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Back from the London Trip ( now with picture links)

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jordangirl
Broadway Legend
joined:10/1/06
Broadway Legend
joined:
10/1/06
So, I got back last night ~ a bit jet-lagged, but it was a great trip! :)

Landed on Saturday and took the National Express bus from Heathrow to Victoria Coach Station, then walked around the corner to check into what's now The Grosvenor (it was the Thistle Victoria when I booked the package). Amazingly they had the room ready, so I was able to get into my room and chill for a little while. Decided to go pick up the tickets for Billy Elliot, and discovered amazingly that it was literally right around the corner. Yay! Ok...I'll spare the details of the wandering around to see things. On with the shows.

I'd arranged to meet my friend outside the Victoria Palace ~ and almost ended up leaving a ticket for her at the box office. she'd had 3pm in her head ~ thankfully I'd called her and said 2:30. Closest I've ever cut it getting into our seats at 2:25 (I'm normally obsessive about getting there early to settle in). But we made it. I'd gotten the tickets through lastminute.com, and they were good. Grand Circle, row G, seats 38 and 39 ~ so we were on the side, but really didn't miss anything. The theatre is gorgeous! At intermission I bought a programme. I thought about a shirt, but I wasn't sure what the rest of the weekend was going to look like, so I didn't (my one regret as there wasn't a way to get one later in the trip). We saw...Trent Kowalik as Billy, Danile Fitzsimons as Michael, and I think Scarlet Embleton as Debbie (it could have been Amy Duggan ~ they look similar in the programme and from the distance I couldn't be positive.) We also had Kate Graham as Mrs. Wilkinson (according to the slip in my friend's prgramme ~ mine didn't have one), and I think it also said Tessa Worsley was in as Grandma. Trent in particular blew me away. God that boy has talent out the butt. Daniel had some pitch problems in "Expressing Yourself" but he was charming enough it made up for any pitchiness. Overall I loved the show! :) I was prepared for a more reserved audience given what had been said on here, but I found them extremely enthusiastic (of maybe Billy's an exception because of the children?) and cheering. The dancing was amazing. I hope it'll do well on Broadway, but it'll be interesting to see how it does. There were just some things in general that I'm not sure will play overly well ~ nothing specific, just generalities. Don't get me wrong ~ I really do want to see it do well. And I hope it does. :)

After the show, Helen needed to go and check into her hotel (she got a last minute deal somewhere so she could hang in London and take pictures before taking the train back home), so we agreed to meet at the Royal Court for The Vertical Hour. That was a very surreal experience as I saw the play on Broadway 10 times and knew it pretty well. I can break it down into the good, the so-so, and the ugly.

The Good
* Anton Lesser as Oliver. As much as I like Bill Nighy, he really didn't offer any different take on the character of Oliver from the third preview to the closing performance ~ which in some ways is good, but it's also interesting to see growth and changes in a character. So I liked the opportunity to see someone else's take on it. He was really good ~ I liked what he brought to the character, a little more warmth overall than Bill's performance.

The So-So
* Indira Varma as Nadia. Ok, no big secret this was going to be the toughest sell for me as I absolutely adore Julianne Moore and was one of the few who really got what she was doing with the character in the NYC production. That said, with the technical, academic stuff, Indira was fine. She definitely mastered an American accent (made obvious by something coming later in the Ugly). I did find her to be a little on the abrasive side, which is what ruined her for me in the second act. The slow psychological breakdown of Nadia is crucial. Obviously that's Julianne's bread and butter, but I was open to giving Indira a chance. And it almost worked. Almost. She'd have a moment of tenderness/emotionality but turn around and it was the abrasiveness all over again. That didn't work so well and I think made the character less sympathetic.
* Tom Riley as Philip. He wasn't bad (sorry...had to quote the play there), but he really didn't bring anything new to the role. Honestly if I'd closed my eyes (which I was afraid to do because I was really tired by this point) I could have sworn it was Andrew Scott on stage. It's not necessarily a bad thing, but it landed in the so-so category. He and Indira really didn't have that many things that made them seem couple-y. That was an issue with TVH here for a little while, but as the play went on (and definitely by the same point in the run here) Andrew and Julianne added little non-verbal moments between their characters that made them believable as a couple. I never fully bought Indira and Tom as a couple.
* The set. Lots of actors doing the changes in full-view of the audience. They attempted a tree with branches hanging from the ceiling, but I'm sorry. Nothing beats Scott Pask's amazing tree as backdrop for the set in Shropshire. I'm not sure how much I liked turntable staging on this one.

