Friday, 16 November 2012

My love for London's Theatreland has returned!

I haven't travelled down as much to London during 2012 compared to previous years.  The main reasons were the Phantom of the Opera 2012 UK Tour where I travelled to different cities instead of London to see the show and also I had a very unpleasant stay at a horrid London hostel when I saw some of the Olympics action in July 2012.

I missed seeing London shows so I took the opportunity to book to see Les Miserables and The Phantom of the Opera in November 2012.  I was keen to see the new casts in both musicals and I couldn't think of a better time to go and see them perform.

Queens Theatre, London

I got the train down to London on Thursday afternoon (8th November 2012) and hit the West End soon after I checked in my hotel near Kings Cross Station.   I met  Annie for the first time then I made my way to The Queens Theatre for Les Miserables.  I sat in the dress circle slips and got a great albeit left side view of the stage.  It was a perfect place to see Javert do its job!  I was so happy to see almost a full cast for that evening's performance and this included Geronimo Rauch, Tam Mutu and Sierra Boggess.  The only understudy we had was for Eponine and thus I didn't see Danielle Hope but Helen Owens instead.  It was probably the first time ever I was able to see the majority of the principals together at the same time - usually whenever I see Les Miserables it always seems to be full of understudies!  I enjoyed Les Miserables especially seeing Gero and Tam together on stage - I love their Confrontation; Tam's Stars was amazing and mind blowing and so was Gero's Bring Him Home.  I had to admit I do get bored with one or two scenes in Les Miserables but because I was in an aisle seat at the side of the auditorium I was able to sneak to the bathroom without disturbing/disrupting the audience during one of the scenes.

With Tam Mutu
With Gero Rauch
I was so happy to meet up with Tam and Gero at Stage Door after the performance.  They're were so friendly, very willing and obliging to sign my programmes and be in my photos! I was able to catch Sierra and say Hi even if she had to dash off.  In all it was great evening and I travelled back to my hotel via China Town and Leicester Square.

National Theatre, Southbank, London
Plays on during my visit

The following day (9th November 2012) I had a lazy morning at the hotel and then headed to South Bank for a backstage tour of the National Theatre.  I thoroughly enjoyed the tour and you can read more about it here.  The tour took an hour and I spent some time in its public space relaxing and enjoying a coffee.  I had some late lunch/early dinner on The Strand before returning to my hotel for a rest and get ready for Phantom!  

Scott Davies
Anna O'Byrne
I met up with Sophia at Her Majesty's Theatre for the evening performance of The Phantom of the Opera.  We had Scott Davies as The Phantom that evening (Unfortunately, Marcus Lovett, the current Phantom, injured himself the evening before in the show and had to be off.  Happily, he's now doing better and hope to see him very soon in the role).  I was happy to see Anna O'Byrne as Christine; Simon Thomas as Raoul and Lara Martins as Carlotta.  Scotty and the cast were on fire and I was even more amazed by them! Scott and Anna were so amazing in The Phantom of the Opera scene and I love Scott's insane and emotive portrayal in The Final Lair

With Lara Martins
I had the pleasure to meet some members of the cast at Stage Door after the show and meeting Scott again was like old times! Hope he caught his train and not missed it! I would have felt bad.  Sophia and I had a catch up and reflection on the show before we parted our separate ways.
With Simon Thomas 

With Anna O'Byrne
With Scotty! Aka Scott Davies 

The following morning I got ready for return home after what has been a great couple of days in London's Theatreland!

I plan to return after Christmas for more Phantom and also would like to see The Chariots of Fire!  Plus I would like to visit The Globe and its exhibition - humble beginnings as to how theatre developed from the Tudor era!

Signing off for now x

Sunday, 11 November 2012

National Theatre Backstage Tour

National Theatre, London

 For sometime I always wanted to visit the National Theatre to either see a play or tour the venue. I only recently had begun looking into the National Theatre and decided on a recent trip to London that I'll book myself on a tour.

The National Theatre organisation began in 1888. The intention of the organisation was to host Shakespeare repertoire but at the same time encouraged new and creative writing for the new nation.

The current location is situated at South Bank, across from the River Thames, and it's an area which was heavily bombed during World War II. Decades following the war intensive rebuilding took place including the National Theatre which opened it's first theatre in 1976. Laurence Olivier, an English actor, was the first artistic director with the new theatre.

The tour took us to two of the three theatres in the venue, Oliver and Lyttleton Theatres, and we learnt more about the theatre themselves. We went backstage of the Lyttleton Theatre and also visited the carpentry, painting and props workshops. We had an opportunity to learn how the props are made for the plays.

The National Theatre has foyer/public/exhibition spaces, known as the 4th auditorium, where the public who aren't planning to see a play can visit and socialise.

I thoroughly enjoyed the tour and look forward to seeing a play there in the not too distant future. Unfortunately photography is forbidden so pictures were only taken from outside the theatre. The tour cost me 8.50 gbp (November 2012) and it's strongly advisable to book in advance as tours sell out quickly. 

Contact Information:
Telephone: 020 7452 340

Plays advertised at the National Theatre

National Theatre Main Entrance