September 1998

Well here we go again, another trip to London, more shows, more fun, more drink :o) and more sore feet.
I arrived in London on Wednesday the 16th of September, I’d arrived in England a day and a half earlier but decided to break myself in easy this time. When we [ I dragged my brother along again ] arrived I was insistent on two things

1: A Kentucky Fried Chicken meal – we haven’t got one in my area of Wales and I’m addicted to the stuff.

2: A rematch on the air hockey tables in the Trocadero [ see my last account for the reason for my insistence ].


I was undecided about what show to see this day, as I’d already booked to see “Bernadette Peters in Concert” on the Thursday at the Royal Festival Hall. I considered: “CHICAGO” “WHISTLE DOWN THE WIND” or “RENT”.

Now time for truth here, even being the seasoned traveller to London that I am I “dropped a clanger” [Welsh for made a mistake] I packed everything, clothes, money, more money – well this is London! camp bed ’cause this is where I’m lucky, my brother lives in London so I camp on his floor, and completely forgot all my shoes except the trainers i wore to drive up!

Upon realising this I said “oh deary me” or words to that effect! Here I really should say thanks to Paul & Becky the couple who’s flat he rents a room in. they put up with this Theatre addicted Welshman a few times a year descending on their abode and completely disrupting it. So thanks again. See you soon I hope :o) The reason for admitting my lack of a working memory, [paragraph but one above] is that this was why I didn’t too seriously consider “RENT” this trip, I couldn’t see the Theatre. “CHICAGO” & “WHISTLE DOWN THE WIND” were on the same street and near to Covent Garden Tube station, and the new shoes I’d been forced to buy were KILLING ME!

So there you have it a great way to choose a nights entertainment.

In the end I chose “WHISTLE DOWN THE WIND”. Why? Well my main reason for wanting to see “CHICAGO” was Ruthie Henshall, well actually Ruthie Henshall in those costumes ;o), and that’s always a risk, going to see a long[ish] running show to see a specific member of the cast. Last time I tried it was “JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR” I even persuaded my brother, not a Theatre Addict like me, to attend, and we saw…the understudy! He was very good, but…

So we walked around a bit. Went back to book for the IMAX to see “L5 First City in Space” great fun, and we got the money off voucher this time! See last trip account…or save your browser, last time we booked for the full price, walked outside, around a bit & back in, and were given a money off voucher we couldn’t use!

Then came the the national finals of Air Hockey WALES V WALES ……AND I WON 3 – 1 YYEEEAAAA [ Shouldn’t gloat but it doesn’t happen very often, the little sod’s better than me at most sports, I know it’s not strictly speaking a sport but when you’ve been told the only celeb you look like is “meatloaf” it may give you an idea of just how “sporty” I am, always preferred posh myself ;o)

“WHISTLE DOWN THE WIND” – A great show I took a little while to get into it about 50% of the first half, I don’t know why because looking back I loved almost all the songs and the performances were great.

Deserving special praise are: Lottie Mayor “Swallow” – a brilliant performance, a great voice and her tears at one stage … whoa shivers down the spine time. Marcus Lovett “The Man” – the Power this guy puts into the performance is unbelievable and the range of his voice. The way he carried on and held to the “moment” when the reason the children think he is Jesus happened was a credit to him, because I should imagine it always raises a laugh but the characters can’t react to it or it’ll spoil the premise. Also the tortured way he fights the urge to kiss “Swallow” was brilliant – Though understandable as Lottie Mayor is gorgeous, and I really hope she isn’t as young as she plays!

Also deserving a mention are: Louise Marshall “Candy” if this was the understudy wow! She put such conviction and [i know I’m using this word a lot but] power into that role. Walter Herron Reynolds III “Edward” – now I’m really glad I liked this guys performance, because even though I’m 6′ 3″, I dread to think how big this guy is he looked huge, with a voice to match. Finally Dean Collinson “Amos” the two numbers I thought he stood out in were “Tyre tracks and broken hearts” & ” A kiss is a terrible thing to waste”.

So as you may have gathered I thought the show was excellent, very good staging – once you get over how small the Theatre is, I’m spoilt I suppose the first show I really remember was MISS SAIGON, so compared to that Theatre, Wales is small!

All the cast were very good, I’m always a little dubious about seeing shows that rely on kids, that’s it the next time I visit the city the little ankle biters will be out to get me :o), but all of the group I saw were very professional and could REALLY sing. The only complaint I have is where was the merchandise? As I left all I could here was the poor bloke on the counter saying sorry we sold out of that…and that…and those, these are just samples. Anyway…

Day two: I arrived at London even later, I really didn’t think my feet would stand another 6 hours wandering. It was about 4:30 when I got to Waterloo so I decided …

Now for something completely different, so I went for a Kentucky Fried Chicken Meal and a pint in the Moon under the Water, who says the Welsh can’t adapt!

I wandered for a bit called in at the tube station to check those magic eye prints that Londoners call tube maps found out where I needed to be and went there.

I arrived at the Royal Festival hall…hang on back go back a bit ….tib a kcab no gnah…I emerged from the Embankment tube station to be greeted by what I think was one of the best views of London as you walked over the river it was great. Mental note made at this time book a trip on the river next visit, never done it but looks like fun. I entered the Festival Hall and my first impression was… I really must start to unravel the thread of my shirt to find my way out of here. IT WAS HUGE, and as per my usual impeccable sense of direction …I was at completely the wrong end of it!

Now for complaint time, the seats, I received a letter informing me of the concert quite a few months previously, by the way congratulations to whoever typed the envelope you got the spelling 100% correct not easy in the land of Ll Ff and Llanfairpwll… no I’m not typing it all, and bought a seat in the best price band and was 11 rows back in the second block of seats! Now the people sitting both sides of me were questioning how these could possibly be “the best seats” as were the people behind so it’s a safe bet it wasn’t just me who thought there was something wrong here. Bernadette Peters was great I don’t know how big she really is but she filled that hall from start to finish.

Now this is where the mistakes will come in, the programme didn’t have a running order so I’m trusting my memory and guessing the names of these songs.

My favourites were “Somebody love me too much” “Children will listen”, this was why I went to see the show I’ve seen the video of her performance as the witch in “INTO THE WOODS” and it blew me away, and “making love on your own” now I’d never heard of this one and couldn’t figure out why people were laughing before she started to sing, listen to it I’M CERTAINLY NOT EXPLAINING IT! I didn’t get it anyway :o).

The show was recorded “For TV” but where?? Anyone let me know where I can get a copy.

Well another trip over, I’m already planning my next one, don’t know when it’ll be but a friend I haven’t met yet but who I chat too on the Net is coming over from Greece so we’re currently fighting over what shows to see, so Nick…not Phantom… what’s your next suggestion? On another obtuse note….. Amy??????? [ and no I’m not explaining that one either ] I’m looking forward to more Theatre, maybe with a bit of luck be seeing “The ROCKY  HORROR SHOW” in Cardiff.

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