Good, Grief!!


Well, my short visit to Edinburgh was a lovely change of scene!

The four hours drive from Liverpool was smooth and trouble free! We got to Edinburgh at 2pm and then we’re taken aback by all the roadworks around New Town! The satnav took a wobble but we managed to find parking for Calton Hill. We got to Calton Hill via steps alongside the Omni Centre. I was surprised, even going a different way, I was still pulled by an invisible force to Arthur’s Seat! 😀 The weather for the two days was bright and warm! So unlike the weather we have had previously. I loved the light and shadow on Arthur’s Seat and the Salisbury Crags which changed as the clouds scudded past. I felt I had come home!

We got to the hotel, Best Western Bruntsfield after 3.30pm, we even got a parking space! 🙂 I was surprised at the customer service, I am not usually a fan of hotels, but I was impressed with this one. The room was clean and we had a nice view of the castle from the window.

For the evening meal before we headed to the King’s Theatre, we went to the hotel’s restaurant called Bisque. We thoroughly enjoyed the fare we ordered, the pudding was incredible! David had the Eton Mess and I had an Italian Coupe, which was vanilla ice cream with lots of frozen cherries and amaretti! Simply divine! The customer service again was outstanding and the waitress/waiters made us feel very welcome. 😀

At 7pm it was time for us to go to the theatre and a date with Mr. Jonathan Firth! The hotel was only about 10 minutes walk to the theatre and we arrived in good time. The theatre looked grand from the outside but needed a bit more love and care on the inside! For the interval they attempted to put the safety curtain down, which was tattered and torn but I think it was probably more safe up, so it returned to its place high above the stage!

From a ‘fan’ perspective the night had all the hallmarks of a dream. There was one part of the play when Jonathan was sitting at a table opposite Penelope Keith and just for a fraction, I swear his gaze turned towards me at the end of the front row stalls, almost as if he had done it on purpose! Why I don’t know? All I can say was that I couldn’t breathe for about five minutes after he turned away. What is that feeling when someone you like makes eye contact and you feel a vice tightening around your heart? He looked surprised to see me, as his eyes widened in what looked like shock or was it recognition? Did he recognise me from the Facebook group? I hope not, that feeling makes me very uncomfortable! He didn’t look over at me again so I don’t think I made much of an impression on him. 😦 Maybe it was David that made him raise his eyes! 😦 I also chickened out of using my camera to film some of the play, I didn’t want to get chucked out of the theatre, not after paying all the money I had!

My Review of Keith Waterhouse’s Good Grief!

Before the show on Thursday in Edinburgh, I had read a few reviews written about this new production of ‘Good Grief‘. Some were good, others not so. My opinion is veering towards the former. I was quite impressed with the production, I loved the stage design, especially the house! The sound management was good; when the scene was set in the pub you could hear the distant chattering of other ‘customer’s’ and when the scene was in the home, the lovely sound of birdsong was used which added to the ambiance of the play. My only argument would be that some of the soundtrack veered closer to the 1980’s than 90’s! Another point to make was that I was a bit apprehensive before watching the play as it had been described as a bittersweet comedy and I was worried that maybe the subject of ‘grief’ would set me crying as my Father’s passing is still so new. I had nothing to worry about, there was more humour than sadness.

I had not seen any of the actors in the cast on stage before so I had nothing to compare their performances too. Penelope Keith however took command of the stage from beginning to end and I was very impressed with her take on bereaved widow June. She had a formidable presence on stage that you couldn’t take your eyes off her! The rest of the characters in the play paled in comparison. Christopher Ravenscroft as ‘the Suit’, didn’t have the most dynamic part as he was sat down for most of it. I also found the content of changing fridge doors and buying vans a bit mundane, though maybe this was what Keith Waterhouse had intended? Flora Montgomery was decent in the role of ‘Pauline’, although she did fluff her lines twice which she expertly glossed over without hesitation.

Then I come to Jonathan Firth’s character, Eric. I have left him till last but that is only because I want to focus on him more! After reading some reviews on his performance, most notably by Jackie Chappell stating Jonathan played his character to ‘odious perfection’. I was gearing myself to be sitting in my front stall seat (a little too close to the stage I found), cringing as Jonathan played ‘yet another’ skin creeping character, however it wasn’t to be! I suppose I am a bit biased towards him but I enjoyed watching him on stage. I await the day when Jonathan headlines a show, now that would be great and I don’t think it’s beyond him! He has a confident command of himself and of the material on stage and I found it hard to stop myself from staring at him as he paraded across the stage. Even his comic timing was spot on, and personally I found it amusing that he seemed to blush quite a lot on stage. I am still a little unsure as to the role ‘Eric’ had in the play, save to be the delivery-boy of some letters to June. Though these letters ultimately had little bearing on the play, the revelation, wasn’t really much of a revelation! I am not complaining, I got to see Jonathan Firth on stage in my favourite city! I just wish I had had the nerve to have stood outside the stage door afterwards and accosted him for an autograph, but that is not my style. 😦

On the Friday, David and I left for Edinburgh Zoo and a date, this time with the Giant Pandas! Our time with them was 10am and we used the 20 minutes to the max as we took many pictures and video of both of them. The female Tian Tian was asleep but the male, Yang Guang was more active and we even saw him venture out into his enclosure.

I thoroughly enjoyed my night over at Edinburgh, it was a much needed break. I just wish I had stayed a little longer in my most favourite of all cities. 😀

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