The Ugly
* The students. Both of them. Granted, the student scenes have always been the weakest of the show ~ and I admit that. But these were God-awful. Joseph Kloska attempted an American accent and succeeded SOME of the time. But far too often he slipped back into his English accent. Additionally, Dennis was FAR too aggressive ~ Dan Bittner played him as the rich college kid who pretends to have it all together but when push comes to shove is really insecure, though he tries to hide it. That worked for the character. Standing and looming over Nadia with raised voice and being aggressive really doesn't. Seriously, any professor would have been pressing a safety button or calling to a colleague for help the way he was acting. I was scared for Nadia in that scene. WAY too aggressively over the top. And on the flip side was had Wunmi as Terri. Talk about dead. She had no inflection in her voice whatsoever, and rather than coming across as heartbroken (as Rutina did on Broadway) she came across as couldn't care less and actually snotty and spoiled. Just...not good.

Still, overall it was a good night, and it was interesting to see another take on it.

The rest of the trip was good ~ just wandering around and seeing things on my own mostly. I did do the Eye, which was cool. And Sunday night I did a Jack the Ripper Walk which was interesting, but I really wish I'd stayed at the other tube stop and done the Haunted London one. Oh well...something for another trip. :) And Monday I made it over to Dress Circle to check that out. It was a lot of fun!

Thanks everyone for all your help!!

Picture Links ~
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=40607&l=5c990&id=642326320
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=40610&l=b858f&id=642326320
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=40613&l=45e75&id=642326320
Experience live theater. Experience paintings. Experience books. Live, look and listen like artists! ~ imaginethis
LIVE THAT LESSON!!!!!!
Updated On: 2/19/08 at 09:25 AM
songanddanceman2 Profile Photosonganddanceman2 Profile Photo
songanddanceman2
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joined:8/31/06
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Great pics, so glad you had a great time
Namo i love u but we get it already....you don't like Madonna
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jordangirl
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joined:10/1/06
Broadway Legend
joined:
10/1/06
Thanks! I couldn't believe how great the weather was! It was a great trip!!
Experience live theater. Experience paintings. Experience books. Live, look and listen like artists! ~ imaginethis
LIVE THAT LESSON!!!!!!
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songanddanceman2
Broadway Legend
joined:8/31/06
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haha trust me its rare that the weather is like this at this time of year here, u were lucky
Namo i love u but we get it already....you don't like Madonna
jordangirl Profile Photojordangirl Profile Photo
jordangirl
Broadway Legend
joined:10/1/06
Broadway Legend
joined:
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Oh yeah ~ I know! That's why I hadn't purchased advance tickets to the Eye. I wasn't going to do it if it was gross weather. But I definitely wasn't complaining ~ well, maybe about forgetting my sunglasses. LOL.
Experience live theater. Experience paintings. Experience books. Live, look and listen like artists! ~ imaginethis
LIVE THAT LESSON!!!!!!
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AnnaK<3LMIP
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joined:4/20/07
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PICTURES!!

