Archive for the ‘Theatre’ Category

Catching up and a show or two

February 19, 2018

Yes, I know, we have been slack since we have been home but there has been lots to do. I am now trying to catch up on a number of blog posts to get us up to date so be prepared to be inundated over the next week or so.

Our final week in London, and where has the time flown? which means we need to get into gear and tick off a few things which includes going to see a couple more shows. Our first choice was to see the Book of Mormon, we managed to get matinee tickets during the week and as Ian & Alex had already seen the show it was just Roy, Antony and I that headed off into Piccadilly Circus for the afternoons performance.

The Book of Mormon is a musical comedy about two young Mormon missionaries who travel to Uganda to preach the Mormon religion. The play satirises various Mormon/religious beliefs and practices, it’s irreverent, rude and at times bordering on crude, funny, thought provoking, and all in all a damn good show.

The show was written by the creators of SouthPark with the music and lyrics by the writer of Avenue Q – which we saw here in London on our last visit. It was a fantastic cast as well with some amazing performances.

Afterwards, we met Alex from work for a cocktail before we found somewhere to go for dinner. Antony impressed with my selfie-taking skills NOT!

After dinner on our way to the train station we passed a theatre with searchlights casting their beams along the front of the high rise buildings, security people were everywhere, and an air of something happening, what was going on we wondered?

It’s the premiere of The Post, a movie starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, apparently they were in there somewhere but I was told by my children to stop staring and move on!

A couple of days later we were off into town again to another show, this time The Mousetrap by Agatha Christie.

The sign outside the theatre

commemorative plaque – note the date….my birthday!!! Although the year is a little out, the play started long before I was a twinkle!

It was a good play, looking a little dated perhaps these days but a typical Agatha Christie whodunnit. Of course, as requested by the cast at the end of the show, we shall not divulge the culprit!

That brought to an end the shows on this visit to London.

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Theatre, rugby, party, football time

January 3, 2018

Friday 29 December:

We headed into London on Friday afternoon aiming to eventually end up in the Westend as we had booked seats to go and see a show. Alex, Antony Roy and I made our way into town via train and tube with Ian joining us later once he had finished work. But first we all need to have something to eat as we hadn’t had lunch at it was by now nearing 5pm and the hunger pangs were starting to gnaw away.

We headed to a restaurant by Covent Garden called Ping Pong, for a dim sum feast.

Alex reminded us that we had actually been here before when we last visited London, except that time the restaurant was Spanish tapas bar and our company at that time was my niece Fran and her now hubby Clive. I’ve looked for the photo of us having dinner together then but I cannot find it amongst the few thousands of pictures we have!

From there we headed across to the Westend Theatre district where we were set to see a show, called Mischief Movie Night, an improvised movie live on stage. We first had to meet up with Ian before the show, we then settled in to watch the show.

the scene is set

What happens with this show is that you suggest a genre, location and title and Mischief Theatre’s improvisers bring the show to life, complete with rewinds, fast forwards, directors cuts and a live score. So when it came time to call out suggestions for genres, a few were called out and picked then we had to vote for which one we wanted….Alex’s choice of Kung Fu movie made the cut as did Roy’s suggestion of Spaghetti Western with Roy’s suggestion winning out to popular vote. Other extra things that were added to the plot was the classic gunfight scene, the setting was an old picture theatre and a dinosaur had to make an appearance!

Much hilarity ensued, with the cast at times unable to contain themselves when things went awry and ended up in fits of laughter. We all thoroughly enjoyed the humour and it was a really great night out, with a train journey home to wrap up the night.

Saturday 30 December:

We were all going to Twickenham to watch a rugby match, including Ian’s parents Christine & Barry, their cousin Julie & Brian, Matt and Alex’s friend Helen completed the group. First we headed to the Campden pub to meet up with everyone for a bite to eat for lunch before making our trek across the city, oh and this was the same pub we came to on Christmas Day. At times it was like herding kittens.

The train journey meant we had multiple changes to make and platforms to find, but we got there in plenty of time to then make the trek from train station to the rugby grounds.

walking along the streets with the crowds.

getting settled into our seats

It was a packed stadium with nearly 78,000 people in attendance, but with clear views of the pitch, a huge screen at each end of the stadium and smaller screen directly in front of us, we were guaranteed not to miss a thing.

The ball delivery was a little different as well with a high wire stretched across the top of the stadium and a guy bouncing along the wire to the middle to deliver the ball dropping it from the great height. I have to admit that I could not watch him as it made me feel rather ill.

in both pictures above, you can see the tightrope walker in the screen and if you look carefully you can also see him in the little piece of sky peeping through the top of the stadium. In the lower picture, the ball has just been dropped which you can see in the tv screen. Please note that I took these pictures by not looking and just pointing and clicking!!!

We enjoyed the game and the crowd was very good. Rugby crowds are very different to football (aka soccer) crowds here. Apparently football supporters are kept very separate from each other with lots of police and crowd control in evidence. In many matches, one group of supporters is locked in the grounds whilst the opposition supporters are let out, and usually in totally different directions so they never meet! A little different to what we experience and what is experienced at the rugby where everyone is mixed and friendly banter ensues. I am told that rugby is for “posh” people in the UK, the ones that go to the right schools, don’t ask me if it’s the public or private school as the two types of school are labeled the opposite of what we know them as in NZ!

A few of the many food stall at the grounds, we had a drink or two and a bite to eat whilst we waited for the crowds to dissipate.

We managed to stay together and retrace our steps home.

the rabble on the train.

Oh and if you were wondering, the Harlequins won 50-21.

