Monday, 30 September 2019

Ballet Preljocaj - La Fresque

Tonight, I was back with Up in the Cheap Seats (UITCS) for Ballet Preljocaj - La Fresque at Sadler's Wells. And this evening, the organiser messaged us to say, if we got a call from the theatre, pick up - she just got an upgrade! She also suggested we could ask at the box office. So, you know, I politely emailed them, said my friend had been upgraded to the stalls and could I be as well, if it wasn't too much trouble? Within the hour, I had a central seat in Row D. Which turned out to be the furthest forward of any of the group. :-) Mind you, Row F - where she was - had the premium seats.. I think we all did well. Certainly, face value of my new seat was £40 (I paid £15).

I could have walked, but left it a bit late - and anyway, it was pouring rain. So I took the bus. Got my replacement ticket at the box office, and looked around for the others. We'd originally arranged to meet at the top level bar, since we had all booked up there - but of course, everyone ended up being upgraded. And just as I had visions of having to climb all the way up there to meet them - lo, down they came! Perfect timing. And we chatted away before going in, and having the luxury of hardly any steps to climb.



Yes, this is the un-zoomed-in version of that teeny red rectangle that generally appears in my Sadler's Wells photos. Nice, innit? So, I settled in - and spent the better part of the next 10 minutes trying to get my phone to turn off. Blasted updates always mess it up.. I finally just turned it to silent and placed it in my bag. Upside down. Where it didn't bother me, or anyone else.

This piece is about 90 minutes, straight through - as someone said, what a lot of dancing! And it's visually stunning throughout, with a catchy, rock theme. Strands swirl and twirl on the screen as the dancers mimic the action, and a central story involves a couple of travellers, who arrive at a temple, seem to have a bit of a fracas with some monks, and then one becomes entranced by one of the women in a fresco.. who duly comes to life! Watch out for the scary guards who come to break up the lovers though - in a truly impressive sequence, one becomes three, and they're most intimidating. It's a bit blinding though, if you're sat directly facing it.

A terrific show - we couldn't believe there was little enough interest for the theatre to be offering upgrades. Runs till Wednesday - highly recommended. You might even get an upgrade..! My phone finally started to behave.. And yes, it was still raining when we came out - dodging puddles that traffic was splashing onto pedestrians was the game of the evening. But hey, on the plus side, when I got home, my dvd of Akram Khan's Giselle had arrived..! Jeez, that's two great Sadler's Wells shows in a row - no wonder I keep coming back to these! Indeed, members of the group were scouring the programme of upcoming events before we left the theatre!

Tomorrow, we have a slightly delayed September social for ex-employees (and current, if they want) of the company I last worked for - Ivan was away till yesterday, and of course I was busy tonight. So, tomorrow we're headed to Imperial China - the new Chinese restaurant I discovered via Civilised London (CL). Booked for six people, it probably won't exceed that. Getting an answer out of people is predictably difficult.

On Wednesday, I'm headed to The Merry Wives of Windsor, at the Globe.

On Thursday, I'm back with CL - this should be interesting. Red Palace is an immersive cabaret experience - lots of fairytale characters, I believe - at the Vaults. And I really hope the weather is ok, because I sourced the most fantastic outfit for it..! Last night, someone from the group took the trouble to read the T&Cs - fair play her! - and realised that we have to wear masks. Damnit, and I have one from Venice that would have done perfectly! except it's back in Ireland. Ah well, they'll have cheap ones for sale on the door - just hope I don't freeze, what with this hurricane that's headed this way.. Then I'm back to Ireland for the weekend - the start of another brief hiatus from Meetup.

Next Monday, I'm off to Shushkin's Stories, at the Barbican. Performed in Russian, with English surtitles, it's a dramatisation of the short stories of Vasily Shushkin.

On the 8th, off to Wilton's, for Lady of Jazz.

On the 9th, heading to the Turbine Theatre, for Torch Song. This is the inaugural show at the new theatre in the revamped Battersea Power Station!

On the 10th, back with Meetup - North London Friends is off to A History of Water in the Middle East, at the Royal Court. Another where I got my ticket from the organiser.

On the 11th, back with UITCS - to Southwark Playhouse this time, for Preludes. D' you know, I bought their passport a while ago, which entitles you to cheap tickets to five shows - and of the last three I booked, something else came up for every single one! Hope I make this one.. reports of it being "weird" don't phase me in the slightest!

On the 12th, seeing the matinee of Solaris at the Lyric Hammersmith. Turns out that both UITCS and Love London Theatre, Arts, Music & Stuff (LLTAMS) are going - so I booked with both! Why not? Each requires you to buy your own ticket. And since only the organiser and I are going from LLTAMS, I hope we can merge..

