Today I took the girls to the kennel before heading into London for our weekend at the flat prior to Milan.
The day was stunning and we took full advantage of it, catching the ferry up the river before wandering around Covent Garden looking for a watch. It was not a successful mission though wandering around Covent Garden watchless was still lovely. And crowded. As you’d expect.
We were on our way to the Haymarket where we were going to see Brief Encounter, a multimedia musical version of the play and film adapted and directed by the brilliant Emma Rice. We walked across from the Garden via Trafalgar Square where I spotted the new fourth plinth sculpture.
It is called The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist and is by Michael Rakowitz. It represents the winged bull destroyed by Isis, recreated using 10,500 date syrup tins. The original was called the Lamassu and stood for 3,000 years until being smashed to pieces by thugs who never had a chance to think for themselves. The date syrup tins represent the death of the Iraqi export trade because of their trade in terrorism. I think it’s quite beautiful even if the reasons are not.
From here we walked into Pret for a tea then around the corner heading for the cinema where the play was being performed.
While we were in Pret we spotted three Japanese women (they looked like mother, daughter and grand daughter) all wearing green and dressed up a bit glamorous. It made me quip “Three little maids in Green” which my wife obediently laughed at.
As we walked, Mirinda decided she wanted an ice cream, it being a special occasion. I thought it was an excellent idea. We had decided against queuing at the various shops we’d passed and found ourselves standing next to a cart selling cones. The cart was quite ornate and fancy and belonged to a hotel just behind the woman selling them.
Today marks the first time I have ever been unfortunate enough to be served by an ice cream seller who was unable to actually serve ice cream. She wanted to put two scoops in a bucket and give Mirinda a cone to scoop them out with at first. Incredulous, Mirinda said she’d have one scoop instead.
Two days later, Mirinda walked away with a rather scraggly looking cone with some bitty raspberry ripple. After the marathon effort to get just the one, I decided against wasting my carbs on one of my own. It wasn’t a good sign.
Fortunately the bad sign wasn’t anything much and we headed into the cinema.
What a beautiful, wedding cake of a place.
We were about to head upstairs when an usher told us, quietly, that if we sat in the comfortable chairs in the lobby, we would be treated to some pre-show entertainment. It’s important to note that he didn’t tell everyone this, just a select few.
About ten minutes before curtain, the band suddenly appeared on the stairs and started playing a musical medley from the 1930’s. It was a marvellous way to start the evening (and made Mirinda forget the regrettable ice cream).
While the intro was excellent it was just the beginning of an amazing production which we both thoroughly enjoyed.
Started in 2007 and finely honed by Ms Rice and her creative team, Brief Encounter has toured the world. The extremely ensemble cast interact with the audience, play and sing songs, tell the story all against the backdrops of middle class, between the wars, England. Littered with Noel Coward songs and a bit of Rachmaninoff, it is incredibly entertaining. It is also sad and very, very funny.
We saw the understudy (Peter Dukes) playing Alec tonight and he was terrific. Laura, payed by Isabel Pollen, was also perfect. In fact, the entire cast was faultless. Special mention must go to Dean Nolan who managed some amazing gymnastic prowess during his sexy dance with Lucy Thackeray.
Honestly, I loved them all. Along with the above, Beverly Rudd, Katrina Kleve, Jos Slovick, Seamus Carey and Pat Moran each gave us an amazing night out at the theatre. So, thank you.
Afterwards we adjourned across the road to our usual Haymarket restaurant (Brumus) for a late supper before getting a taxi back to the flat.