A day of spontaneity

We had some loose plans laid out for Wednesday but in the end we went wherever seemed best. In the morning we caught the train to Waterloo with an idea to walk across the bridge into Leicester Square to see what cheap theatre tickets we could get.

As we were in Southbank, we had a look to see what was in and decided to check out the National Theatre as they were showing the Press Photographers’ Year exhibition in their foyer. There were some amazing photos from 2011 and 2012, divided into different sections. There were photos of the London Riots, juxtaposed with images of famine and drought in Africa, and the civil wars in Syria and Libya. A few dead bodies in those ones.

Alistair Campbell and Peter Capaldi
Alistair Campbell and Peter Capaldi

Looking at them against photos of royals and politicians, you feel a little bit sick of the “celebrity” in our society. Having said that though, one of my favourite photos was of Peter Capaldi pulling a face behind Alistair Campbell’s back. (Peter Capaldi plays the Alistair Campbell-inspired character of Malcolm Tucker in The Thick of It). There were also nature photos and two walls full of London Olympics and Paralympics photos. The exhibition was, as Glen and I like to say, a “hidden gem”.

We went for lunch at Wahaca, a Mexican restaurant on South Bank. We ordered a variety of small dishes for us to share and enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere and the delicious food. We very stoically denied ourselves dessert…though I’m sure I could have eaten it.

Up to Leicester Square to check out the half-price ticket booth. We wanted to see Noel Coward’s Private Lives in the evening but there was a matinee starting in half an hour and we could get good priced seats in the stalls, about ten rows from the front. So we went to the Geilgud Theatre and took our seats.

Duckface (Anna Chancellor) from Four Weddings and a Funeral played the female lead and Toby Stephens played the male lead. I spent the first half wondering where I’d seen him before. I asked someone for a program in the interval and saw that he was the husband of the murdered woman in Miss Marple’s Blue Geranium episode. He’s done other things too but that’s where I knew him from. The other man in the play is the DI in New Tricks.

It’s a strange play. The basic premise is a divorced couple see each other again while they’re on their honeymoons with new partners. They then run off together. Their relationship is totally dysfunctional and violent. It’s a comedy but playing for modern audiences you’re left thinking, “Should I really be laughing at this?” They beat each other and have terrible fights, and yet the audience laughed. It was almost like Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf but done for laughs.

And then the play ends and you’re left wondering, is that it? Strange.

Duckface was excellent though, loved seeing her on stage. The whole cast was very good really, and glad we saw it.

We then battled the late afternoon crowds down Regent St to go and gawk at the shirtless model in the Abercrombie and Fitch store. One of the guys at the door was so beautiful it was criminal. Sigh. There was a big queue to have a photo with the shirtless greeter so we avoided doing that, had a quick look around the highly perfumed store, then left. We stood on the pavement a bit longer looking at the guy at the door. So dreamy.

Donna then bought shoes from Clark’s (on sale) and I bought some pants and shirts in French Connection (also on sale. Most of the shop was on sale and I would have liked to try on more but we were keen to get back across the river to South Bank).

Jackie was going to the Fringe Festival in the evening on South Bank with her daughters. They were going to see a slapstick-type show called The Boy With Tape On His Face so we thought we’d tag along too. Called Udderbelly, it’s setup much like the Fringe Festival in Perth (though much smaller than the 2013 Fringe Festival). We bought our tickets then bought some food at Eat, including a couple of glasses of Pimm’s.

There’s a “Festival of Neighbourhood” on Southbank at the moment and they’ve put together allotments in garden boxes along the way. Food plants grow out of them and there are benches to sit on so we sat there, drinking and watching the water.

Jackie, Laura and Amy arrived as we joined the queue to enter the venue (no allocated seats). We got in there early enough to have some good seats. The premise of the show is the guy on stage wears gaffer tape across his mouth and so doesn’t speak throughout the performance. He brought different audience members on stage to participate (some were good, some tried to hard, and one guy was very nervous). Even I got called up on stage with three other guys to do this bit with the Lean on Me song. The four of us had to sit down then lean back and then our seats were taken away from underneath us so we looked like a table. It was fun, though I did swear when I was chosen. A nice uplifting and enjoyable ending to the show.

The five of us then went for dinner at Pizza Express (absolutely packed!) before catching the train home. Such a busy but fulfilling day.

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