West End weekender | London 2019

So this past weekend I treated myself to a wee city break down to London. Heading down by myself this time to meet up with pals when I got there. I got the flight in to London City airport this time which I thought would be easier because it’s closer in to the centre, but honestly it’s not that much more convenient, it still takes you about an hour to get in and from Heathrow and Gatwick it’s actually a more direct tube journey. In future I’m probably just going to go with whichever flight is cheapest cause they’re all about the same.

I stayed in the Hub by Premier Inn on St Martin’s Lane, right in the heart of Covent Garden which is super conveniently located. The hub rooms are so cool, it genuinely made me feel a bit like I was in a Black Mirror type future (without any dark ending). The whole room is compact which is great when it’s just me, although I think it would maybe feel too cramped if you’re not keen to be right up in your companion’s space. The room can be controlled by a panel on your headboard that changes the lighting settings or heating which is so cool. Their TVs also have iPlayer and stuff on them and a library of pretty recent movies you can watch for free so that’s pretty neat.

On the first night I arrived, I bounced straight out to meet my friend Georgia. It was so nice to see her again, it’s been actual ages since we’ve been together but we have one of those friendships that just hits resume straight away. We got some lovely Mexican food from Cantina Laredo and I had a lychee and chilli cocktail which was a fun time. After dinner we headed to the Adelphi Theatre to see Waitress. That theatre is a pretty one and they were pumping out the scent of apple pie and cinnamon which was delicious. I did actually buy one of their wee pies which was cute but being honest, overpriced for what you get. Should’ve known better but sometimes the novelty purchase wins.

Waitress is such a brilliant and heartwarming show. It has a feeling of realism and relatability that makes you really root for the characters. The vocal on this cast were stunning and I especially loved Joe (Shaun Prendergast), who was the cutest old man, and Ogie (Jack McBrayer) who was kookily hilarious. Jenna (Katharine McPhee) and Dr Pommater (David Hunter) were so well cast and such an adorable pairing. She absolutely nailed Jenna and She Used To Be Mine gave me big goosebumps. I came out of this show feeling so warm and happy. 10/10 would recommend. 

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The next day I took a leisurely walk from my hotel down to the South Bank but on my way I encountered loads of people gathering in Trafalgar Square ready for the People’s Vote March. Although I didn’t have the time to join them for the protest, seeing so many people fighting against Brexit had me feeling a bit swept up in the passion of it all. This blog ain’t really about politics but for goodness sake let’s have a do-over and fix this shambles.

Aaaaanyway, I wandered my way over to the National Theatre for Follies! It is literally one of the most beautiful shows I have ever seen. I absolutely love the style of the era it reflects and the costume design is just out of this world. As is the case with Sondheim the show moves in a gradual sort of way that feels very real-time rather than exploding with climaxes as many MT shows like to do. The show is 2hrs 15m straight through with no interval which, as far as the story goes, feels right, but as far as your bladder and attention span goes can feel a little lengthy. Nevertheless I survived and loved every minute. I adore the way you can see the older characters memories reflected with the image of their younger selves. As far as showstopping numbers there are a few, I particularly love the all tapping spectacle of Mirror Mirror and the power and emotion of Tracie Bennet’s I’m Still Here. The four leads were absolutely incredible, especially the ladies. Joanna Riding gave me goosebumps as Sally and Janie Dee is an absolute queen, her Phyllis was sassy, dry and everything you want. I left the theatre just feeling very satisfied and dreamy, I just wanted to sigh in contentedness. I’m so glad I got to see this stunning production in person.

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After my matinée I then caught up with my lovely friends Duncan and Chris whilst walking around Soho for about an hour trying to find somewhere we all wanted to eat and that had enough space, only to go to the place we first looked at, typical. After dinner and a wee glass of wine we scooted over to the Apollo Theatre to catch Everybody’s Talking About Jamie. This is a show I’ve been looking forward to seeing for a long time. It’s so current and fresh and I absolutely love it. The thing I think that really makes it click for people is that we know those characters, we all had the bullies and the popular girls and the swots at high school, so we can really relate to the context in which it takes place. I was intrigued to see how the show would be with the cast changeover since the live cinema screening and although slightly different areas of strength I was not disappointed. Layton Williams was hitting the flamboyant melodrama ETAJ is such a heartwarming show, it just makes you feel happy. On top of all that my heart was full from catching up with my boys!

It was so nice to get away from Edinburgh, dissertations and dance show planning for a second and despite being in London it was still a lovely chilled weekend of dinner with friends, wandering around a fun city and seeing great theatre. What more could you want? Big thanks to my wonderful company over the weekend, truly love you all!

That’s all from the theatrical side of my weekend but here’s another blog post about my Sunday adventures in Shoreditch at Old Spitalfields Market!

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