Summer Theatre in London…

My blue eyed cowboy and I each walked 200 miles while we were in London; we always clock on the steps as we hurry from one place to the next to pack in as much as we can in our beloved city in a few short weeks.

The weather was awful.  I remember the disappointment when summer holidays from school rolled around and the clouds gathered; After a gruelling start to a Texas summer London’s gloomy weather was a God send.  It was rainy, overcast and a balmy 60º – 70º, great for us, disappointing for Londoners, especially as Texas wasn’t the only place temperatures were hitting record highs; all of Europe, except England, was experiencing unprecedented temperatures and the mercury level continued to rise to astonishing heights back West.  Over 100º for weeks which put paid to all my flowers and a dear little Willow promised to be drought tolerant but wasn’t…

We bought lightweight rain jackets and carried on to see five shows.

The first was a dud!

Spitting Image, The Musical at The Phoenix Theatre,

A really ridiculous romp with larger than life characters…and body parts.  Hubs and I were total party poopers and left at intermission.

Our second show was more up our street, Russell Street, in Covent Garden, to be precise.

We managed to get two single tickets for the matinee of a brilliantly unusual musical at the Fortune Theatre, called Operation Mincemeat.

Two ladies had been stood up (so to speak) and had a ticket each to sell; we bought them with the cash I just happened to have in my bag left over from our previous visit.

Furthermore, the two tickets were behind each other in the balcony, Hubs was in the front row and I was directly behind him.  I could whisper sweet nothings into his hair!

This WW2 film, wittily transformed into a light hearted musical with five actors playing multiple roles was just outstanding.

Still a live performance but definitely not theatre, we managed to snag some good seats at The Royal Albert Hall for the The Proms

This festival of contemporary and classical music runs every night for six weeks during the summer ending with fireworks over the river on the last night.

I’d never attended so we fixed that since it was running until September and here we were!

The performance we chose was Tchaikovsky’s Pathetique a familiar composer for us since we’d performed many a Nutcracker during the years our children took ballet.

The hall is in the round and we sat right next to the organ;

and behind the orchestra.

The best part was we were able to look down on the musicians and had a perfect view of the conductor’s facial expressions instead of being treated to a view of his back.

For a change in pace we went to see The Pillow Man at the Duke of York’s Theatre on St. Martin’s Lane in the City of Westminster.

This was touted as a dark comedy about a fictional writer in a police state who is questioned about the similarities between his short stories and a series of child murders in his town.

It explores the role of the artist in society and when Hubs and I laughed along with other audience members it relieved the tension…I suppose that’s what dark comedy is…a way to expose the truth about taboo subjects through humour.  

Back to Musical Theatre.

We caught Choir of Man at the Arts Theatre in Covent Garden.

An uplifting celebration of community and friendship.

Set in a pub with a working bar on stage the stories of regulars were told through familiar songs by Queen, Luther Vandross, Paul Simon, Adele, Katy Perry and more.

How could we leave the city without seeing the revival of one of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s early shows starring the original leading man, Michael Ball?

I’d just read an article about Mr. Ball in The Lady Magazine and noticed it was being heavily publicised on every tube train, railway station and bus in and around town so I got online and bought tickets.

Aspects of Love at the Lyric Theatre, 29, Shaftesbury Avenue was full of instantly recognisable motifs heard in many a Webber show.

It tells tells the story of passion, love, life and loss across three generations of a family and their artistic companions, against a backdrop of 1940s France and Italy.

The song, ‘Love Changes Everything’ was a huge hit for Michael Ball in 1989.

It didn’t disappoint.

Finally we simply had to cross the river to Bankside and see a show in the Sam Wanamaker theatre down a little street behind Shakespeare’s Globe

Midsummer Night Mechanicals

was an absolute treat.

This band of performers brings Shakespeare to children of all ages with their workshops and shows every year.

We saw the tradesmen muddling their way through Pyramus and Thisbe (the play within the play) complete with an understudy with his script who kept asking the audience for help, organic sound effects that the children loved and were encouraged to join in and slapstick humour.

What a delightful show to round out the performance part of our visit.

Well worth the 200 mile walk!












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