Tuesday night’s party was a jolly good time as 95 Broad Street put on its finest British airs to celebrate the opening night of the Nottingham Playhouse’s production of Oedipus. It was also our favorite party yet, an accolade we’re comfortable handing out as we sail through the final week of the festival.
The evening’s persistent rains forced the bar inside to the second floor of the historic building. Opposite the parlor stood a drawing room with a table overflowing with cheeses, scones, and sweets and accompanied by a display of English tea roses. The Union Jack was displayed behind the bar and also in small displays on the downstairs mantle, as Seth G. played renditions of Usher and Chris Brown songs on his electric violin.
The scene was scattered with what by now has become a roster of usual suspects, including Luxury Simplified partner Chris Leigh-Jones, a native Brit who was more than happy to swing open the doors of 95 Broad Street to his English brethren. And what a fun bunch they were. Life imitated art as actor Anthony Barclay, the play’s chorus leader, led us around the party making introductions, providing important plot lines and feeding us bits of gossip about the British royal family. Producer Giles Croft chatted with patrons as Sue Ellicott and Jo Delaney exchanged production notes. A conversation between patrons Tim and Katie Culp and friend Denise Holtz was comedically interrupted by the delayed arrival of the Culps’ son, soaked to the bone by rain.
The real highlight of the night was bumping into the show’s adapter, director, and performer, Steven Berkoff, a film and stage actor best known for appearances in Octopussy and Beverly Hills Cop. The shows’ performers were profuse in their praise of him, but we were more preoccupied with the whittled degrees of separation between ourselves and various celebrities that Berkoff has worked with over his illustrious career. You never quite know who you’ll meet at a Spoleto party.