On the 13th, joining the London Improvisation Community Group for the first time - they have a show called Happily Never After at the Pleasance - part of the London Horror Festival.

On the 14th, I'm seeing Mother of Him, at the Park.

On the 15th, UITCS is off to the Albert Hall for Symphonic Queen - the Royal Philharmonic is performing Queen.

Then begins a long period of non-Meetup stuff. On the 16th, I'm heading to the ballet Manon, at the Opera House.

On the 17th, the Crick Crack Club (CCC) is back at Rich Mix, with MelusineTUUP is the headliner on this occasion, which should be terrific!

On the 18th, Helen's in town, heading to a Midge Ure concert at the Palladium - we're meeting for dinner beforehand. Now, that's the day I should be flying back to Ireland - so I'm going the next day instead. And with my mother's birthday during the week - and not having any major holidays booked - I said, why not just take the week off and spend it in Ireland? So I am.

On the 28th, the CCC is back again - Ben Haggarty is in Soho Theatre with Grim Grimms - a dark take on fairytales, highlighting four lesser-known tales of the brothers Grimm. With musical accompaniment. Tickets weren't available when I noted this in my calendar - they are now, and will likely sell out.

On the 29th, I'm trying to persuade the aforementioned social group from my former company to come with me to a Design My Night event - Fright Night Cinema is showing Hallowe'en in the Rivoli ballroom, with a themed cocktail bar and people dressed in spooky costumes. Now, that sounds like fun..

On the 30th of next month, back with Meetup at last - UITCS is at a mixed programme by Birmingham Royal Ballet, at Sadler's Wells. I've seen part of it before, and it's excellent.

And for Hallowe'en, The Embers Collective stepped up to the plate, with a storytelling performance called Witch, at The Jago.

Sunday, 29 September 2019

Film: Babysplitters

Today was film. What came up top was - appropriately for the weather - something for the last day of the Raindance Festival, at the Vue Piccadilly. Booking seems to be on the Raindance website, rather than the Vue's - tickets with Eventbrite. And I went to Babysplitters - a comedy about two couples who can't decide whether they want a baby, so decide to have one they can split amongst them all! Since tickets were only available until yesterday, I'd have had to book anyway - so I just went ahead and booked straight away.

Took the bus in plenty of time. The weather was a lot worse in the West End - I got off to spitting rain. Which made it all the more impressive that so many had turned out in Trafalgar Square for the Japan Matsuri Festival.



By the time I'd made it to the cinema, it was bucketing down. The cinema was buzzing..


Brunch was a packet of Minstrels. I didn't know what screen my film was in, but a handy programme of the day's events flashed up on screen after a while - and an usher announced it when the screen was ready anyway. Seating was, of course, unassigned, and I sat myself fairly centrally - the place wasn't exactly jam-packed. Lovely, plush seats - the backs recline. And beforehand, somebody in charge introduced the writer / director, who'd apparently chosen this over the Vancouver Film Festival, which would've been a lot more convenient, and flown all the way over. And gee, he's flying back for work in the morning! Dedication.. he was also doing a Q+A afterwards.


Ah jeez, he needn't have bothered. In fact, he shouldn't have bothered making this. You know the expression "Two hours of my life I'll never get back"..? Yep. Too long, too ponderous. You could see things coming a mile off. The characters were bland and boring, the comedy slight enough that when the twists and turns started to come, instead of slotting into the story, they just seemed ridiculous! People around me laughed - I just groaned "What?!" And what a predictable ending. This strikes me as a straight-to-tv-movie (the quicker the better). The minute the credits started to roll, I legged it. Well, you can't believe everything you read on IMDB.

I fancied a Chinese, and decided to try Imperial China, where we're headed on Tuesday.


Last time I was here, I had very good dim sum, and very good wine, served as a large glass. After today's visit, I know a bit more about the place - phone reception is terrible, so people won't be able to contact anyone who's already there: the satay is really spicy: the rice is good, and the chicken tender: and I don't really like their kung po. Useful to know these things.

Boy, was I glad to get home - it's miserable out, windy and wet. Tomorrow, I'm back with Up in the Cheap Seats (UITCS) for Ballet Preljocaj - La Fresque at Sadler's Wells.

On Tuesday, we have a slightly delayed September social for ex-employees (and current, if they want) of the company I last worked for - Ivan is away till today sometime, and of course I'm busy tomorrow. So, on Tuesday we're headed to Imperial China - the new Chinese restaurant I discovered via Civilised London (CL). Booked for six people, it probably won't exceed that. Getting an answer out of people is predictably difficult.

On Wednesday, I'm headed to The Merry Wives of Windsor, at the Globe.

