Don’t tell anyone, but the sun shone yesterday.
Andrea and I snuck off to London for the day and were more excited by the fact that we got to leave our coats in the car than we were at the thought of a day’s theatre going.
The weather was glorious, and we had a wonderful time.
We had a most indulgent day, starting with lunch at Browns in Covent Garden. I had salt beef sandwiches with crisp fries and the most amazing cherry and white chocolate Eton Mess to follow:
Andrea had steak and chips with glorious chocolate and salted caramel cheesecake:
We shared the desserts it was so hard to make our minds up what we wanted.
Then we waddled over to the Savoy Theatre on the Strand.
I have never been to the Savoy Theatre before. It actually is a part of the hotel, and it is a fabulous underground bunker of Art Deco madness, all done out in gold and silver panels of sun rays and Chinoiserie. I tried to take a picture, but the man who should have been selling ice creams but who was actually selling wine and beer from the tray around his neck (how posh), told me off, in a very friendly way.
We went to see The Sunshine Boys, a play by Neil Simon starring Danny DeVito and Richard Griffiths.
It was very uneven. Griffiths and DeVito were fantastic, as you might expect. I particularly enjoyed watching DeVito, because he looked like he was having the time of his life, and I do like to see an actor enjoying themselves, particularly if they are very good at what they are doing, and he is.
The supporting cast were rather patchier, I had particular issues with the young man who played DeVito’s nephew, and spent a lot of his time doing ACTING. There was a great deal of standing sideways on to the audience and shouting, which does constitute acting in some circles, but not in mine. The woman who played DeVito’s nurse was fantastic though, and redeemed his lameness in spades.
The writing was crisp, and clever and the lines were beautifully delivered by the two leads. It was an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon, although I cannot say that it was outstanding. And for the price of the tickets I really wanted outstanding.
We came blinking out into the late afternoon sun, and moseyed through the Savoy Gardens over to Embankment and across to the South Bank.
I love the South Bank at this time of year. There is so much going on. The beach is back, and this year the sand is multi coloured in rainbow stripes, and had it not been full of small children having the time of their lives, and who clearly didn’t need any help enjoying themselves, I would have been very tempted to build a few sandcastles myself.
The lawn outside the National was busy with people enjoying all the free activities the National put on every day. There was a giant clock face with a clown mucking about outside it, and side stalls and music and people bustling around having drinks and singing along to Abba, which was blaring out of the sound system.
We enjoyed our regular ritual of browsing contentedly in Foyles, and then, when we got a bit peckish we went to the Wahaca pop up outside the Festival Hall for some dinner.
I love the idea of pop up restaurants. I love the idea of anywhere that you can get nice food frankly. A man on a bike with a basket of sandwiches excites me.
Wahaca is a fantastic Mexican restaurant chain set up by Thomasina Miers, the lady who won Masterchef several years ago. The food is always good, and fresh, and authentic. We weren’t sure how it would translate to what are essentially large lorry containers stacked on top of each other and decorated with fairy lights, but it was all good:
My drink of muddled limes with syrup and chopped mint in sparkling water was refreshing and delicious. Our Nachos and guacamole were freshly made, and our mains were at the table in no time, which considering we were on a deadline and needed to get to the theatre, was perfect.
I had tacos filled with courgette, cactus and potato and smothered in cheese and black beans. It was spicy and delicious. Andrea had a slow cooked pork burrito which was also spicy and delicious. We ate them before I could take photos of them. That’s how delicious they were. The fact that my nose ran so much I had to use three napkins I blew it so much, shows how spicy it was.
Our final destination was the National Theatre where we went to see Antigone, a Greek tragedy starring Christopher Ecclestone. We rate him highly as an actor but had never seen him on stage before. We had our fingers crossed that he wouldn’t disappoint. Like everything else we did yesterday, he, and it, came up trumps.
The play was mesmerisingly good. I really could not find fault with it. It was an hour and a half of flawless theatre. The acting was uniformly great, and you got the sense it really was an ensemble piece. The chorus was not clunky and out of place, as in many modern adaptations of Greek tragedies I have seen, but worked perfectly in the context of the play.
The staging was interesting, and made relevant and understandable connections between the city state of Thebes hundreds of years ago, and modern society today. The translation was punchy and modern without being annoying, and everything made perfect sense.
It was a truly satisfying piece of theatre, and a great end to a great day.