Olympics on the Kingston Big Screen
Posted by jonathanfryer on Saturday, 28th July, 2012
It was perhaps perverse for someone like myself who lives so near to the London Olympics stadium to go right across town to the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames to watch last night’s opening ceremony, but I’m glad I did. Kingston Liberal Democrats had decided to combine a celebration of their recent win in a local council by-election in Grove ward with the launch of the Rose Theatre’s Big Screen coverage of the Games — and it was a triumph. Local activists gathered in the Circle Bar for drinks and snacks while the theatre filled to capacity with Kingstonians there to enjoy the first of what will be daily screenings of the Olympics events, free of charge. The screen itself was huge and the BBC’s coverage of the opening ceremony was several notches above its relaying of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee earlier this summer. Moreover, a theatre was the ideal setting in which to watch Danny Boyle’s remarkable show, which was (as I said in a tweet at the end) referential rather than reverential, with lots of splendid jokes. The James Bond sequence with the monarch and two corgis was a classic spoof and Rowan Atkinson as Mr Bean in the symphony orchestra under the guidance of Simon Rattle was an act of comic genius. Moreover, the atmosphere in the theatre mirrored that in the Olympic Stadium itself. People roared approval of the highlights, stood up for the National Anthem, and few were left dry-eyed. As an overture to the London 2012 Olympics the show was brilliant. And as a way of bringing people into the Rose Theatre, which was conceived and brought to fruition by Kingston’s Liberal Democrat Council, last night’s event was a master-stroke.