If you haven't read my previous post...click on January 9...JOHN with my Gnome! :-DDDDD
With Gnome's new found celebrity status, I will no longer feel compelled to justify my decision to carry him around London snapping his picture. So DON'T give me any grief about it! Thank you. ;-)
On to London...with a twinge of sorrow at having to leave Birmingham without getting to see the panto for a second time...cest la vie...(Did I mention I have tickets for TorchSong in June...I get to see John sing...LIVE...again. Hehehe... *Quick...somebody pinch me*)...But I digress...
Since we exchanged our way-too-early-in-the-morning Virgin train ticket yesterday, we got a much needed sleep in this morning. A leisurely breakfast in the hotel and then off to the New Street Station for the hour and a half transport to London Euston. The first class section was lovely and not the least full, so we got to spread out and relax a bit before our first busy day in London.
After the taxi to the Hyatt Regency Churchill, we checked with the concierge for the fastest way to Camdentown...turned out to be the 274 bus which we caught just a block away...after running for it...twice. (But that's a long, boring story about buying a bus pass and too many theatre tickets, yadda, yadda, yadda... and trust me, you don't want to hear it.) Anywhoo...
It was a lovely ride to Camden and Rachel could not have been more in her element! Hot Topic on steroids! She could have filled a whole other suitcase (or five, even) just in the first three shops we entered. Unfortunately, exchange rate being so crappy, we had to be quite judicious in her selections. First purchase: a beautiful burgundy top hat. Second: a pair of three inch soled, knee high boots with a six inch metal stripped heel. Niiiiice. DARKSIDE...Camden High Street...If goth is your thing, DON'T MISS IT!
Since we had theatre this evening, we had limited time, so we continued down the street just to the bridge and then crossed over to the other side. Walking back down past the Camden Market, we were surprised by the lack of anything with Doctor Who on it. Entertainment t-shirts, naughty t-shirts, London t-shirts, one with Daleks on it, but nothing with Tennant. Go figure. Of course, Rach had her heart set on getting her best pal something something wearable with Tennant, so it was a bit of a disappointment. Our search will continue.
Nearing dinnertime and wanting to get over to the Drury Lane theatre while still light, we tubed over to Leichester Square, found the theatre and then walked the couple of blocks to Covent Garden to find a place to eat. Ended up at Cote on Tavistock, a little French Bistro, where we had a delicious meal on a tiny table in a cramped, yet somehow comfortable, corner of the restaurant. Plus, we were just happy to be out of the cold for a bit. It was lovely.
Afterwards we walked around covent Garden for a while before following Catherine Street back up to the OLIVER marquis. Tonight we see Burn!...and Rowan...and Julian...and Jodie Prenger, who I'd only seen through all the interviews with John, and the songs they did together at the Faenol Festival. Once inside I snagged a few programs to bring back for friends and we went to our fabulous seats (fifth row center) for which I owe a debt of gratitude to Karen and Virginia of the Hyatt Regency theatre desk. I'd emailed them early in the summer about tickets and they'd gotten these, as well as fantastic Ave Q and Tennant Hamlet tickets for us. It was a leap of faith that we'd make it over, but we did. :-)
I won't give you a blow by blow, but suffice to say, the ten year old kid playing the Artful Dodger, Eric Dibb-Fuller, was extremely talented. Rowan Atkinson was both touching and hilarious...the meaness and sarcasm of Blackadder, and sweet naivete of Tevia from Fiddler, as Fagan. He was Fabulous! Julian Bleach was creepier than the Ghostmaker in Torchwood or for that matter, his Davros on Doctor Who. Perfectly cast. Then there's Jodie Prenger...well, since John championed her, I had very high expectations...don't throw things at me,...she has a good voice, I just thought it wasn't as powerful as it should have been, AND I felt like she overacted a bit. She was good, but if the others hadn't been in it, I doubt if I'd have enjoyed it as much.
Now to Burn...WHO KNEW he could really sing? For some reason, it never occurred to me Owen could sing. But, come to think of it, I guess I did see a youtube clip of him on some show playing a rock singer...still, I was quite surprised at his stage presence. He commanded the stage and was extremely menacing. Unfortunately for him, the role is so menacing, and his first song so brutally mean, that there was dead silence when he finished. Although it seemed it was one of those moments where they hadn't left a pause for applause anyway. Still...he deserved a rousing ovation!
At the curtain call...once again, Burn got the short end from people who grew up booing the panto villain. When he should have gotten a standing ovation, he got the typical villain boo, albeit mixed with a decent but not terrific amount of applause. Well, I was giving it all I had anyway.
Rach and I waited with a horde outside the theatre. I was on a mission for my friend, Deb, and for...my Gnome. Jodie came out first and luckily for us, the crowd gravitated to her. Several minutes later Burn emerged and nearly snuck completely through, toting his Christmas packages, until I jumped in front of him and asked if he could please sign a program for Deb from Alabama. He graciously agreed and I relayed her message to him as he signed. He noticed I was holding Gnome, and laughed when I told him I'd gotten a picture of it with John the previous night, so he picked it up and told Gnome, "You're a crap audience, but I'm glad you came." Sweet. Then I got a couple of pictures before he was mobbed by several other fans.