Sunday, December 20, 2015

Sticker shock along Regent Street, and another great play

Before leaving home we checked the London weather, and packed what we thought were appropriate clothes. However, we weren't prepared for a change in the forecast with temperatures hitting 15 degrees Celsius. The skating rink outside the British Museum began to look like a giant puddle. Every shop we went in had their winter heat on making shopping very uncomfortable. With all this in mind we set off to explore Waterstones. It is a real pleasure for us to go to an English bookshop and actually pick up books and look at them deciding if they would make our book shopping list. We started in the basement with an espresso and scone and worked our way up to the top floor for a strange brown-coloured leek and potato soup. Our trip there was very successful as we ended up with quite a list of books.

Since we had walked up Regent Street last night when all the shops were closed we decided to take the same walk during the day. After all, there were lots of sales going on. We stopped in Kit and Ace, a new Vancouver-based store to admire their cashmere clothes also enjoying a chat with one of the staff who came from Vancouver. As we looked around more stores we were completely staggered by the outrageous prices. We know the same stores in Europe are cheaper and have much better sales. Our shopping trip amounted to a t-shirt from Jaeger's quite good moving sale. Wandering down one of the streets behind Regent Street we stopped for a mulled wine and today's mince tart — for a staggering $29 CAD. We found much of the food really expensive and not very good.

This evening we were off to the Garrick Theatre to see Harlequinade in which a classical theatre company attempts to produce Romeo and Juliet. The intrigues and dalliances of the company members are accidentally revealed with increasingly chaotic and hysterical consequences. Kenneth Branagh played the lead role of actor-manager Arthur Gosport. The strong cast included Zoe Wannamaker and several people we recognized from TV shows. Zoe Wannamaker played a very funny Dame Maud.

In addition to playing Dame Maud in Harlequinade, ZoĆ« Wanamaker performed Terence Rattigan’s dramatic monologue All On Her Own, which has never before played in the West End. In this brief  play, which was staged prior to Harlequinade, a woman with a secret, alone at midnight in London has a burden to share, fueled by much alcohol, that is at times both heart-breaking and sinister. It was a very powerful play.

We enjoyed seeing both plays very much.

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