Sunday, August 28, 2011

Friday Night Festivities in Rainy (as ever) London

The weekend once again!   This time, the plan was theatre!    I got us tickets for  "Crazy For You" in the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre.  OK.  Yep.  Open Air Theatre!   Now, the men were all a bit skeptical about this choice, since it has rained (or poured) every day this week.  So perhaps not the best choice?   On the other hand, why not give it a try?!  The theatre's website gave us all sorts of info about "the weather", so... i had come prepared (each of us had a knapsack with an extra cushion to sit on, and fleecy blanket for warmth, and a couple of umbrellas... just in case!).

Wearing our backpacks, the boys and I headed into central London, to meet Steve:  Weatherspoons right by the Baker Street Station, just  down the street from Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum (which we have not yet visited).  Right outside the door is the statue of Sherlock Holmes  (since Baker Street is where the infamous literary detective lived!).  Here are my three men doing the Sherlock Holmes pose!

After dinner, happyily stuffed with "Sausages and Mash", and with our tickets in hand, we wandered down Baker Street, and into Regent's Park, stopping to watch the crowds of ducks, pigeons and (yes) Canada Geese swarming around the couple who had brought a bag of bread for feeding time.  There were a bunch of cute little goslings in there too, but i am not sure if you can catch them in this shot.   There was also a stork resting under one of the bridges, so the boys accommodated their shutter-crazy mother with a "stork pose" shot!  :-)
The Regent's Park Open Air Theatre itself is great!  This is just a shot in the 15 minutes before show time, as people were taking their seats. Thankfully, the seats fold down and have their own cushions, so my fears about backache were put to rest!  Of course, the seats were also soaking wet, since it had poured rain about 30 minutes earlier!  Given the damp seats, I was really happy to have the cushions, though I could see that other theatre goers had also come prepared with plastic bags, which they were laying across their seats! 
As the ushers were showing people in, there were also a host of cast members pushing brooms and towels across the stage to dry things off.  I tried to take a photo of the cast members wiping the stage, but then a very apologetic attendant came to tell me that the stage design for this particular show was copyrighted, so they prefer to pictures of it (stands fine, stage not).   Alex was outraged to note that other people were also taking photos and were not getting caught.... Ah well... the red hair is a disadvantage in contexts where you are trying to do something people don't want done.  I am not so good at 'sureptitious'. hahaha.   So... to get a sense of the backdrop for the stage (which is a wonderful lush setting of trees), here is an image off the web from an earlier season (with no stage design to be copyrighted!).

Next time, we will come earlier and hang out before the show starts!  There is a barbeque area, and a huge picnic area.  You can even order picnic baskets to be waiting on your arrival... they also have what is billed as England's longest bar!   It spans the entire back edge of the theatre (and you can bring your drinks with you into the stands).  It is really lovely!  Huge trees on one side, ivy (or something) falling down the roof edge of the bar, woven with tiny lights that sparkled in the dusk as evening fell.  Here are two shots, one under the bar, and the other looking up through the corridor of trees that span it.

So... back to the show itself.  "Crazy for You" is a comedic piece of musical theatre (boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy adopts a disguise, girl falls in love with disguise, things go wrong, etc etc and all ends happily ever after).  Basically, a classic shakespearean plot, but set in the 1930s, using exclusively Gershwin songs to push the plot along.  The play is full of great songs, great dancing, great jokes, great slapstick comedy.  Funnily enough, after I got home, i discovered that the piece was written by Ken Ludwig, the same guy who wrote "Lend Me A Tenor" (which I saw with Arta and Wyona when i was hunting for an apartment back in June (and which Arta already blogged about!")  After the fact, I can see the connection.  fun!   You can read the telegraph's review of it here, and see one of the songs, "I Can't Be Bothered Now" (from the 1993 Tony Awards) on youtube.

Of course, as with all our London adventures, nothing goes quite as one might hope. Perhaps 30 minutes in the show, as dusk had fallen, Alex poked me and pointed to the trees on the left side of the theatre (were were about 11 row back on centre right). I could see why he pointed: it looked like it was raining in the trees... I could see no rain falling anywhere on the stage or on us, but it looked like a wall of rain inside the trees. Really wierd. I wondered if it was some sort of 'after-the-fact' response to the ealier know how sometimes it seems to be raining under the trees when it has already stopped raining?

under the umbrella...

scattering to shelter in the bar...
But no... it was a real downpour, but contained and moving towards us very slowly, almost like a wall!   Within a few minutes, you could see umbrellas start to pop up on the far left of the auditorium, and then slowly spread across, like a slow-motion "wave" in a sports stadium!  [the seats are raked sufficiently high that no one's view gets obstructed by an umbrella in the row ahead of them!]  Duncan and I happily popped ours open and huddled under.   The cast continued singing and dancing for another several minutes, but finally the rain really came down with a vengence. The music stopped, and an announcer told us that the cast would take a brief break, and that we should all seek shelter under the bar.   People scampered to follow these directions.  I wouldn't have believed it had I not seen it myself, but the bar area is indeed large enough to provide shelter for an entire full theatre of people!  Nothing like a bit of 'the unexpected' to bond people together. :-)   and sure enough, in 15 minutes, the rain has stopped, and they sent us back in.  The cast were again out on the stage with mops, wiping it dry, and then they all settled back into the positions they had been, and the show took off again!   Totally wild!

All in all, a great show, with a great finish!   With the sky dark, the lighting people managed some bit of magic that sent stars sparkling through the trees and skies, reminding me of what it is like at the lake in the summer, when we have a dance party on the lawns in front of the cabins, and wyona or arta have turned on the mirror ball, which sends shards of light skipping over the grass.  We wandered back to the Baker Street Tube station, and headed for home... Yep... a perfect evening out.  

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.