Music, Theatre, Travel

Rocking Out in London Town!

As far as week’s go, this one has been a pretty eventful with not just one, but two brilliant visits to the capital!

On Saturday my wonderful husband surprised me with a day out in the City for our anniversary. I didn’t know what was planned apart from we had to be in the Liverpool Street area for 2.30pm. Liverpool Street is in the Financial District of London and not known for being a hubbub of activity at the weekends so I was very intrigued…but not for long as I soon found out that we were booked in for lunch at City Social in Tower 42!

Natwest Tower - London

City Social is an art deco style restaurant on the 24th floor of the tower with stunning views across London.

Views from Tower 42

Above is the Heron Tower, the Walkie Talkie and the Shard, and the Gherkin. The food at City Social was top notch and being there for a good few hours we saw the sun set over the city.

Sunset over London

The Gherkin

What a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. By the time we left night had truly descended so we took a walk through London under the Christmas lights onto our next destination – the West End! For the evening we had tickets to go and see the play Neville’s Island starring the comedy actors Neil Morrissey, Robert Webb, Miles Jupp and my husbands hero – Adrian Edmondson.

Nevilles Island

Nevilles Island is a comedy by Tim Firth and tells the story of 4 businessmen shipwrecked in the Lake District as part of a corporate team building excercise. It was a very funny play!

On Wednesday night we found ourselves back in London courtesy of Mr. A’s work. His company hosted a gala dinner at the Roundhouse in Camden and put us up in the Cumberland Hotel for the night. I couldn’t believe it when I got to our room –  Mr. A had asked if we could have the Jimi Hendrix suite, not thinking for one minute that it would be available – but it was, and it was awesome! We both love Jimi Hendrix’s music and this room was where he did his last interview.

The Hendrix Suite

Jimi Hendrix Suite

We felt like rock stars as we got ready in this suite – and did I mention that it had 2 bathrooms?!

From Oxford St we headed over to Camden to the legendary Roundhouse. The Roundhouse started life in 1847 as a shed for maintaining and restoring goods engines but is now an iconic cultural venue. It looked beautiful inside all lit up.

Camden Roundhouse

The evening was fantastic and was topped off with a brilliant performance from Spandau Ballet!

Spandau Ballet

I felt so lucky to have been invited to such a wonderful event. We got back to the hotel and the party continued, eventually seeing us crawl into bed at 5.30am – boy were we both glad we booked yesterday off work!

Theatre

The Light Princess

I’ve been meaning to post a review of my trip to see The Light Princess for a few weeks now, but as it always seems to happen, life takes over and time escapes me! So here is a belated review. The play has actually stopped running now as of 2nd February, we were lucky enough to catch one of the last showings on 1st Feb at the National Theatre in London.

Being a massive Tori fan I was really looking forward to this production and I was not disappointed.

I was unfamiliar with the original Scottish fairytale by George MacDonald so wasn’t entirely sure what was in store, other than it would involve a floating princess as depicted by the official show posters.

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(Picture taken from http://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/shows/the-light-princess)

 As we took our seats our eyes were drawn to a beautiful scene by set designer Rae Smith which immediately prepared us for the premise of conflict between 2 cities. One side, Lagobel depicted in yellows and golds, the other Sealand in blues and purples, both separated by a sea of green in the middle. The story revolves around 2 warring cities and a Princess (Althea – Rosalie Craig) and Prince (Digby – Nick Hendrix).

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(Picture taken from the official National Theatre ‘Light Princess’ programme)

In a nutshell the story goes as follows. Both the Althea and Digby have lost their Mothers. Althea,unable to deal with the grief becomes light, incapable of taking anything seriously or shedding a tear and has to be locked in a tower to stop her from floating away. Digby, in his sadness becomes heavy hearted and declares War on the city of Lagobel. The two characters eventually meet in the forest that divides the 2 cities and fall in love. However, Althea has to first has to overcome her grief in order to return to the ground.

Rosalie Craig as Althea was simply stunning. It was a marvel how she was able to sing so effortlessly whilst being hoisted up in the air or manouvred by the shadowy acrobats that were constantly holding her up and keeping her off the ground. The acrobats were incredible and so discreet that after a while you forgot they were even there!

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 (Picture taken from http://www.theedgesusu.co.uk/culture/2013/12/13/review-the-light-princess-at-the-national-theatre-11122013/)

The show was sung almost entirely, which for me was a bit much. It would have been nice to have a bit more spoken word just to break up the score and be able to distinguish each individual song. As it was they all seemed to bleed into each other. Whilst some of the choruses were strong, other parts seemed to lack direction or melody. But when it was good, it was very very good and some of the songs, with their orchestra backing would not have seemed at all out of place on Tori’s ‘Gold Dust’ album.

Another strong part of the production was Toby Olié’s puppetry. Puppets featured quite heavily in the show from Digby’s falcon companion ‘Zephyrus’, to the dancing frogs in the lake, to my favorite little mouse who appeared in the background of many scenes, it was fun trying to spot where he would appear next!

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 Some of the puppet birds (picture taken from http://www.tobyolie.com/page5.htm)

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Little mouse (picture taken from  http://www.tobyolie.com/page5.htm)

All in all I am so glad that I managed to catch this production before it ended. I initially went for the music and came out in awe of acrobats and Rosalie Craig. I will definitely be keeping an eye on what she does next.