A quick hello

Sorry for not having added any updates for a while.  I have been beavering away on The Four Matthews, which is progressing reasonably well.

In the meantime, I have been in a bit of a ranty mood today so updated my Likes and Dislikes page – and have to admit the Dislikes outnumber the Likes, which does not necessarily indicate that I am a miserable cow.  Oh come on, it’s fun and cathartic to rant!


The links effect

I have updated my Leigh’s Links page to include my favourite retro TV clip websites, to reflect the fact I am a saddo who likes watching old adverts.

My current favourite site is http://www.tellyads.com/vintage_index.php – it’s hopelessly addictive and takes you on a nostalgia trip back to the days when ads truly were better than the programmes. Commercials used to be mini stories. Nowadays they are pretty poor.

Ah, nostalgia ain’t what it used to be.

Oom pah pah!!

We had an absolutely wonderful day in London on Wednesday (8 July) when we went to see the fabulous show Oliver at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.  We also spent a bit of leisurely time in the city, which included an unexpected stroll up to Buckingham Palace.

My husband and I (I’m even starting to sound like the Queen) are big fans of Rowan Atkinson, who played Fagin and is only in this production for another week before being replaced by Omid Djalili.  We booked our tickets back in January, and Wednesday was the earliest date we could bag.  No wonder the show is so popular – it’s amazing.

We got there really early, parked up at Hounslow West tube station (BIG relief when we found a parking space – we could then relax for the rest of the day) and caught the Piccadilly Line directly to Leicester Square.

We strolled down to Trafalgar Square and marvelled at the sight of Nelson’s Column (don’t say ‘Ooh-err’), which I had to cross several streets in order to photograph.  It really is a pretty magnificent structure.

Through Admiralty Arch, with our London geography not being too hot we were quite surprised to discover ourselves in the Mall heading for Buckingham Palace.  I never fail to get a buzz from seeing these historic and universally recognised buildings ‘in the flesh’ as it were.

We arrived – along with scores of American tourists – just in time to witness what we subsequently found out was the daily Changing of the Guard ceremony but we assumed at the time was a march for a special occasion.

From there we headed up the Strand (‘have a banana!’) to Covent Garden.  The place has a special atmosphere, so buzzy and arty.  We watched an escapologist for about half an hour.  He freed himself from chains in under two minutes whilst standing at the top of a ladder – a very clever feat but a tad gross when it involved dislocating his thumbs and lodging them back into place.

After a brief Starbucks stop-off, we made our way to the theatre.  It’s always exciting seeing an idol in the flesh.  Nathan and I are big fans of Mr Bean and Blackadder.  I also avidly followed the I’d Do Anything series, in which Jodie Prenger won the coveted role of Nancy.  Whilst I admit I favoured Jessie Buckley, the runner-up, I knew Jodie would do a good job.

Rowan made a hilarious Fagin.  He made the part his own, adding a few uniquely ‘Rowan’ touches and inflections.  He was heard just before he was seen, spitting out the ‘T’ in a ‘WhaT?’ in response to his young gang’s calls, and earning a rapturous applause in the process.

Jodie was definitely the perfect choice to play Nancy.  She belted her numbers out like Liza Minnelli.  As Long as He Needs Me was absolutely heartbreaking.  Brilliant as Jessie is (and she is now starring in Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music at the Garrick Theatre), Jodie brings just the right warm, motherly quality the role.

The kids were superb too, and Burn Gorman made a suitably menacing Bill Sikes.

It was simply an absolutely belting show with a hell of a cast.  We walked out of the theatre on a total high.

Afterwards we had a quick drink in the Opera Tavern opposite the theatre, which resembles a dark Victorian inn typified by ‘The Three Cripples’ of Oliver fame.

We then walked back down the Strand (‘have a banana!!’) to Pizza Express where we had booked a table for 6:00.  It was a good job we had booked as it was heaving in there and people who hadn’t booked were having to wait half an hour for a table.  I’d had to try three Pizza Expresses in the locale before managing to get in at one.

It really was the most perfect day, and a wonderful belated wedding anniversary.  Everything just went like a dream.

The buzz of a live performance is unbeatable.  My next theatre jaunt is We Will Rock You in Birmingham at the end of August.  We really ought to make the effort to venture down to the West End more often.  I have only seen five shows in London, the others being Joseph, Grease, Buddy and We Will Rock You.