The boys went to two birthday parties this weekend. Very exciting. Birthday party one was in one of these indoor play centre places which they both loved and I dropped them and ran. On my return Michael confided to me sadly, “There was nothing I liked to eat but I drank the orange juice.” They had chicken nuggets, chips, ketchup and cake. When you would really like your child to eat chicken nuggets, you know you have hit rock bottom.
On Sunday we went to a completely different party. The birthday boy was 4 and an only child. As it happened almost all the other invitees were 4 or younger. It was a collection of the north inner city’s middle classes. One pipe bomb could have taken us all out. There were about 20 kids there and a good sprinkling of associated parents. The Princess wandered up to a table where I was chatting to a father who was there with his 4 and 2 year old children. She was deriving mild entertainment from rubbing a balloon on her hair. “My goodness,” said the Daddy of the two small children, “your hair’s standing on end, why is that?” “Static electricity,” she said coldly, leaving him somewhat deflated. That’s the difference between 4 and 8, I suppose.
On Saturday night Mr. Waffle and I went to see The Pride of Parnell Street. This is two monologues with no interval and we were in the fourth row and I was tired so, towards the end I fell asleep until woken by the sound of elderly ladies giving a standing ovation. Oh dear. We did a lot for the average age of the audience. The only person we could see who was younger than us was a little girl of about 9 further down our row. Would you take your young child to a play about domestic violence and the collapse of a marriage? Answers on a postcard, please.
The play itself was good but it dragged. I’m not sure whether it was the direction or the script; I don’t think that it was the format, I’ve been to compelling monologues and at least this had two actors. And it was likely to please. I know the setting intimately and could summon immediately to mind every location that the actors mentioned. It was nicely written. I thought that the wife was really excellent although the husband failed to impress. It was full of [described] incident but I fell asleep [during one of the husband’s bits]. Never a really ringing endorsement. And Mr. Waffle did lighting for the director when they were all students together [Mr. Waffle’s lighting career probably peaked about then] and the director’s wife was in my bookclub years ago. So you can see how we really wanted to love it. But we didn’t. I think I preferred “Thor”. Will we all cry together?