Saturday, 11 July 2009

An afternoon in Carlton: Phedra, Readings and Brown's

I had a lovely refresher this afternoon: one of my regular visits to Lygon Street, Carlton - Melbourne's cultural heart.

The cause of this visit was to attend the very first screening of the NT Live films at the Nova. This was Phedre starring Dame Helen Mirren. As someone not given to international tourism, I find this quite a blessing to be able tap into such a wonderful resource as the National Theatre on film - audience and all.

Mirren was her usual wonderful self, Tyzack - who is nothing short of a British institution - was magnificent. In fact, the female cast was strong and excellent. The same could not be said for the male casting. That well known cast of critics, "The Q in the Ladies Loo", all agreed that we didn't like Stanley Townsend much. In fact, my view was that he should have swapped places with the excellent, ubiquitous John Shrapnel - he of the mellifluous voice. All in all, worth the money: a tad expensive for a movie but cheap for a theatre ticket. Would have been great to have had someone selling nice theatrical programs, though.

Then it was across to Readings. Can't afford to buy books these days. I just stand in the doorway and inhale. I'm not joking. This is what I usually do. My self-restraint is admirable in a recovering book addict. However, I succumbed and made a couple of small purchases to-day as well as investing $5 with the Big Issue vendor outside the door. He knows a good position when he sees one, don't you think?

Before I redeemed the car from the car park around the corner in Elgin Street, there was one more "must visit". This was to Brown's Bakery for some exquisite naughtiness and a San Francisco sourdough loaf for the folks at home.

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