Salad Days indeed

Back at the beginning of December, I noticed there were a lot of very positive reviews for a new production of Salad Days that was being performed at the Riverside Studios in Hammersmith. Way back, at the dawning of my theatre life, the part of Tim in Salad Days was my first, ever lead (in two productions). I have always had a soft spot for it and buying tickets was only obvious.

Fast forward a few months and the announcement came that Mirinda’s friend Amanda was marrying her long time partner, Carlos. The two events may seem to have nothing to do with each other except that both events were planned for the same day!

To say I was devastated would be an understatement. And it wasn’t because of the money we’d already paid for the tickets (Riverside has a strictly no refund policy) but because I had been REALLY looking forward to it.

There followed the news that I wasn’t invited to the wedding. While deeply disappointed (not that I really know Amanda and had never met Carlos) my heart was all joyous and celebratory as I realised I could still go and see Salad Days.

Well, today was the day.

The plan was for us to both travel up together on the train, to separate at Clapham Junction and, finally, to text each other with a rendezvous when the wedding was done and dusted. The plan worked perfectly, eventually finding me arriving at Amanda & Carlos’ place in time to see the cutting of the cake and getting to meet everyone.

They were all lovely people (strangely, Amanda’s mum looked very familiar and I still can’t work out why) and it was a lovely way to end the day. Mirinda had told me how lovely Carlos is and it was great to finally meet him – she’s right, he is lovely.

However, this post isn’t about a wedding I didn’t attend: It’s about a fabulous musical which I DID attend. It’s one I am SO glad I made the effort to go to because it was superb. Actually, there are not enough superlatives to truly describe how good it was. To say I thoroughly enjoyed it doesn’t seem to be enough.

Salad Days is a wonderful piece of 1950s whimsy. A surreal glimpse into the post-war sunshine that was Britain. And it has the most memorable songs I think I’ve ever heard. So memorable that I instantly knew each one when the music started.

The theatre had seating either side of a central acting space, and when I looked across the actors, all I could see was a sea of smiling faces and tapping feet. Our seats were on the floor, around small cafe style tables, making me feel I was part of the action; something that became even more so when I was dragged up to dance with one of the cast during Look at me I’m Dancing.

The whole cast was brilliant so it’s quite difficult to just pick one or two to highlight as standing out though I did think Jane (Katie Moore) was perfect. Her energy and air of sheer joy was infectious and delightful.

I must also mention Leo Miles who was a perfect Tim and looked remarkably like Lisa’s husband Jack…though a good deal younger.

It was such a shame that the show had to end – in fact, I would have happily sat through the evening performance as well but I had to make my way back to Waterloo.

The Tube was undergoing a bit of engineering works as usual, which means there are three times as many people trying to use a third as many Tube lines. Ghastly, crowded, noisy, smelly…actually, it wasn’t particularly smelly. I was very glad Mirinda wasn’t with me because she’d have hated it…particularly when the doors didn’t open.

I ended up in Earlsfield, sitting in an extremely crowded pub, waiting for the wedding party to move to the house. Eventually Mirinda sent a text saying they’d returned and, using my wonderful smartphone, I found their house and made a rather scruffy appearance.

I was almost instantly surrounded by members of the wedding party, asking me whether I managed to fix the car. The looks of concern on their faces made it hard to explain that they’d mistaken me for someone else.

We stayed for a bit, sipping champagne, talking about cheese and wine parties with Mark, discussing the intricacies of beauty therapy with Tina and wondering what constituted Kelly being a temporary dancer but, like all good things, it had to end.

With an amazing bit of timing, we left the train from Earlsfield just as the train to Alton arrived across the platform. We stepped off one and onto the next. Genius. And a fabulous day for all.

The happy couple engaging in a first dance
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1 Response to Salad Days indeed

  1. Josephine Cook says:

    Wow that was a bit of a mix up but to be honest I think you got the better deal seeing as you did not know any one at the wedding , and Gary Charles you loved being dragged up to dance thought you where in the show. love mum x

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