A few months ago my Mom announced she was going on holiday to Spain for a few nights. People that know me know that I don’t get on well with my step-dad and the thought of spending five nights alone with him was not appealing in the slightest. I like going to the theatre so decided to book one of my usual trips to London for one night to escape for a little bit.
On the Saturday I caught the train early-ish, around 10AM and made it to London around 12PM. I don’t normally bother with a suitcase when I go to London for the night as I can fit my things into a backpack but I hadn’t stayed at home for two nights prior to going to London and hadn’t had chance to pop home so I had no choice but to take a suitcase with me. Luckily Euston do store bags for people but Jesus wept at what cost? It was a lot more complicated than it had been when I’d stored my bags in Japan because my bag had to go through a scanner like you get at the airport but I suppose you can’t argue with safety precautions. At least my suitcase was safe and I didn’t have to lug it into the theatre with me (though I think they’d have denied me entry anyway).
My first show was ‘Betrayal’, a show I didn’t know much about and had only booked because Tom Hiddleston was in it. I went straight to the theatre and joined the complicated queue system – luckily there was a member of staff outside who pointed people in the right direction and made sure people were in the correct queue. There were people lurking near the stage door who I guess were there on the off chance they’d meet Tom – me and Becca had been planning to do this the week before when we were in London but unfortunately didn’t have enough time.
Picking up my ticket was easy enough and I went off in search of the bathroom. I ended up at the top of the theatre and stood in a ridiculously long line and when I got to the front I was annoyed to discover there was literally one toilet. Whoever designed that needs to re-evaluate their life.
My seat was good, I was down in the stalls, a few rows back and on the aisle. This ticket hadn’t been cheap and I’d forked out £140 to see this show. There were signs everywhere advising that if you needed the loo mid-show that was a shame because you wouldn’t be allowed back into the auditorium. You literally couldn’t miss them yet it didn’t stop one bloke getting up mid-show – the attendant literally sprinted down the aisle to tell him he couldn’t go back in if he left so he reluctantly went back to his seat.
The show began and it wasn’t a long show, only 90 minutes without an interval and relied heavily on the three main actors which were Tom Hiddleston, Zawe Ashton and Charlie Cox. I’ll be 100% truthful and admit that whilst I was happy to see the show as I would’ve been gutted to miss it, it definitely wasn’t my cup of tea. It was just three characters talking, lots of long dialogue and not much action. Which like is fine. Just not particularly my cup of tea. The play was non-linear as the further into the story we got the further back in time we went, and the basic plot was that Zawe was married to Tom Hiddleston but was having an affair with Charlie – I can’t remember the characters names, sorry!
I’m also very ashamed to admit this after how much I spent on the ticket but once or twice I did nearly fall asleep. No disrespect to the actors who did an amazing job, or the story itself, it’s just I’d had a lot of late nights that week and there were a lot of long, dramatic silences in this show. When the show finished I had wanted to try and meet Tom but I was so relieved to walk around and wake up a bit that I decided to just collect my luggage and go find my hotel. A lot of people did try and meet Tom, the girl sitting next to me literally climbed over me to leave the theatre so she could go and join the queue by the stage door outside. I would’ve loved to have met him but I was pretty much a walking zombie by the time the show was over.
In the end it was quite lucky I didn’t join the queue as the trip to my hotel was actually quite long. I’d booked a Premier Inn in Chiswick, an area I’m relatively familiar with as I used to stay regularly in a budget hotel in that area. This meant it was quite out of the way of central London which is a both a pro and a con. A pro because the general area is quieter and a con because it takes longer to get there. I caught the tube to Turnham Green and then went off on the fifteen minute walk to find the hotel.
I’ve discovered that generally you can’t go wrong with Premier Inn and if you get the right deal they can actually be cheaper than most ‘budget’ hotels. After a few naff hotel rooms I’m comfortable just sticking with Premier Inn for the moment. Check-in was easy and my room was a decent size.
