Last weekend I finally got my butt back down to London after almost 3 years and it was great to spend a whole weekend dedicated to two of the best things in life: theatre and food. We may have got caught up in Storm Eunice a little but the hotel room hibernation was kinda nice after a busy week at work. I have to say it felt a bit weird to be back in an airport again after all this pandemic time but it felt really right to be wandering along London streets again.
First up on the theatre schedule was the stunning Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club. From the minute you step through the door, the show has begun. The Playhouse Theatre has been beautifully redesigned for the show and as you step inside there are dancers and musicians roaming around performing as you wait for the house to open. Given how long it’s been since we were in the West End (and in honour of my birthday) we went all out on this one and booked a cabaret table with pre-show dinner and champagne. If I’m being honest, the ‘tasting menu’ dinner didn’t really feel worth the cost for me so I’d advise you not to bother if you’re looking at tickets.
The show itself is incredible, the cast is brilliant and I was particularly blown away by the full ensemble numbers where they really maximise the talent of the cast and the capabilities of their space. The only drawback, for me, was that by performing in the round, I could feel a little disconnected if I was looking at the actor’s back. Cabaret as a show has the ability to punch you in the gut with its sharp switches to seriousness so that sometimes felt missing for me. But everything about the way they presented the show, how it’s been designed and the energy of the performers felt so right.
Up next was another showstopper: Moulin Rouge! Stepping into that auditorium is actually breathtaking, there’s so much to look at and you instantly know that you’re gonna be getting production value. The whole show is such a feast for the eyes. At times the number of songs piled into the medleys can be a bit overwhelming but it’s certainly exciting. I particularly love ‘Backstage Romance‘ which includes the bangers of Bad Romance, Tainted Love, Seven Nation Army, Toxic, AND Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) – it is a ride! There’s something really special about seeing a full out production, with a frenzy of amazing dance happening on such a beautiful stage, and in those gorgeous costumes. We had such a fun time!
Taking a break from the theatre, we went on a foodie adventure to Borough Market. We wandered around picking up whatever took our fancy for a gradual breakfast into lunchtime. There were little pastries, bread, cannolis, juice, dipping oils, crumble and raclette so obviously we had a great time. All the ingredients for sale looked so good and I wish that I could do my grocery shopping there but unfortunately, I was limited to what I could take back home on the plane. I picked up some unique spice blends and some fancy salt for the road. Definitely recommend a visit if it sounds like your kind of thing.
Our next show was a staging of Phillip Pullman’s The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage. I have to admit that I’ve never read the book and can barely remember what happens in The Golden Compass so I was going in pretty fresh. I really enjoyed it though, it’s performed on a thrust stage so the actors were right in front of us. Rather than having set pieces it was all done through projection which was really beautiful. They used white paper illuminated puppets to represent the daemons (or souls) of each of the characters which was really effective and they had an actual adorable baby playing Lyra. I believe it’s going to be screened in cinemas soon so definitely one to check out.
And finally our mystery show. We had originally booked to see Pride and Prejudice* (*sort of) but unfortunately it closed a couple weeks before we arrived. We entered a whole bunch of Today Tix rushes and ended up coming away with some great value tickets for Mary Poppins. I have actually seen this before on tour but was looking forward to stepping in time again! It’s probably the Disney theatrical that I’m most interested in watching and as expected, it was pure joy. I don’t think Zizi Strallen could be any more perfect as Mary Poppins.
And amidst all that theatre we had some glorious food. The luxury of London being so huge is that you’re able to try food from all around the world and not just the usual things. Particular highlights were our Egyptian lunch bowls from Koshari Street, the adorable little cupcakes from Crumbs & Doilies, Filipino crispy pork from Bongbong’s Manila Kanteen and some gorgeous cakes from Japanese patisserie WA Cafe.
All in all, a lovely time filled with many joyous things – what more could you want? See you again soon London!