, you always know is there and until you actually go, you don’t realise that you’ve never been!
So, I was having HUGE second thoughts about going to see My City as a couple of days before we were due to go, I rather stupidly read some reviews, and the word ‘tedious’ was used in one, and ‘flat’ used in another. So I moaned at my mate for having conned me into seeing something awful.
However, there is usually an interval, and a chance to escape these things – and it was a night out anyway (and we’d already bought the tickets) so along we went.
I actually rather enjoyed it!
One evening, Richard finds his old headmistress laying on a bench in London. She had a huge influence on him when he was younger, and he is intrigued to find out what has happened to her since then, why she is lying on a bench and why she seems to have taken to wandering the streets all niht. So he arranges to meet her and a couple of other former teachers, along with his friend Julie from his class who they had also had a huge impact on. however, their evening takes a rather surreal turn.
Tracy Ullman played the former headmistress, and she did an absolutely splendid job. There were many ‘memories’ played out – and she really conveyed the ‘essence of headmistress’ admirably, ably assisted by her quirky support staff. Many of these segments (and other parts of the play) were stories – and it was the stories that were told that were the most touching parts really, rather than the interaction between the characters.
The first half was actually really good. However, the second half let it down a bit. There seemed to be a lot of unnecessary shouting, a rather awkward and surreal scene that went on a little too long, not quite as many stories and rather too many pregnant pauses.
All in all, I thought it was enjoyable enough – I wouldn’t shout it from the rooftops that everyone should see it, but it was a nice night out in a lovely venue, with some really entertaining scenes and stories and all the actors were actually REALLY good (Sian Brooke, Tom Riley, Sorcha Cusack, David Troughton). I can’t wait to go to see Reasons To Be Pretty with Billie Piper there next month.