I am not usually such an avid theatre goer, but after King Charles III, last night we went to see Mr Foote's Other Leg on an overnight in London. It was one of those lucky chances. It had had excellent reviews on its first run in Hampstead, directed by Richard Eyre and starring the excellent Simon Russell Beale, and resurrected a famous Georgian theatre man, contemporary of Garrick, the one legged Sam Foote.
It was a great evening, but I hadn't realised that (to return to one of my old big interests) it was in many ways about LAUGHTER -- how you prompt it, at what cost, and the relationship between comedy and tragedy, laughter and tears. So great food for thought for me, but not just on the stage.
What was really striking was the audience reaction. They were laughing away from the very first, engaging but not hugely hilarious line. This irritated the husband more than it irritated me, but it did rub in how often (genuine) laughter is produced by the knowledge that that is what one is expected to do... you have come out for an evening of communal laughter, so that's what you do.
Comedians must know all about this, and how to exploit it. But last night was for me an extremely instructive example of it.
And at an opportune moment.