Sunday 31 December:

A few of Alex & Ian’s friends had organised a dinner at an Indian Restaurant, aka a curry house in this neck of the woods, for a group of us to go to on New Years Eve but first they all descended upon their house for an afternoon of watching the football and trying out a few gin based cocktails as we somehow seem to have managed to put together a reasonably large selection of gins.

looking up recipes?

From here we then went to the Curry House for an evening that proved to be brilliant on many counts. First the company was great, second the food was amazingly delicious and very very different to the NZ versions of curry, and thirdly there was entertainment. And believe me when I mean entertainment, I mean we were thoroughly entertained.

The entertainment was one guy on a key board who we must admit that initially we had serious reservations regarding his competence, however after a couple of songs, which included local improvised lyrics, wigs hats and glasses were continually being added for dramatic effect, we were all soon into the swing of things. With the refreshments flowing, he was being helped along by our vociferous table (albeit except me as I had woken that day without a voice), but I did try!!!

doing his Elvis impression.

After an hilarious evening out we headed back home to continue the celebrations including watching on TV London putting on an impressive display of fireworks.

Monday 1 January :

It was a slower (and later) start to the day today, by late morning we were all up ready for the days activities. Alex and I went off to do the grocery shopping whilst the blokes went off to the local football match, supporting Welling. Apparently Roy is becoming known as an honorary long distance supporter, as I think this is his third or fourth game he has been to!!!

The ground for the game against Dartford

Meanwhile Alex and I had a quiet day at home before everyone returned for dinner then we all settled down in front of the TV to watch the darts final live. I know, who would have thought that I would want to watch men throwing darts at a dart board? But after having to watch a number of games surrounded by some very avid and vociferous fans, I became a little interested! And yes, it was a good final.

All in all a busy and fun few days.

Back to London and a show

October 15, 2017

We left our lovely apartment in Langermark late in the morning and headed off to Lille, I have to admit that I was ready to hand the car back although the driving had become easier as we went along. Funnily enough I found the roundabouts the easiest of all to handle and I have to admit that my co pilot was excellent at guiding me and making sure I was OK, and as well the roads are easy to drive on and well maintained.

We got to the Lille train station in plenty of time, however, we missed the entrance to get into the car park building so ended up going around in a grand circle to get back to where we should be, it only took an extra 30 minutes of driving through central Lille with blood pressure slowly rising, sweaty palms, and a dry mouth before we got to where we should have been. We got into the parking building only to discover that we needed to be in the next building to return the car….with a lump rising in my throat at the thought of more driving, we made the move to the next building and returned the keys.

Whilst at the station we saw a couple of things which were memorable. The first was the free charging station for devices, to power the charging you sat at the desk and cycled!

Right next to this was the lounge with plenty of plugs and USB charging sockets, guess which one we used?

Once we got through immigration – and we did get the third degree at immigration too…..why were we away so long? When are we going back to NZ? Where were we staying in the UK? Where did our daughter work? What does she do? Why were we in Europe? What was our connection to Passchendaele? Did we intend to work in the UK?…..and so it went on. Once through we met up with a couple of crazy but ever so friendly Scotsmen who were raising money for Cancer research by standing for 24hrs and travelling from Edinburgh to Paris and return. They were really lovely and were having a great time and were raising lots of money too.

The trip back to London was a breeze with Alex picking us up at Ebbsfleet Station which is much closer to her home than St Pancras in the city.

We had a lovely weekend in and around London. Sunday, Alex and Ian told us that they had organised a surprise for us for the day, so at about midday we headed off on the train into town then a walk through to a lovely rooftop bar overlooking St Paul’s cathedral. Ian, Roy and Alex with St Paul’s dome in the distance

panorama from the roof top

From here we went off into Piccadilly Circus where we were to go to a the show ‘A comedy about a bank robbery’. It was fast paced, hilarious and well acted play, I haven’t laughed so much for a long time. It was a fabulous way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

After the show we took a London black cab

Passing Trafalgar Square along the way

To near Victoria Station for dinner where the fellas tried a beer or two

Then it was a train back home to end a fabulous day, well done Alex & Ian.

From Shakespear to Shakespeare

February 26, 2016

 

  “Parting is such sweet sorrow that I shall say goodnight till it be morrow.”  

Those words by William Shakespeare sum up our time at Shakespear Regional Park, however these words are even more fitting as they are from Romeo & Juliet which I went to experience last evening at the Pop Up Globe in Auckland.

Edwina and I were going to see the show, we both have our own experiences with the play which have special meaning to us both. For me,  I was introduced to Romeo & Juliet at school  when studying Shakespear we went to the movies to see Roman Polanski’s version of the Bard’s work!  Then some years later I saw the ballet Romeo & Juliet (probably 20 years ago) in Auckland and was very very good.  Then on our trip through Italy, Alex & I went in search of Guillietta’s statue, tomb & balcony in Verona, which you can read about here.  And of course there was our visit to the Globe theatre in London which you can read about here.   So it went without saying that I was keen to see the play in Auckland and especially at the Pop Up Globe.  

Fist we went off to have a bite to eat and a drink before the show… 

  Well, a girls got to have a drink or two!

Then it was time to head over to the Pop Up Globe which is just off Aotea Square in central Auckland  

  View from the front
  And from the lovely bar at the back!

  This is looking across the stage
  Showing a little of the construction

  Edwina enjoying the atmosphere

The play itself was really well done, a great interpretation with a little bit of modernism in terms of props and costumes mixed with the original words along with being exceptionally well put together and acted, I can highly recommend attending a performance.  Now if only this sort of thing was around when I was studying Shakespeare at school, it would have been so much more fun.

And to end, another quote from Romeo & Juliet…

“Go wisely and slowly. Those who rush stumble and fall”