On Thursday, I'm back with CL - this should be interesting. Red Palace is an immersive cabaret experience - lots of fairytale characters, I believe - at the Vaults. And I really hope the weather is ok, because I sourced the most fantastic outfit for it..! Then I'm back to Ireland for the weekend - the start of another brief hiatus from Meetup.

On the 7th, I'm off to Shushkin's Stories, at the Barbican. Performed in Russian, with English surtitles, it's a dramatisation of the short stories of Vasily Shushkin.

On the 8th, off to Wilton's, for Lady of Jazz.

On the 9th, heading to the Turbine Theatre, for Torch Song. This is the inaugural show at the new theatre in the revamped Battersea Power Station!

On the 10th, back with Meetup - North London Friends is off to A History of Water in the Middle East, at the Royal Court. Another where I got my ticket from the organiser.

On the 11th, back with UITCS - to Southwark Playhouse this time, for Preludes. D' you know, I bought their passport a while ago, which entitles you to cheap tickets to five shows - and of the last three I booked, something else came up for every single one! Hope I make this one..

On the 12th, seeing the matinee of Solaris at the Lyric Hammersmith. Turns out that both UITCS and Love London Theatre, Arts, Music & Stuff (LLTAMS) are going - so I booked with both! Why not? Each requires you to buy your own ticket. And since only the organiser and I are going from LLTAMS, I hope we can merge..

On the 13th, joining the London Improvisation Community Group for the first time - they have a show called Happily Never After at the Pleasance - part of the London Horror Festival.

On the 14th, I'm seeing Mother of Him, at the Park.

On the 15th, UITCS is off to the Albert Hall for Symphonic Queen - the Royal Philharmonic is performing Queen.

Then begins a long period of non-Meetup stuff. On the 16th, I'm heading to the ballet Manon, at the Opera House.

On the 17th, the Crick Crack Club (CCC) is back at Rich Mix, with MelusineTUUP is the headliner on this occasion, which should be terrific!

On the 18th, Helen's in town, heading to a Midge Ure concert at the Palladium - we're meeting for dinner beforehand. Now, that's the day I should be flying back to Ireland - so I'm going the next day instead. And with my mother's birthday during the week - and not having any major holidays booked - I said, why not just take the week off and spend it in Ireland? So I am.

On the 28th, the CCC is back again - Ben Haggarty is in Soho Theatre with Grim Grimms - a dark take on fairytales, highlighting four lesser-known tales of the brothers Grimm. With musical accompaniment. Tickets weren't available when I noted this in my calendar - they are now, and will likely sell out.

On the 29th of next month, I'm trying to persuade the aforementioned social group from my former company to come with me to a Design My Night event - Fright Night Cinema is showing Hallowe'en in the Rivoli ballroom, with a themed cocktail bar and people dressed in spooky costumes. Now, that sounds like fun..

On the 30th of next month, back with Meetup at last - UITCS is at a mixed programme by Birmingham Royal Ballet, at Sadler's Wells. I've seen part of it before, and it's excellent.

And for Hallowe'en, The Embers Collective stepped up to the plate, with a storytelling performance called Witch, at The Jago.

Saturday, 28 September 2019

Plays: Glass. Kill. Bluebeard. Imp. & Concert: Concertante

Today, I booked for the matinee of Glass. Kill. Bluebeard. Imp. at the Royal Court. Excellent review in Thursday's paper. And then Civilised London (CL) organised an outing to see London Concertante perform the Four Seasons at Southwark Cathedral. What the hey, I figured I could make both! It's ages since I last heard it, in fact.. and it'd be a nostalgic trip for me, as my very first Meetup with the Man with the Hat was to listen to Concertante in Southwark Cathedral. He's much missed.

Dragged myself out of bed - after a late blogging session - to catch the bus to Sloane Square. Good job I got out early though, what with the dreadful traffic on Strand, and the diversion (not advertised by TFL) - I had quite a job explaining to elderly, hearing-challenged passengers around me where we were and what was going on. In the end, I got there with 10 minutes to spare - just as well I hadn't cut it fine to leave! Handily enough, I was in the Circle - the middle level of the main theatre here, it's on ground level. So while I did have to climb down some steps, there weren't many. I was in the slips:



Comfy leather seats, decent legroom, and an ok view - you do miss the action in the near corner (I was fourth seat in). But that was mostly fine, and I just leaned for the bits I needed to.

Four short plays in rapid succession, they have no titles (as has happened here before) to tell you the names as you switch. The themes are quite obvious, though. In contrast to the aforementioned reviewer, my particular favourite was the first - Glass has four people playing on a lit, elevated ledge; they represent glass ornaments on a mantelpiece, having a series of conversations. I love the idea.

