We had a theatre-in-London day today. Ages ago we booked two excellent seats in the Duke of York’s theatre to see Stephen Mangan and Matthew Macfadyen in a delightful new Jeeves and Wooster. It was the funniest thing we’ve seen since A Servant of Two Masters. Non-stop laughter is no exaggeration.
Beforehand we went for a stroll up to Regent Street to see the Christmas lights. Now, call me simple, but I thought we’d be seeing window displays of fairy stories and nursery rhymes in the big shop windows. I remember the wonderful, animated scenes in DJs every year and who could forget the incredibly surreal visions in Paris a number of years ago. Sadly, I have to report that Regents Street was a bit a let down.
The Christmas lights seem to consist of identical strings of lights stretched across the road with an ad in the middle for a new animated film. It really wasn’t worth the irritating crowds and inconsiderate traffic. I don’t think we’ll bother again.
Mirinda suggested we wander down to Soho and look for somewhere for dinner. Before discovering the delightful El Cantara, we popped into an odd little place called Madd.
Mirinda claimed it was a place that serves all edible things made with Australian mangoes. I can’t comment on the country of origin but my smoothie was delicious. Sadly it was all a bit too noisy and full of old video games for us to eat at, so we left.
We then tried to go Italian at Amalfi. We were greeted at the door and a waiter said he’d go and find us a table. That was the last we saw of him. Having stood in the middle of a growing crowd of old ladies, we decided to leave. As it turned out, this was an excellent decision.
Almost directly across the road was El Cantata, a Spanish/Moroccan restaurant. We had a fantastic meal, starting with tapas and finishing with mint tea and lamb tagine (Mirinda) and venison stew (me) in the middle. Thoroughly enjoyable and completely recommended.
Eventually we drifted down to the Duke of York.
I’ve been a fan of Matthew Macfayden since Spooks. I’m fairly certain I’ve never seen him do comedy. He’s a perfect Jeeves.
I was a bit concerned about Stephen Mangan as Wooster but he was just as brilliant. He has the widest mouth in the universe and a wonderful air of innocence and delight both of which make for a perfect Bertie.
I mustn’t forget the third actor, a chap called Mark Hadfield who was equally marvellous.
The play is a new adaptation based on The Code of the Woosters, the one with the cow creamer. While Mangan only plays Bertie, the other two play all the other parts. Jeeves playing Gussie Fink-Nottle was superb.
It’s not often we see a perfect play but this certainly was one. We couldn’t fault it at all. A memorable night at the theatre.