Bless you. Thank you!
I mean, Denzel Washington? Gun to my head..of course.
jordangirl Profile Photojordangirl Profile Photo
jordangirl
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joined:10/1/06
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You're welcome! I think I'm gonna need a second (and third) SD card for the camera for my Dublin trip in 2 months!
Experience live theater. Experience paintings. Experience books. Live, look and listen like artists! ~ imaginethis
LIVE THAT LESSON!!!!!!
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Nosferatu
Leading Actor
joined:2/14/07
Leading Actor
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Lucky you... and great photos... No time to make it to London for a while... snif !
Sarah bernhardt to a fellow actress: "Have you got stage fright, dear?" "No," the young lady aswered astonished. "Don't worry, it will come along with talent!"
jordangirl Profile Photojordangirl Profile Photo
jordangirl
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joined:10/1/06
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joined:
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Thanks. I get a little snap happy sometimes. :P It was a totally random spur of the moment (as in booked in late November when money I was owed by Americorps came through) trip ~ made possible by the President's Day winter break week. :)
Experience live theater. Experience paintings. Experience books. Live, look and listen like artists! ~ imaginethis
LIVE THAT LESSON!!!!!!
vmlinnie
Broadway Legend
joined:6/19/06
Broadway Legend
joined:
6/19/06
What are you planning to do in Dublin?

(I'm from Dublin re: Back from the London Trip ( now with picture links))
The rain we knew is a thing of the past -
deep-delving, dark, deliberate you would say
browsing on spire and bogland; but today
our sky-blue slates are steaming in the sun,
our yachts tinkling and dancing in the bay
like racehorses. We contemplate at last
shining windows, a future forbidden to no one.


Derek Mahon

"Maybe all one can do is hope to end up with the right regrets."

Arthur Miller
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Nosferatu
Leading Actor
joined:2/14/07
Leading Actor
joined:
2/14/07
Drink Guinness and Jameson Whiskey? re: Back from the London Trip ( now with picture links)
Sarah bernhardt to a fellow actress: "Have you got stage fright, dear?" "No," the young lady aswered astonished. "Don't worry, it will come along with talent!"
jordangirl Profile Photojordangirl Profile Photo
jordangirl
Broadway Legend
joined:10/1/06
Broadway Legend
joined:
10/1/06
Um... I'm doing a tour down to Glendloch one day. I'm doing the hop on hop off bus tour another day. What are your suggestions? What are not to be missed things?
Experience live theater. Experience paintings. Experience books. Live, look and listen like artists! ~ imaginethis
LIVE THAT LESSON!!!!!!
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Scripps2
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joined:1/19/08
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Thanks for posting - glad to hear you had a good time. The theatre etiquette wasn't that much different from New York then? Did you think the programmes were good or bad value for money?

Looking at your photies, you certainly covered a lot of ground in a short space of time! I was interested to see St Bart's in there - I've never been there myself but architecturally it looks really interesting. The interior looks very similar to the church where Hugh Grant marries duck-face in Four Weddings and a Funeral. Maybe it was filmed there!?
vmlinnie
Broadway Legend
joined:6/19/06
Broadway Legend
joined:
6/19/06
Glendalough (Glen-Dah-Lock) is great, if you're into scenery. I've PMed you back, JordanGirl.
The rain we knew is a thing of the past -
deep-delving, dark, deliberate you would say
browsing on spire and bogland; but today
our sky-blue slates are steaming in the sun,
our yachts tinkling and dancing in the bay
like racehorses. We contemplate at last
shining windows, a future forbidden to no one.


Derek Mahon

"Maybe all one can do is hope to end up with the right regrets."

Arthur Miller
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jordangirl
Broadway Legend
joined:10/1/06
Broadway Legend
joined:
10/1/06
Scripps2 ~ Yep...they filmed part of Four Weddings and a Funeral at that church. Also The End of the Affair and a few others.

I thought the programme was worth it. It was like our glossy souvenier programs here in the States. Well, at Billy it was. At TVH I didn't get it because it was more a booklet of info on the actors and a copy of the script, and I've already got a copy of the script. And no, I didn't find it all that different from NYC. Like I said, I'm not sure if that was because Billy's got so many children in it or what. As far as non-musical plays, it seemed about the same.

vmlinnie ~ Got it. *headdesk* I knew that spelling was wrong when I did it. Blame it on jetlag and test prep. LOL. Thanks for the PM...I'll respond later tonight or tomorrow.
Experience live theater. Experience paintings. Experience books. Live, look and listen like artists! ~ imaginethis
LIVE THAT LESSON!!!!!!