While they set up for Kill, you get a juggler to distract you while they hammer away behind the curtain. Fair play to her, the smile never faltered - despite her dropping the clubs three times, once into the front row, where a nice man handed it back to her. When she heads off, the curtain opens to reveal a chap sat on a wispy cloud. This turns out to be a Greco-Roman god, musing on the shenanigans of the mortals down below, and constantly reminding us that the humans invented the gods, and "we don't exist". Quite matter-of-fact about it, he is. Lights a cigarette whose smoke merges with the cloud wisps. And has quite an hilarious speech to make about a convoluted proverbial Greek tragedy, and which bits of it the gods approve of, and which they don't.

More circus performance between plays - nothing was dropped the second time, though. The final piece before the interval is Bluebeard, where a number of Bluebeard's friends gather in shock after all his nefarious actions are revealed, to discuss what happened, and the fallout, and to reiterate how they had no idea! Mind you, there's opportunity in misfortune..

After the interval, we get Imp, where an elderly couple - cousins - get visits from a young relative, and another young chap who comes into their lives. Brightens the day for them y'know? But one of the cousins has this thing about this empty wine bottle she keeps to the side - seems it has an imp in it, which she can turn to for wishes when all else fails. Just as well..

Very interesting, recommended. Runs till the 12th - sold out for the run though, apart from those cheap Monday tickets, which are released on the day.

I was fainting with hunger by the time it finished - I hadn't had time to eat before I came out, and I'd checked at the interval, but all they had in the bar were odd nuts, and odder flavoured crisps. I didn't think I'd have time to order from the kitchen during the interval. And I didn't even have enough cash on me for an ice cream! so I went hungry till the end. I had seen a Cote across the square, though - I hadn't known there was a Cote here! It doesn't look big from the front, but they have a huge space at the rear - and boy, was I served fast. Well, you can expect that from the plats rapides. And despite the waiter's dessert suggestions, I knew exactly what I wanted - the coupe noire as they do it here is how it should be done: ice cream, with a separate jug of steaming chocolate sauce, with which you can douse it as you wish. I used absolutely as much as I could get out of the jug.. heaven.

Two buses to get me to Southwark Cathedral - and had I realised, upon coming down the steps from the main street, I could have just turned right under the bridge for the entrance! instead of walking all the way around. Ah well. I still got there first of the group. I'd booked with Time Out, who had an offer (oops, sorry, forgot to mention that!) - anyway, it included a free programme and cd! V nice. The others weren't far behind me, and we all schlepped in together for a quick look around the cathedral. Oh, and I blithely ignored the £2 photography permit. ;-)


 


I had a side seat - pretty close to where I was before, actually! Couldn't see much - but if I wanted a close-up of the performers, they did come to and from the dressing rooms very close to me.



Well, how reassuring to see that the jokes haven't changed! The first half was different musically from the usual, though, with a Mendelssohn piece that wasn't listed in the programme, and a Dvořák. But for me, the Four Seasons of the second half was the star of the show - it's weeks since I was at a classical concert, and years since I heard anything of the Four Seasons. As for the full thing..? No idea.. And you do forget how powerful it is. In such a beautiful venue too, it was a memorable evening.

And lo, we repaired afterwards to The Thameside Inn, where the Man in the Hat also took us on that first night. Where we had a lovely chat.. and some moreish chilli puffs. Ooh yeah, a new addition to my list of favourites.. So, glad I came. Walked home afterwards - the rain wasn't that bad.

Tomorrow is film. What came up top was - appropriately for the weather - something for the last day of the Raindance Festival, at the Vue Piccadilly. Booking seems to be on the Raindance website, rather than the Vue's - tickets with Eventbrite. And I'm going to Babysplitters - a comedy about two couples who can't decide whether they want a baby, so decide to have one they can split amongst them all! Since tickets were only available until today, I'd have had to book anyway - so I just went ahead and booked straight away.

On Monday, I'm back with Up in the Cheap Seats (UITCS) for Ballet Preljocaj - La Fresque at Sadler's Wells.

On Tuesday, we have a slightly delayed September social for ex-employees (and current, if they want) of the company I last worked for - Ivan is away till tomorrow, and of course I'm busy on Monday. So, on Tuesday we're headed to Imperial China - the new Chinese restaurant I discovered via CL. Booked for six people, it probably won't exceed that. Getting an answer out of people is predictably difficult.

On Wednesday, I'm headed to The Merry Wives of Windsor, at the Globe.

On Thursday, I'm back with CL - this should be interesting. Red Palace is an immersive cabaret experience - lots of fairytale characters, I believe - at the Vaults. And I really hope the weather is ok, because I sourced the most fantastic outfit for it..! Then I'm back to Ireland for the weekend - the start of another brief hiatus from Meetup.

