Thursday, June 11, 2009

there's no circus at Picadilly

* i also wanted to name this entry "Tea Party For One" or boringly "London day 3 - sat 5-30-09"*

Saturday, i am exhausted from walking so much in Italy and London. i decided to go down to Picadilly Circus tube stop, where everyone and their mom seem to have a store front trying to sell me discount show tickets of all shades under the rainbow - and see if i can score some discount tickets to shows.

Of all the shows, Les Miz and Miss Saigon were my all time favorites. Miss Saigon because K and I watched it when we were 17, and the main character was 17 when she fell in love with the american soldier and sung her sad life story - and for some reason we felt a personal connection to that... we knew all the words to all the songs, so if ever Lea Salonga couldn't make the show, we were ready to step in. because it can happen that way, yo.

I recall a school trip to see Les Miserables - except because we got the group student tickets, we sat way back in the theatre, and as my bad memory recalls, i think there were no stadium-level seating, so the people were my pinky size from an arm's length. i knew and love the music, and we sung many of the songs officially and unofficially as part of Vocale Ensemble. (those were the days!)

so i was excited to see that Les Miz is playing in London, and apparently the longest running broadway show in London. i got a decent price and really wanted to see it so i got the matinee tickets.

trying to figure out what else to do in my day, i felt so drained that i decided to take myself to a 3rd broadway show in London and got tickets to We Will Rock You - which is a musical based on songs by Queen.


Before Les Miz, i decided to finally get myself to Knightsbridge station and check out the famed Harrods department store. i took so many photos and it doesn't even describe 1/20 of the foodhalls! I'll post all the harrod's pics at the end.

i was going to sit down to have some authentic fish and chips at Harrod's foodhall... £19!!!! which isn't the craziest thing - was that i was willing to pay that much, but the seafood section was full and the servers were snobby (yes, yes, it's English afterall), so i decided to wander the rest of the store to forage for good food.

i figured if i were willing to pay £19 for fish and chips, then i should treat myself to a Big Girl luncheon, so i sat at the Veuve Clicquot champagne lounge for lunch.

the 2 girls next to me asked me to take their picture, so in return i asked them to take mine

slightly tipsy, i went to my Les Miz show...
a bit of a bummer, my seats were only 4th rows from the back on the 1st balcony. I had a good general view of the whole stage, but would have LOVED to sit closer...
wasteful still was that on both sides of the balcony first row (sides only) there were one person on the left and 2 people on the right - all other seats were empty.

towards the end of intermission, the guy on my left struck up a conversation... he's seen Les Miz a handful of times, his wife and daughter went shopping so he's here alone. He says the show is sooo different from various vantage points in the theatre.

i confessed that i'd been eyeing both sides of the 1st balcony row and kind of wish i was seeing the show from there instead. If i knew the tickets were available, I would've bought it, but the ticket counter i went to said my tickets were the best, so there you have it.

** In London, there are as many "discount show tickets" booths as there are Fisherman's Wharf booths selling you "San Francisco" fleece jackets (or for my Canadian readers, as many souvenir shops on Ste Catherine trying to sell you "Good Girls go to Heaven, Bad Girls go to Montreal" T-shirts - incidentally, in my opinion, bad girls COME from Montreal.. "bad" being the "good" and "fun" definition, of course - but perhaps that's another blog entry discussion to be had **

The guy next to me said he'd move down with me if i wanted, so i moved to the 1st row, and lost sight of him... turned out he squatted a seat right in the middle of the 1st balcony row (which were all sold sp when the original owners returned, he sheepishly came by but thought our farther seats were better and went back...

As for me, i sat at my new stage-right 1st row balcony seat, and got to really see the actors and actresses' faces, and even overlook the orchestra pit, saw how everything was cued... it was a lopsided view but i felt SO close to the actors, i saw their sweat!! i got to lean over the balcony, especially during the love songs - Les Miz is familiar like an old friend, i'm fighting the urge not to sing along, since I know almost every word... i didn't, afterall, pay for a ticket to drown out professional Broadway actors with my very non-professional voice.

Les Miz was comforting, tragic, romantic... My heroine isn't the obvious Cosette - who had a bad childhood but lucky in love). I prefer the tragic heroine Eponine, born unluckily into a bad family... she's clever, loyal, street-smart and foolishly in love. the most moving of all songs is Little Fall of Rain, which stole my heart.

after Les Miz, i stopped by Richoux to have Traditional Afternoon tea. it was good but i'm sure it wasn't as good as tea-ing at The Ritz. i didn't have much time so i'll settle for a solid tea party of 1.

in the evening, i watched We Will Rock You at a surprisingly un-airconditioned theatre. it is a very tongue in cheek (and often interlaced with comical editorial commentary about the music culture, past and present, mocking or genuine. Fun story, including sing-alongs and hand clapping... I will never hear We Are the Champions or We Will Rock you the same way. As the encore, the main thread of the story, Bohemian Rhapsody...

the musicians were awesome, the story is intertwined with suble and not-so-suble lyrical references as normal storyline.

off topic, the house wine that they sold at the theatre - and they encourage fun times and sold alcohol of all kinds so people will be able to have a relaxed atmosphere at the show - the house wine was awful. i had 4 day old wine that turned slightly sour better than this wine.

a funny line from the musical:

"I'm both a roadie now, and a groupie... so i get to have sex with myself - ha! hmmm, not much change there..." - main hippie guy.

here are some food pictures from Harrod's Foodhalls (these are maybe 1/20th of all there is at the foodhalls!)

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