I was then met with a dilemma. I had a ticket for ‘Mamma Mia’ at 7:30 and I’d been hoping to get to the hotel, have a power nap and head back out. Due to how long it had taken me to get to the hotel I literally had ten minutes in the room before I needed to head back out to get to the theatre in time. It was just as well I wasn’t hungry because there definitely wasn’t enough time to get dinner. I was honestly so tired that I wondered about losing my money and just getting an early night. If I’d nearly fallen asleep at ‘Betrayal’ would I last for an evening show?
In the end I knew I’d regret not going so I put my shoes back on and headed out. It did take a while to get to the theatre but I got there in plenty of time to use the loo, grab a drink etc. It was nicer as I’d been able to dump my backpack in the hotel and only had my handbag with me now. My seat was good, I was on the top balcony at the end of the aisle but on the front row and the stage didn’t seem very far away at all. There was a bar to stop people toppling over the edge of the balcony but if I leant forward it didn’t obscure my view.
The show began and I’m so happy I decided to just go for it as the energetic music and general atmosphere of the theatre kept me awake and I loved every second of it. At the end the actress playing Donna announced this was the last night for a lot of the cast including herself and it was a bit emotional, and I’m truly glad I didn’t miss out on it. I had seen ‘Mamma Mia’ in London previously with my Mom but at the time I wasn’t a fan of the film. I am now and was glad to see it now that I’m a bigger fan of the story and the songs. I also didn’t remember the atmosphere being as fun as it was but maybe that’s because it was the casts last night or maybe that’s always the atmosphere? I’m not sure!
The journey back was long and unfortunately I believe I picked up a bug on the underground. The journey was convenient actually as I didn’t have to change but I remember sitting in a seat, listening to my iPod and holding onto the bar for some reason and I think that’s where I picked something up. I made it back to the hotel feeling a tiny bit under the weather but I shrugged it off, had a shower and settled down into Premier Inn’s comfortable bed and went to sleep.
One of the most convenient things about Premier Inn is that in the lift they advise what breakfast times are the busiest, which are quieter etc. I’d paid extra for a Premier Inn breakfast so I didn’t have to faff around finding anywhere to eat and when I went down it was a bit busy but they managed to find me a table straightaway. Everyone milling around was doing my head in so I didn’t spend long down there before heading back up to my room.
I’ve been to London so many times now that I feel like I’ve ‘been there and done that’ with all the tourist spots so I chilled in my room until it was time to check out and then headed back to Euston so they could store my suitcase for me again. I don’t understand their prices though because three hours and under is only £6 something, anything between three and twenty-four hours is £12. Where is the logic? Surely between six hours and twenty-four hours would be a bit more fair than three?
I spent some time chilling at Euston before hopping back on the tube to go and see ‘School of Rock’. I’ve seen this show a couple of times and hadn’t intended on going to see it. For Christmas my Dad got me some ‘theatre tokens’ which were a thoughtful gift but unfortunately are only redeemable either over the phone or in person. I hate talking over the phone so had originally been planning to bring them with me then shop around until I found a show. I accidentally left them at home when I set off a couple of days previously so on a whim just paid for a ticket to see ‘School of Rock’ again as I do love that show and it had been a while.
It was when I reached the theatre that I began to feel under the weather again, I could feel my throat was a bit funny so I decided to treat myself to a cookies and cream ice cream which didn’t help very much but did taste really nice. My seat was good, just a few rows from the stage and the view wasn’t blocked. It’s a decent theatre, not massive and quite modern so I enjoy my visits there.
As usual the show was amazing, if you’re a fan of the film then I think you’ll definitely enjoy the stage version. It’s essentially the same storyline as the film but with more songs. My favourites include ‘Stick it to the Man’ and ‘When I Climb to the Top of Mount Rock’. When I first saw the show they were giving out badges but they’ve stopped doing that which is a shame but I’m glad I got one!
After that it was back on the tube to Euston, quick dinner at Burger King and then time to catch my train back to Telford. I’m glad I went but gutted I picked that bug up on the tube as it lasted a week and I haven’t felt that ill in a LONG time – it was actually horrendous. But overall it was a good weekend in London and I’m looking forward to my next theatre weekend – I just need to book it!