On the 7th, I'm off to Shushkin's Stories, at the Barbican. Performed in Russian, with English surtitles, it's a dramatisation of the short stories of Vasily Shushkin.

On the 8th, off to Wilton's, for Lady of Jazz.

On the 9th, heading to the Turbine Theatre, for Torch Song. This is the inaugural show at the new theatre in the revamped Battersea Power Station!

On the 10th, back with Meetup - North London Friends is off to A History of Water in the Middle East, at the Royal Court. Another where I got my ticket from the organiser.

On the 11th, back with UITCS - to Southwark Playhouse this time, for Preludes. D' you know, I bought their passport a while ago, which entitles you to cheap tickets to five shows - and of the last three I booked, something else came up for every single one! Hope I make this one..

On the 12th, seeing the matinee of Solaris at the Lyric Hammersmith. Turns out that both UITCS and Love London Theatre, Arts, Music & Stuff (LLTAMS) are going - so I booked with both! Why not? Each requires you to buy your own ticket. And since only the organiser and I are going from LLTAMS, I hope we can merge..

On the 13th, joining the London Improvisation Community Group for the first time - they have a show called Happily Never After at the Pleasance - part of the London Horror Festival.

On the 14th, I'm seeing Mother of Him, at the Park.

On the 15th, UITCS is off to the Albert Hall for Symphonic Queen - the Royal Philharmonic is performing Queen.

Then begins a long period of non-Meetup stuff. On the 16th, I'm heading to the ballet Manon, at the Opera House.

On the 17th, the Crick Crack Club (CCC) is back at Rich Mix, with MelusineTUUP is the headliner on this occasion, which should be terrific!

On the 18th, Helen's in town, heading to a Midge Ure concert at the Palladium - we're meeting for dinner beforehand. Now, that's the day I should be flying back to Ireland - so I'm going the next day instead. And with my mother's birthday during the week - and not having any major holidays booked - I said, why not just take the week off and spend it in Ireland? So I am.

On the 28th of next month, the CCC is back again - Ben Haggarty is in Soho Theatre with Grim Grimms - a dark take on fairytales, highlighting four lesser-known tales of the brothers Grimm. With musical accompaniment. Tickets weren't available when I noted this in my calendar - they are now, and will likely sell out.

On the 29th of next month, I'm trying to persuade the aforementioned social group from my former company to come with me to a Design My Night event - Fright Night Cinema is showing Hallowe'en in the Rivoli ballroom, with a themed cocktail bar and people dressed in spooky costumes. Now, that sounds like fun..

On the 30th of next month, back with Meetup at last - UITCS is at a mixed programme by Birmingham Royal Ballet, at Sadler's Wells. I've seen part of it before, and it's excellent.

And for Hallowe'en, The Embers Collective stepped up to the plate, with a storytelling performance called Witch, at The Jago.

Friday, 27 September 2019

Play: Our Lady of Kibeho

Tonight, Love London Theatre, Arts, Music & Stuff (LLTAMS) was at Our Lady of Kibeho, at the Theatre Royal Stratford. Ahah, I knew I'd booked something else with them! Another palaver with me having to check whether I could present the ticket on my phone - yes I could. I hoped I'd been around there enough now that I shouldn't get lost..!

I decided to take the bus, so left in time - I hoped - to arrive there at the agreed time. A very crowded bus it was too, so I was lucky when someone right beside where I was standing got off quite soon after I got on, and I nabbed a seat. It soon became an interesting journey though, when the centre doors refused to stay closed. This really delayed us everywhere we stopped, because of course the driver couldn't drive with them open - so we had to wait until the driver could manage to get them closed, after several attempts. He finally gave up, maybe 2/3 way through my journey, and made us all get off and onto the buses of the same route that were lined up behind us. Whereupon we made excellent time.

I got off at Stratford, of course - and promptly got lost. I dunno why I always think Google Maps is sending me to the wrong side of the station - which us why I started the arduous climb all the way up the steps (the escalators being out of order) to the footbridge. Happily, my previous experience was of use to me -  I was only halfway across when I realised I should have stayed where I was, and - swearing at myself - schlepped back the way I'd come. At least I managed the shortcut through Stratford Centre - just head for the middle, where a sign tells you which way to go!

I guess I'd wasted about five minutes. Anyway, in the theatre bar, our organiser was good enough to stick her arm conspicuously in the air so I could see her - she'd managed a table, so I sat with her; the others weren't in evidence. And we chatted until it was time to head in, where we found ourselves sitting in close proximity to the others of the group. And we remarked what great seats we had - Row B, it turns out, was the front row for tonight. And you have all the legroom you could wish! Where we admired the lush vegetation with which they'd decorated the theatre: on stage, we could just see a sparse room, a picture of the Sacred Heart on the wall. A surtitle explains, at the start, that we're at Kibeho College, in Rwanda - mind you, the one disadvantage of this row is that, being so close, although you can see the surtitles, you tend not to notice them through most of the performance.

