Sunday, September 02, 2007

A grand day out

Acting is merely the art of keeping a large group of people from coughing - Sir Ralph Richardson

Some while ago Thomas expressed a wish to see Lord of the Rings, the musical. Nobody else really fancied it so the subject wasn't mentioned again. Then I read about Kids Week in the West End, a summer promotion aimed at making London Theatre more fun and accessible for families and offering free kids tickets. So I booked it and we went last Monday. (Mind you, it cost me £60 for my ticket)!

I'd like to say that we both thoroughly enjoyed it and I must say that as we took our seats I did think we were in for a treat. But, apart from the technical excellence of lighting, set, special effects and spectacle, it was disappointing. The clever, spectacular bits were far outweighed by the tedious, long and often very boring other bits. Running for over 3 hours it was far too long and by the end it was a relief to escape.

However, the day was an overall success as we arrived in London fairly early in the morning and headed for the South Bank area, the site of the 1951 Festival of Britain. Avoiding the queues for the Aquarium and the London Eye, we made our way past Jubilee Gardens towards the Royal Festival Hall, the only remaining building left from the 1951 festival. We made fairly slow progress as street theatre performers were out in strength and Thomas found himself assisting in an escapology act! We finally arrived outside the Festival Hall where Thomas amused himself (and got very wet!) interacting with the water sculptures.

By now a short break was called for so we had a browse through the books on a large stall being looked after by one of the biggest men I've ever seen. Then a quick appreciation of the Latin American music being performed outside the National Theatre before returning to the County Hall area, stopping only to observe the skateboarders in the specially constructed arena, also for the use of graffiti artists, under the Hayward Gallery.

A slow stroll back and then it was time to go for our tour on the Duck, an amphibious vehicle left over from WW2 and converted to carry passengers. Our very well-informed guide pointed out all sorts of lesser known buildings and sights around Westminster, Buckingham Palace and St James's Palace before we splashed down into the River Thames right next to the MI6 building, where James Bond made a spectacular entrance in a speedboat in The World is not Enough. A trip as far as the Houses of Parliament and back again, then a taxi to Covent Garden, pizza in Pizza Hut and off to see Lord of the Rings.

Later, when asked what the best part of the day was, Thomas chose the final treat. This was a trip back to Waterloo station in a bicycle rickshaw, great fun, twice as quick as a taxi and not a great deal more expensive.

Excellent day; shame about the show.


Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Shame about the show but you packed so much into the day! Lovely photos.

Chris said...

Thank you, Welshcakes, we both enjoyed it. Don't know why I don't do it more often!

Michele said...

Awesome pictures... the water sculptures look so much fun! On a hot day I'd be diving right into those things!!

Chris said...

Thanks, Michele. Yes, Thomas was slightly damp when he came out.

Webley-Bullock said...

Why didn't you join us at the fete?

Chris said...

Fete? Fete? What fete?? You see, you've got to advertise these events. Would have come if I'd known.

MaryB said...

I love that South Bank walk. Did it last time I was over. So many wonderful places to explore. Looks like it was a wonderful day for you and for Thomas!