Sunday, October 11, 2015

Hippos And Squirrels

We went along to Hippopotamus, the French restaurant in the Museum Hotel in Wellington. Hippopotamus is definitely up there in the fine dining category, serving a modern French style of food. We started with cocktails, then had starters of Bavarois of feta and salmon sashimi – both beautifully presented, with a lot going on in the dish and very tasty. Mains were fish of the day – seared tuna – and duck breast with confit duck leg. Nicola went for the mixed desserts to finish whilst I had the crème brûlée.

It was a blustery night outside – typical Wellington spring weather – as we crossed the road to Circa Theatre to see The Travelling Squirrel, a play by Robert Lord written in 1987. For those of you who don't know the plot...spoiler alert!

The play revolves around a writer, Bart, and his wife, Jane; the story of the travelling squirrel, Roger,  unfolds as an allegory of their relationship. At the beginning, Bart is  a struggling writer trying to get his  "serious" book published. His wife, a daytime soap actress with aspirations to serious acting, has a far more successful career in monetary terms. She is always sucking up to a tabloid gossip columnist who can make or break anyone's career. At one of the columnists parties, she meets a publisher, Terry, and she arranges a meeting for Bart. However, Terry doesn't like his novel, and they part on bad terms. Meanwhile, the story of the travelling squirrel is being told in asides by Bart, and eventually, through convoluted mechanisms, Terry gets to hear about it.

Terry flips over the travelling squirrel, and all is made ready for the publication of the book. there's a press launch, a party, and general media hype about it. Suddenly Bart is flavour of the month, whilst Jane's career is in the doldrums: her character is in a coma, and it looks like her contract won't be renewed for the next season. Bart is still narrating the story of the travelling squirrel in asides, and it reflects his new-found fame. But as in life, all is not well for the travelling squirrel either.

The book is a flop. This has wider repercussions for Bart and Jane, and they split. Jane is fired from the soap opera, and takes a role as The Duchess of Malfi. The story of the travelling squirrel continues, as both Roger and Bart reflect on the ephemeral nature of fame, money, and relationships in a very allegorical kind of allegory. What's another word for allegory? Anyway, at the end of it all they are older, wiser, and poorer. Having sold out, what have they gained?

Golly, it sounds terrible described like that. It is, in fact, very funny, with additional comedic moments provided by the ravishing Daryl, and the rapacious Sarah. We thoroughly enjoyed it  

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