 


The play describes the real-life events that occurred in the college, where a number of children reported seeing the Virgin Mary - three of these accounts were eventually approved by the local bishop (although the play has the Vatican send an investigator). As simple and as complicated as that. The plot isn't remarkable to those familiar with the phenomenon, and with films such as The Miracle of our Lady of Fatima: what makes this production stand out though is the sheer intensity of it, with utterly convincing acting, and some pretty spooky special effects!

It's completely absorbing - I couldn't pick a favourite part, but contenders include the girls' trances whenever they're experiencing visitations: the suppressed fury of the father of one of them, when he comes to chastise his daughter for practicing what he suspects is witchcraft: the stunning singing throughout. And let's not forget the most moving scene, when they predict bloodshed and mayhem - considering the massacres that happened in Rwanda, and in Kibeho specifically, after that. A real talking point - it'd come close to making a believer out of you! Runs till the 2nd of November - highly recommended.

Afterwards, it was kind of hard to hear each other over the dj in the bar - but as we yelled at each other, we discussed the play, the phenomenon, and well, whatever. Lucky enough to get a table, we stayed till we were done and they weren't serving any more drinks. And despite my bus sailing past as I was running for the stop, when I did finally get one, it flew through the sparse nighttime traffic. A truly enjoyable (and thought-provoking) evening.

Tomorrow, I booked for the matinee of Glass. Kill. Bluebeard. Imp. at the Royal Court. Excellent review in yesterday's paper. And then Civilised London (CL) organised an outing to see London Concertante perform the Four Seasons at Southwark Cathedral. What the hey, I figure I can make both! It's ages since I heard it, in fact.. and it'll be a nostalgic trip for me, as my very first Meetup with the Man with the Hat was to listen to Concertante in Southwark Cathedral. He's much missed.

Sunday is film. What came up top was - appropriately for the weather - something for the last day of the Raindance Festival, at the Vue Piccadilly. Booking seems to be on the Raindance website, rather than the Vue's - tickets with Eventbrite. And I'm going to Babysplitters - a comedy about two couples who can't decide whether they want a baby, so decide to have one they can split amongst them all! Since tickets are only available until tomorrow, I'd have had to book anyway - so I just went ahead and booked straight away.

On Monday, I'm back with Up in the Cheap Seats (UITCS) for Ballet Preljocaj - La Fresque at Sadler's Wells.

On Tuesday, we have a slightly delayed September social for ex-employees (and current, if they want) of the company I last worked for - Ivan is away till Sunday, and of course I'm busy on Monday. So, on Tuesday we're headed to Imperial China - the new Chinese restaurant I discovered via CL. Booked for six people, it probably won't exceed that. Getting an answer out of people is predictably difficult.

On Wednesday, I'm headed to The Merry Wives of Windsor, at the Globe.

On Thursday, I'm back with CL - this should be interesting. Red Palace is an immersive cabaret experience - lots of fairytale characters, I believe - at the Vaults. And I really hope the weather is ok, because I sourced the most fantastic outfit for it..! Then I'm back to Ireland for the weekend - the start of another brief hiatus from Meetup.

On the 7th, I'm off to Shushkin's Stories, at the Barbican. Performed in Russian, with English surtitles, it's a dramatisation of the short stories of Vasily Shushkin.

On the 8th, off to Wilton's, for Lady of Jazz.

On the 9th, heading to the Turbine Theatre, for Torch Song. This is the inaugural show at the new theatre in the revamped Battersea Power Station!

On the 10th, back with Meetup - North London Friends is off to A History of Water in the Middle East, at the Royal Court. Another where I got my ticket from the organiser.

On the 11th, back with UITCS - to Southwark Playhouse this time, for Preludes. D' you know, I bought their passport a while ago, which entitles you to cheap tickets to five shows - and of the last three I booked, something else came up for every single one! Hope I make this one..

On the 12th, seeing the matinee of Solaris at the Lyric Hammersmith. Turns out that both UITCS and LLTAMS are going - so I booked with both! Why not? Each requires you to buy your own ticket. And since only the organiser and I are going from LLTAMS, I hope we can merge..

On the 13th, joining the London Improvisation Community Group for the first time - they have a show called Happily Never After at the Pleasance - part of the London Horror Festival.

On the 14th, I'm seeing Mother of Him, at the Park.

On the 15th, UITCS is off to the Albert Hall for Symphonic Queen - the Royal Philharmonic is performing Queen.

