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First class trip

I went down to London last Wednesday. I'd booked first class on the train, as the reserved advance seats were only £20 so I thought I'd do things in style. Very nice it was too, especially as I hadn't counted on the free coffee, chocolate-topped lemon shortbread, bottled water and newspaper. It was nice and peaceful too. I decided to pack stuff in my large rucksack rather than dragging a case, so I had one hand for my stick, and one left free for doors, brolly etc. Which was just as well, as London was wet.

I found the hotel without too much trouble, but then the receptionist asked for my booking reference number. I'd just noted down the hotel's address, but hadn't bothered printing the form out, so I didn't have the number. This was apparently very bad. I'd secured the room with my credit card details, but this wouldn't let her check for the reservation, she said. I said the reservation must be in the system, so could she just look for my name on this date ? This wasn't a welcome idea - 'lots of records to check' she said, as though she had hundreds of possible reservations to look through. I pointed out that the hotel only had 22 rooms. I remembered which agency I'd booked through, and she only had two reservations from them so she made the effort to see if either one was in my name. Success !

After resting, I went out to get something to eat. I found a little cafe that served me a decent egg, bacon, sausage, beans and excellent toast, for a whopping £2.50. Back to the hotel to clean up and change. The little en-suite was actually a nicely-appointed wet room; it was a higher standard than the actual bedroom. Then I set off to the theatre.I decided to save my minited energy by taking a taxi, but rather regretted it. I'd miscalculated the amount of traffic congestion in central London at that time of the evening - far more than there'd be in Sheffield - so it was a slow and expensive journey.

I had a terrific time at La Cage Aux Folles. It's set largely in a drag nightclub in the south of France and during the nightclub scenes, the theatre audience become the nightclub audience. The stage is low and there are small tables set up close to it that can be booked by theatregoers. I was in the front row, at the foot of a flight of steps leading down from the stage. The actors chatted to and joked with the people at the tables, as the club entertainers to their audience. It really drew the audience into the show. The drag-artist chorus line, La Cagelles, were terrific, full of energy and did a great can-can routine for one number. Denis Lawson was great as the club's host, Georges, introducing the acts and chatting to the audience, and sang well too. Douglas Hodge did some great physical comedy as Georges' lover, the transvestite star of the nightclub, Albin. and acted well too. Everyone in the cast looked like they were enjoying themselves and all in all it was great fun.

The next day, I needed somewhere to dump my rucksack between checking out at the hotel, and the train home mid-afternoon. So I went to the Victoria and Albert Museum, which I've not visited before, and left the rucksack in their cloakroom for a nominal donation. Much cheaper than left luggage at a station. I pottered round parts of the museum, mostly looking at 20th century design and fashions from about 1700. I was pretty shattered by the time I finally reached the train, but I had a nice rest on the trip back. I was grateful for being in First Class, as standard was packed and noisy.

I'd rather like to go back for the closing night of La Cage Aux Folles, as I imagine the cast will be going all out for the last night. However, that's Jan 2nd, when I'll probably be broke and tired from the New Year. I am glad I got to see it though. It was well worth it.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
8th Dec, 2009 07:46 (UTC)
Sounds excellent! :-)
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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