Gone dogging

18Jun10

Have you ever tried it? I did the other night. I didn’t mean to, mind. Look, it’s all a terrible misunderstanding, officer. There’s a perfectly reasonable explanation. I was drinking whisky at the time in the park, right, watching people, and I just happened to spot…

We’d better start from the beginning, hadn’t we?

Whisky and I haven’t really been on speaking terms since last summer’s camping/worst hangover in years expedition (read about it here), but I was going to the Open Air Theatre in Regent’s Park, and the advice was that it turns chilly of an evening. Now, I’ve been to open-air thing before, at the Lyric in Hammersmith a couple of years ago. The play took place in an office building while the audience sat across the road on outdoor terrace, wearing headphones and peering through binoculars. It was not a huge success. The play didn’t work, plus it was staged in Feb and March, when the temperatures in Hammersmith are not those of balmy Madeira. It had rained hard the night before so the seats were still damp, and the night was bitter. We wrapped up like toddlers, and I brought a half-bottle of whisky to nip as we went. The remnants of that same half-bottle came with me to Regent’s Park the other night.

Regent’s Park theatre is a fantastic setting; all sylvan gladey with steeply raked seats and good acoustics. We were there to see The Crucible, which is a big, meaty play, lots of shrieking and anguish. The staging was great, with that creepy cohort of teenage girls, heads demurely bowed, dotted about on tree stumps. It gave a really sinister, pervasive, Midwich Cuckoos feel, to match the madness hanging in the air.

And this is where it got a bit unexpected. There are small patches of grass each side of the stage where punters can sit on rugs and watch. One couple, however, hit upon a way to fight the chill evening breeze, getting it on so vigorously that the audience gradually started to watch them instead of the play. What an evening! Culture, whisky and dogging, and all for 20 quid.

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