Wednesday, 19 September 2012

London - Red Bus Tour, Blood Brothers

St Paul's Cathedral
We took advantage of some of our purchased treats today, starting with bus tours of London.

Leaving from Gloucester Rd (100m away), we took a route which goes west from the centre of London and includes all of the main museums. Reaching Picadilly, we swapped to the original tour and were treated to three hours around the city... on a tour that was planned for two! Roadworks and a huge traffic jam ate up the additional hour as the weather got cooler on the open top double decker. By the time it finished we were freezing.

Despite this, the second tour was an excellent way for us to make decisions about what we want to see more off. Westminster Abbey, St Pauls Cathedral, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and even the more modern buildings such as the Shard and The Gerkin were very impressive but unlike the prominent building in Paris, many are crowded out by their surrounds which detracts greatly from the magnificence of their architecture.

We stopped between Picadilly and Leicester Squares and as a last resort, had afternoon tea at a certain Scottish restaurant which proved too much for Sue.

Breaking our West End duck
We caught the train home and after an hour, caught it back again for dinner in the West End. It was a restaurant too good for the likes of us but the food was good and the service outstanding. We walked the remaining two hundred metres to the Phoenix Theatre and settled in for a production of Blood Brothers.

To say it was fantastic would be to master understatement. We knew the show - having seen Chris in it in Tamworth - but it still didn't prepare me for the ending. I had become so enmeshed in these boys lives, I cried as the last ten minutes of the second act ran down and sobbed as the boys died. Shredded, absolutely shredded I left the theatre in tears. The best production I've ever seen.

After beginning its current run at the Phoenix in 1991, it has shown continuously there since - more than ten thousand performances and the third longest running musical in West End history behind Les Miserable and Phantom of the Opera. I'm sad its ending but glad I saw it only a month before it finally closed. This present cast loses nothing to the famous players who have occupied roles in the past and their performances both individually and as an ensemble were superb.

Home without incident on the Tube.

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