Monday, April 7, 2014

Day 144-148: Theatre in London

London. I can never get enough of that city. The energy, the vibrancy, the diversity, the Britishness... Just stepping off the plane put a smile on my face.

The National Gallery in Trafalgar Square
This time, I went to London to spend the weekend with Hannah and her friend Molly. We stayed at Molly's great aunt's, and I'd say it was the nicest place I stayed at on my whole trip. We had a guest flat in a large, modern glass building, in Chelsea (the posh part of London) right overlooking the Thames. It was a tad inconvenient to get to the tube (the nearest station was half an hour walk away) but a helpful bus ran right by the flat and into central London. 

At the Canadian Embassy- One foot in Canada, the other in Britain! :)
The point of being in London, as I wrote about here, was to get tickets to Coriolanus and Richard II, starring Tom Hiddleston and David Tennant, respectively. As I mentioned, we were only half successful, but I enjoyed the theatre experience nonetheless.

The stage at the start of Richard II
Firstly, Richard II was fantastic. Tragic, funny (the scene where they keep throwing down the gauntlet was flippin' hilarious), well-acted and directed, with beautiful musical additions... It was everything I had hoped it would be. Even without David Tennant, I would have loved the show. With him, it was basically the best first live Shakespeare experience I could have hoped for (odd, isn't it, that I hadn't see Shakespeare live before? What kind of English Major am I?)

The stage at the end of Richard II
Since Hannah and Molly were disappointed about not seeing Coriolanus, they had scoured the West End to find another show for us to watch that evening. Eventually they bought tickets for Agatha Christie's 'The Mousetrap,' which is the world's longest running play, going for 62 years and 25,498 performances. I really enjoyed the show, it was dramatic and funny and clever, and watching it definitely took the sting off of not seeing Coriolanus. We were just a tad depressed when we walked out and noticed that the Donmar Warehouse was right across the road. So near, yet so far...

St. Martin's theatre, playing the Mousetrap
Sunday was supposed to be an exciting day: morning church service at Hillsong, afternoon tea at Molly's aunt's, and evening service at Westminster Abbey. Unfortunately, I managed to get dreadfully ill with a fever/flu/cold, so I spent the entire day lying in bed, too knackered to even watch TV. By the evening I was feeling a bit better (probably because Hannah made me take a pill, helped down by a spoonful of Nutella) so I called my family and talked to them for about three hours before my iPad decided to quit. 

These lovely ladies dressed up for The Mousetrap;
I was still in a hoody and messy makeup after queuing at 6:50 for Richard II! 
On Monday, I took the four o'clock train back up to St. Andrews. It's really convenient how they have a train service directly from London up to Aberdeen, running past St. Andrews, so it only took me 5.5 hours to get back.

The Albert Bridge in Chelsea, where I went for a walk Monday morning
And that concludes my adventures. Forty days, eleven cities, countless friends and relatives and acquaintances... It was quite a time. I'm never going to forget this Europe trip.

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