We headed into the city about half past five to find somewhere to eat. I am always blown away by the sheer number of people on the street in London on Saturday night (and especially around the West End) - this was just an ordinary Saturday night but it's like Sydney on New Year's Eve! We found the Cambridge Theatre and picked up our tickets before heading off to dinner. There are so many restaurants close by, we had no trouble finding a table at a place called Belgo - which is a Belgian chain. Their Covent Garden restaurant is in a cellar divided into two - one side a beer hall style venue and the other a more intimate room. We joined the crowd in the beer hall. Food was good value and the service was speedy. In fact it was too fast and we wound up walking around for half an hour before the show. A brisk wind had sprung up and we were glad to get inside again.
The Cambridge Theatre is by no means a glamorous venue. It reminded me a little of the movie theatre at Avoca Beach with an even flatter floor. The set was suitably child like and the theatre, as you'd expect was brimming with kids and their parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents. But there were plenty of adults sans kids too.
The storyline meanders in and out of the book, with some obvious variations (Miss Honey's father in the book is a doctor and in the musical he's an escapologist and her mother is an acrobat). The way this is woven into the story with Mrs Phelps, the Librarian is brilliant. Mrs Wormwood's bingo vices have been changed to ballroom dancing (some political correctness there I think) but she was amazing. Harry Wormwood was suitably slimy and Matilda's brother was even more stupid than he comes across in the book or the film. The cast was incredible and The Trunchbull, played by a man, was terrifying and funny at the same time. There are some fun special effects which had the audience gasping and the lasers could be problematic for some (I do wonder if very small children might find the whole thing a little scary). The little girl who played Matilda that night (there are four of them who share the role) was one of the most incredible child actors I've ever seen. She sang like an angel too. Her name is Lollie McKenzie. For me the character I was least taken with in some ways and yet in the book and movie I adored her, was Miss Honey. I'm still wondering why that is, because she's shy and scared in both the other versions just as she is in this. The woman playing her sings beautifully and is a great dancer too but she just didn't click as much for me. Still thinking...
Anyway, if you are in London or New York and have the opportunity to see Matilda I wouldn't hesitate. I'm hoping that it comes to Australia so I can take my nephews and niece too.
Sunday morning dawned bright and blue and Ian and I headed off early for a walk along The Thames. We wound up at The Tate Gallery for breakfast. I was so pleased we went there. The walk through British art over the centuries is fabulous and I was especially thrilled to see the permanent Turner, Constable and Blake exhibitions It also got me thinking about a new Alice-Miranda adventure.
We walked all the way back into the city to Piccadilly and had a bit of a look around before heading back to the flat and another read through of the proofs.
It was a lovely weekend - I hope the weather stays blue at least for part of the time - any more than that would be greedy!