Then begins a long period of non-Meetup stuff. On the 16th, I'm heading to the ballet Manon, at the Opera House.

On the 17th, the Crick Crack Club (CCC) is back at Rich Mix, with MelusineTUUP is the headliner on this occasion, which should be terrific!

On the 18th, Helen's in town, heading to a Midge Ure concert at the Palladium - we're meeting for dinner beforehand. Now, that's the day I should be flying back to Ireland - so I'm going the next day instead. And with my mother's birthday during the week - and not having any major holidays booked - I said, why not just take the week off and spend it in Ireland? So I am.

On the 28th of next month, the CCC is back again - Ben Haggarty is in Soho Theatre with Grim Grimms - a dark take on fairytales, highlighting four lesser-known tales of the brothers Grimm. With musical accompaniment. Tickets weren't available when I noted this in my calendar - they are now, and will likely sell out.

On the 29th of next month, I'm trying to persuade the aforementioned social group from my former company to come with me to a Design My Night event - Fright Night Cinema is showing Hallowe'en in the Rivoli ballroom, with a themed cocktail bar and people dressed in spooky costumes. Now, that sounds like fun..

On the 30th of next month, back with Meetup at last - UITCS is at a mixed programme by Birmingham Royal Ballet, at Sadler's Wells. I've seen part of it before, and it's excellent.

And for Hallowe'en, The Embers Collective stepped up to the plate, with a storytelling performance called Witch, at The Jago.

Play: Groan Ups

Last night, Up in the Cheap Seats (UITCS) was back with Groan Ups, at the Vaudeville. Another of those e-tickets that just says "print at home" - nothing about showing it on your phone. And again, my connection to the work printer isn't working - and, as usual, IT couldn't be bothered. It was easier just to ask the theatre whether it was ok to have it on my phone - and, as usual, they emailed back pretty quickly to say yes, that was just fine.

It was also just close enough to the office to walk - honestly, the bus wouldn't have been much quicker! Since the rain had stopped - for the day, as it turned out - off I set. And it was so entertaining, trying to cross at the lights - which were in my favour - while a whole stream of cyclists tried to cut through the pedestrians, not only running a red light that was against them, but dinging their bells at us as well, for having the temerity to be in their way! I really do think a lot of them don't actually know that they're supposed to obey any rules.. Next, I was squeezing past a continual stream of what looked like tour groups of teenagers. I'm not surprised people choose not to walk.


Finally, a cursory bag check, and a long climb of the stairs to the Upper Circle (Grand Circle) - I felt like I'd been through the mill by the time I got to the Grand Circle bar, where we were meeting. And I got a whole pack of people exclaiming that they hadn't seen me in an age! Mmm, well, read the archive - I do get around! Been doing a lot on my own, too, of course. One of the group, I last saw on the 3rd: another on the 30th: a couple more on the 2nd of last month: another couple on the 29th of July: and true for one of those who said it to me, I haven't seen her since the 15th of July! Ah well.. I always show up eventually.


So, not too restricted a view from the end of Row C in the top level - I did have to lean to the side every now and again, which was fine as the seat beside me was empty. And although I'd stumped for an aisle seat, legroom was ok too.

So, this is by the Mischief Theatre Company, which has some great comedic theatre under its belt. None of us really knew what to expect - so here's a brief overview. It starts as if you're in school assembly - then the curtain opens to reveal a schoolroom, everything oversized, indicating that our five heroes are teeny people. We get an opening scene there, then one with smaller furniture, and now they're teens, with teenage angst and romance on their minds. After the interval, they're back and all grown up, and reconvene in the classroom for a reunion.

In short, this improves as it goes on. The assembly bit at the very start didn't work much for me at all - but it's short. The scene with them as juniors is better (watch out for the hilarious description of what they did at the weekend, with one describing what daddy did with the cleaner), but it's when they're teens that you can get into more complicated themes, and it gets more interesting. Sure enough, it's in the second act that they get up to their full potential, with an eye-wateringly funny, madcap reunion scene. Reminds you why this company is so good!

Love the attention to detail, in particular - keep an eye out on stage, there's a lot of added extras. The characters' personalities are carried well through the whole span of the show - and jeez, I think we all agreed that the star of the show isn't even human! Runs till 1st December, recommended. And no hamsters were harmed in the making of this production. I think.

Afterwards, it was a short walk to the bus stop, and a long, long wait for the bus home - eight different ones stop there, and I swear, each of them came (several times) before mine! Anyway, it ran too late to blog last night.


Tonight, Love London Theatre, Arts, Music & Stuff (LLTAMS) is at Our Lady of Kibeho, at the Theatre Royal Stratford. Ahah, I knew I'd booked something else with them! Another palaver with me having to check whether I can present the ticket on my phone - yes I can. And perhaps I've been around there enough now that I shan't get lost..!

