Romeo and Cleopatra - in which an Egyptian queen falls in love with an Italian far too young for her and, to be honest, with a tendency to whine. Her family is cool with her move to Italy, though, because she's such a pain in the arse, asking for milk baths all the time and wanting her hair straightened every morning even though it's naturally a mass of curls, that they are glad to get rid of her. In the end, after a brief affair, Romeo gets fed up with her for the same reasons, as well as for the fact that until now he has only fancied girls with names of three syllables, and Cleopatra is a bit of a gobful, especially if you stumble over it, and look stupid in front of all your mates, and God forbid, the Capulets, who will pull out a sword faster than you can say, 'Capulets, Capulets, wherefore art thou so lairy?' There is a passionate scene at the end of the play in which Romeo dumps Cleopatra, accompanied by some rather stirring music by Prokofiev with a Middle Eastern twist.
The Strange Case of Moby Dick and Mr Hyde - a ripping sea-based yarn in which a man who finds himself with well-hairy hands and nothing he can do about it all of a sudden decides to go looking for whales as an alternative to pretending to be a respectable Victorian gentleman (this wasn't working out too well). He boards a ship. He finds himself in the middle of a tale in which there are so many genres hanging about that he doesn't know whether he's coming or going, only being used to the prescription and the medical dictionary so far. They are at sea for a long, long time, and the reader gets bored and starts yawning, but then suddenly the boat is rammed by Moby Dick, the whale, which wakes the reader up. Everyone drowns except Mr Hyde, who then goes back to London and writes obscenities in a religious book, to the annoyance of his alter ego, who had settled happily back into charitable activities, thinking the worst over.
|'Hm,' mused Hyde. 'There was something to be said for a quiet life trampling young girls and terrifying cab drivers.'|