Theatreland Tour with Ian McKellen
When you reach the monument of Seven Dials stop. Have a look.
Lets do a bit of acting, a little bit of imagining.
[crowd atmos] I want you to imagine, if you can, the carriages of the last century rumbling past, [carriage jolts past] a lady of the night is beckoning you from her window [“fancy a tumble guvnor”]. And look around, at the end of each street, all facing the monument, theres a tavern. Seven of them in total, and their cellars and vaults underneath[atmos] all are connected by a network of tunnels running right under your feet. So a pickpocket [“Get him!”] can flee one pub and pop up in the next, where he or she might enjoy a quick drink before vanishing into the slums of 7 Dials.
Now, that wasn’t bad at all.
Just before we move on, I wonder if you’ve noticed anything odd about the monument? Hmm? Acting is about observing, you know. We’re in Seven Dials, but at the top of the Seven Dials monument, look - only six sundials. Seven streets and only six sundials? Why is that? Hmm? I’ll tell you why later on.
For now, look to your right. You’ll see the Cambridge Theatre. That’s where I played Hamlet when I was a young man.
Take the road that runs to the left of the Cambridge Theatre. You’re still in Earlham Street. Off you go.
I’ve always had a soft spot for young prince Hamlet. As an actor, it’s touching that a man as young as Hamlet was should value theatre so highly. After all, he used it to solve a serious problem -- did his uncle murder his father? And to find the truth, Hamlet put on a play. It was called, guess what? The Mousetrap. And he reenacted his father’s murder and trapped his uncle’s reaction to it. Which was? Well, the uncle fled the room and confirmed his guilt.