London, United Kingdom
thursday Hard to believe its already our second-last day in London. After a it of a late start we headed up to Selfridges on Oxford St to check out it’s much-hyped Christmas Store. I don’t know that it lives up to the hyped, but it did have some lovely things. We did buy one red bauble that will hopefully survive the trip home. The shop itself is beautiful – flanked by columns outside, and even some inside, it’s like someone took David Jones and turned up the poshness by a few more levels. Very nice, if you’re into that kind of thing. Today we had a matinee – all due to a minor booking mishap months ago thanks to your-truly. The show we saw was Billy Elliot. I’d been it in Sydney many years ago, but can’t see I remembered too much about it. One thing that surprised me about the show was how overtly political it was – being set in the time of the miners’ strike I guess its not too much of a surprise. I think the Australian version of the show must have toned this element down quite lot. Also toned down for Australia I think was the amount of swearing, particularly from the kids. It was hilarious, but not gratuitous. Less welcome were a couple of (anti) gay jokes – but being set in the 80s I guess it’s all part of the territory. The show was a very long 3 hours … there was a whole somewhat bizarre set piece of giant dancing clothes, all to support one of the minor characters who enjoys cross-dressing. It seemed out of place amongst the gritty reality of the the rest of the show, I’m just not sure why it was there. But overall it was still a good show. Being a matinee I don’t think they had their best Billy on board, but he did a much better job than I ever could, so can’t complain. I learnt a bit more theatre trivia today, too. For almost every performance we’ve seen, at some point the Safety Curtain would come down (usually at interval) – and always very clearly and ostetntaiously marked as the Safety Curtain. The purpose of the safety curtain is to prevent a fire on stage from carrying into the rest of the theatre. I guess this made more sense in the days when theatre stages were lit by candles or gas. The very first one was installed in 1794 – which I think is pretty forward-thinking to have such a focus on safety well over 200 years ago. Most theatres have a requirement (or maybe more just a tradition these days) to show the safety curtain to assure the audience it is functional – which is why it’s usually shown at intermission. Happily after the show we had a chance for a quick catch-up with one of Perry’s former workmates who has moved back to the UK. Unfortunately we didn’t have too long to chat because it was time for another show. Two in one day, why not. Yesterday on a whim Perry bought tickets for another performance of The Book of Mormon – yep its definitely worth seeing again, so why not 🙂 This time around there were a few cast changes – one of the main characters (Elder Cunningham) was being played by the expected actor, not the understudy. But to be honest, I think the understudy we saw the other day was much better suited to the role. There was also an understudy tonight, for Elder McKinley – and one of his best friends was sitting next to us, which was cool. He did an excellent job – and as for his friend, she did an excellent job of applauding him. It was great to see the show again – we were right on the edge but three rows from the front, which actually gave a very different feel to the performance from closer to the middle like we were last week. The sound was actually better, and it was great to be able to also clearly hear the audience reaction this time as well. Loved seeing the show again, even if it had only been a week since we’d seen it. A Ben & Jerry Fudge Sundae was a suitable follow up to a delicious dinner of chinese dumplings … so then it was time to waddle back to the hotel, get out the laptop and start typing. Finally, it’s time to stop typing – but I will, of course, carry on tomorrow.