‘There are a million ways of telling the story of music: this is mine,’ says ‘Blackadder’ composer Goodall, before going off on what feels like 100 different tangents relating to the sounds of 1750-1850. Still, 100 is less than a million, and Goodall should be applauded for making as much sense as he does of the era of classical giants including Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert. He does so partly through a huge amount of simplification, obvious from his comically sweeping statements about those composers: Mozart and portraitists of the time ‘wanted to ennoble humanity – and they succeeded.’ Simple as that, eh?
His commitment to speaking in colloquial terms and conscientious illustration of his points with snippets of performance sometimes prove genuinely illuminating – the comparison he draws between Schubert and Adele, for example. But often those same digressions break up an already confusing train of thought: one in which Goodall dwells laboriously on the obvious, and then skips straight past things that, one suspects, are too arduous to explain.
Rainer Becker and Arjun Waney - the guys behind this impressive Aldwych restaurant and bar - clearly know a thing or two about high-end modern-Japanese dining. This branch is one of four Rokas now in London, and then there's the excellent Zuma, too - the group's flagship restaurant now daddy to a host of similarly swanky outposts all over the globe. This branch continues the Roka focus on contemporary Japanese cooking, with the authentic robata grill once again playing a central role. Signature dishes here include pure Japanese wagyu beef tartare with smoked soya sauce, wasabi and nori crackers, and skewers of langoustine and cod cheek with shiso and ume boshi. Sushi and sashimi proves popular, too. The drinks list majors on wines from the old world and new, as well as a pretty serious sake selection - there are ten available by the glass or carafe, as well as a fair few rare finds by the bottle. Signature cocktails (think the Roka negroni, made with rose petal gin, Aperol, plum sake and peach bitters) do brisk business, alongside an extensive list of shochu - all housed in custom-made display walls. Very pretty. Hungry yet? Check out this video of Roka's menu:
Venue says: “Pre-theatre available Monday to Saturday from 5pm to 6.30pmPost theatre available Monday to Thursday from 9.30pm to 10.30pm”