Tomorrow, I booked for the matinee of Glass. Kill. Bluebeard. Imp. at the Royal Court. Excellent review in yesterday's paper. And then Civilised London (CL) organised an outing to see London Concertante perform the Four Seasons at Southwark Cathedral. What the hey, I figure I can make both! It's ages since I heard it, in fact.. and it'll be a nostalgic trip for me, as my very first Meetup with the Man with the Hat was to listen to Concertante in Southwark Cathedral. He's much missed.

Sunday is film. What came up top was - appropriately for the weather - something for the last day of the Raindance Festival, at the Vue Piccadilly. Booking seems to be on the Raindance website, rather than the Vue's - tickets with Eventbrite. And I'm going to Babysplitters - a comedy about two couples who can't decide whether they want a baby, so decide to have one they can split amongst them all! Since tickets are only available until tomorrow, I'd have had to book anyway - so I just went ahead and booked straight away.

On Monday, I'm back with UITCS for Ballet Preljocaj - La Fresque at Sadler's Wells.

On Tuesday, we have a slightly delayed September social for ex-employees (and current, if they want) of the company I last worked for - Ivan is away till Sunday, and of course I'm busy on Monday. So, on Tuesday we're headed to Imperial China - the new Chinese restaurant I discovered via CL. Booked for six people, it probably won't exceed that. Getting an answer out of people is predictably difficult.

On Wednesday, I'm headed to The Merry Wives of Windsor, at the Globe.

On Thursday, I'm back with CL - this should be interesting. Red Palace is an immersive cabaret experience - lots of fairytale characters, I believe - at the Vaults. And I really hope the weather is ok, because I sourced the most fantastic outfit for it..! Then I'm back to Ireland for the weekend - the start of another brief hiatus from Meetup.

On the 7th, I'm off to Shushkin's Stories, at the Barbican. Performed in Russian, with English surtitles, it's a dramatisation of the short stories of Vasily Shushkin.

On the 8th, off to Wilton's, for Lady of Jazz.

On the 9th, heading to the Turbine Theatre, for Torch Song. This is the inaugural show at the new theatre in the revamped Battersea Power Station!

On the 10th, back with Meetup - North London Friends is off to A History of Water in the Middle East, at the Royal Court. Another where I got my ticket from the organiser.

On the 11th, back with UITCS - to Southwark Playhouse this time, for Preludes. D' you know, I bought their passport a while ago, which entitles you to cheap tickets to five shows - and of the last three I booked, something else came up for every single one! Hope I make this one..

On the 12th, seeing the matinee of Solaris at the Lyric Hammersmith. Turns out that both UITCS and LLTAMS are going - so I booked with both! Why not? Each requires you to buy your own ticket. And since only the organiser and I are going from LLTAMS, what it effectively means is that I'm slipping her into the UITCS group. What harm..

On the 13th, joining the London Improvisation Community Group for the first time - they have a show called Happily Never After at the Pleasance - part of the London Horror Festival.

On the 14th, I'm seeing Mother of Him, at the Park.

On the 15th, UITCS is off to the Albert Hall for Symphonic Queen - the Royal Philharmonic is performing Queen.

Then begins a long period of non-Meetup stuff. On the 16th, I'm heading to the ballet Manon, at the Opera House.

On the 17th, the Crick Crack Club (CCC) is back at Rich Mix, with Melusine. TUUP is the headliner on this occasion, which should be terrific!

On the 18th, Helen's in town, heading to a Midge Ure concert at the Palladium - we're meeting for dinner beforehand. Now, that's the day I should be flying back to Ireland - so I'm going the next day instead. And with my mother's birthday during the week - and not having any major holidays booked - I said, why not just take the week off and spend it in Ireland? So I am.

On the 28th of next month, the CCC is back again - Ben Haggarty is in Soho Theatre with Grim Grimms - a dark take on fairytales, highlighting four lesser-known tales of the brothers Grimm. With musical accompaniment. Tickets weren't available when I noted this in my calendar - they are now, and will likely sell out.

On the 29th of next month, I'm trying to persuade the aforementioned social group from my former company to come with me to a Design My Night event - Fright Night Cinema is showing Hallowe'en in the Rivoli ballroom, with a themed cocktail bar and people dressed in spooky costumes. Now, that sounds like fun..

On the 30th of next month, back with Meetup at last - UITCS is at a mixed programme by Birmingham Royal Ballet, at Sadler's Wells. I've seen part of it before, and it's excellent.

And for Hallowe'en, The Embers Collective stepped up to the plate, with a storytelling performance called Witch, at The Jago.