Hello musical lovers, one and all!
I have had several requests for a blog about my London trip at the start of June – although this may just be so that people can look at some of my photos, in particular, again!! So here goes!
Being a teacher, you have precious little time to yourself. So I decided that during our half term break, I would head back to my spiritutal home of London’s West End for a few days away from it all. This meant that I have been to London during every school holiday I have had during 2012 – is that sad?
I was staying out at Stratford – not far from the Olympic Park – so once I had found my way over (which was alot more interesting as a result of the Central Line being closed), I decided to head back into Central London to catch an evening show. I wasn’t picky about what I wanted to see, and had just decided to get the best ticket available. After alot of thinking, I decided to go for . . .
What a great decision this was! All I knew about the show was that it was based on a Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers film, so the old school glamour was fully expected. But I wasn’t expecting to come out with such a big smile on my face! Tom Chambers and Summer Strallen were spectacular in the two leading roles, and the big dance routines were so precise and on point. Ricardo Afonso was also absolutely hilarious! Highly recommended for all the family!
On to Day 2 – and 3 spectacular events!
Seeing a play was a little out there for me, and a London first – but it was totally worth it! This is one of the funniest things I have ever seen! Totally worth it as it was such a spectacular performance from the entire cast. Act 2 in particular was just phenomenal! (If you’ve seen the show, you will understand what I mean!)
That evening, I fulfilled a West End dream!
I had wanted to see War Horse for the past 2 years, but had never been able to get tickets! Luckily, I was able to get hold of the last ticket for this performance after seeing Joey pay his own tribute to the Queen during the Jubilee River Pageant – and I can honestly say this was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen! I mean, I had seen Joey on various TV shows over the years, but nothing can prepare you for seeing this show in person! I can’t wait to go back!
This trip also saw another first for me – and that was attending my first ever London gig!
Off Duty Thursday – as organised by David Thaxton – allowed musical theatre performers to come and play their own original material at the 12 Bar Club on Denmark Street on the first Thursday of every month. This was the first ever time this night had run – and what an amazing night it was!
I have to admit – I had only come to the show for one reason – and that was to see Hadley Fraser. I had been trying to meet Hadley since January 2012 and had missed/not seen him on 2 separate visits to the Queens Theatre.
I was determined that this trip I would finally get to meet him – and as I was already booked in at Queens for this week, this gig seemed like an additional opportunity.
More on Hadley in a minute – as I must give a massive shout out to Emily Lee and TwinnieLee Moore who were the other two acts on that night!
Believe me when I say – these are two amazingly talented ladies – and I loved all of the material they performed. They are definitely moving on to big things – so watch out for them!
Now back to Hadley! He had announced via his Twitter that he would be performing original material at this gig which would be on his debut album later this year (As if I needed any more reason to go to this gig!) I was very privileged to be there and got to hear some of his original material.
I just had the best time – and having Ali Broomfield and Rich Callegari with me just made it even better! We heard some great music, had loads of fun – and we got to say hi to Hadley, Rosalie Craig and Craig Mather after the show too! It was also very cool to spot Scott Garnham and Killian Donnelly there supporting the performers too!
It’s hard to believe that I was only up to Day 3 of my trip – and so much had happened already!
Day 3 was all about one show!
Now, I had been to see Wicked before – but this had the new cast, featuring Gina Beck and Matt Willis, and on my previous visit – I had missed Rachel Tucker, who was off on the day I went. So I knew I had to go back! And boy what a brilliant decision that was! Hearing Rachel Tucker sing “Defying Gravity” live was just magical and, as I had not seen Gina Beck in a performance before, she was also spectacular as Glinda.
By the way, Matt Willis can be my Fiyero any day of the week 🙂
Rachel Tucker was also a pleasure to meet at the Stage Door, although she did have to run off, so the meeting was very brief!
The final day brought lots of excitement! Not only was I going to see two fabulous shows – I was also going to spend the day with my lovely London lady Ali!!
Stop one – and what a way to start, was at the Adelphi Theatre!
Having only seen Michael Ball as Edna Turnblad in Hairspray, I knew this was going to be different – but it was just WOW! I loved everything about this show. It was a wonderful balance of the dark gothic side of the story – with the genius that is Imelda Staunton bringing the comedy to what could have been a very dark show! The music was great – and if you were concerned about the overly “gory” parts, you have nothing to worry about as they are played on just the right side of non-gory! I really recommend this show if you get the chance to go and see it before the end of September as Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton are backed up by an amazing cast – including the very lovely Luke Daly, who plays Anthony!
That evening was my final stop of the week – and what a stop it was!
It wouldn’t be a London trip without a visit to Queens! And this was particularly special as it would be the final time I would see the current cast (and my first ever Les Mis cast!) before the impending cast change the following week. This was also the night that I hoped to finally get my Hadley photo!
Needless to say, the show was nothing short of SPECTACULAR! Every element of it was brilliant and (I’m not just saying this!), I don’t think I have heard Hadley sound as good, especially during Stars! The end of the show came, and although I was a little sad knowing it was the last time I would see such a phenomenal cast, the fun was yet to come!
I was lucky enough to meet several members of the cast, including Liam Tamne (Enjorlas), Adam Linstead (Grantaire), Scott Garnham (Feuilly) and David Shannon (Jean Valjean).
But the best moment of the whole trip – hell, the whole of 2012, was the following photo –
It was lovely to be able to talk to Hadley about his Off Duty Thursday gig as well as the plans that he had post Les Mis. I also did my best to convince him to go outside of London for gigs to promote his album! When I told him I had waited 6 months to meet for him – he was shocked! I told him the story of the previous times I had been at Les Mis and missed him, to which he responded “We better get this photo right then, hadn’t we?” Cue me with a smile the size of a Cheshire Cat!
Not only that – when I told him that seeing his gig and meeting him was one of the best moments ever, and so worth the 6 month wait – he told me how sweet and lovely I was and GAVE ME A HUG!!!!!!! One of the best feelings ever – and a genuinely nice guy| who deserves all the success that I am sure is coming his way!
Yet another wicked trip – and would you believe (you probably would), I am already planning a post Olympics trip to go back!!!
Thanks for reading x
(All photos taken by and copyrighted to O.Edmonds)