Sunday, 14 September 2008

Lion King, The Lyceum & Andrew



I’ve promised a few people that I’d write a post about our visit to The Lyceum Theatre to see Lion King while we were in London a couple of weekends ago so here goes. It’s perhaps not quite the story you’re expecting though.

The day started out bad. We were stuck in traffic, had to dash about to find a dress for LM to wear, and get something to eat. We’d had nothing since breakfast and as my mum had given us the money to go and get a decent meal on her, we wanted to find a nice restaurant. Could we find one? Not on your nelly!

London’s splitting at the seams with pubs and restaurants but along our route from Stratford to Central London via Bethnal Green, Mile End and Aldgate, there wasn’t much to get excited about. Well, there were plenty of Indian, Chinese, Thai, Caribbean & Italian restaurants but we wanted English food. Not that we have anything against ethnic food, we'd just made up our minds, that's all. In the end we decided to settle for a pub meal but even that went wrong. The waiting time was too long for us to be able to eat and get to the theatre on time, so we upped and went again.

We parked up close-ish to the Lyceum and headed for the theatre via an Italian restaurant where we booked a table for after the show. By this time we’d given up on English food. Once that was sorted, we joined the theatre queue. A long queue. Oh dear… and on legs that already hurt from walking the 200 meters from the car. But it moved surprisingly quickly so I was feeling more optimistic when I walked inside only to be faced with at least 100 stairs up to the Circle.

WHAAAAAT!!!???

I couldn’t believe it. Where were the lifts? Out of action, I was told.

How I ever got up those stairs will forever remain a mystery to me. My legs were hurting, my heart was beating so hard it felt as though I’d have a heart attack at any moment, my chest was hurting, my back hurt… I was, to say the least, a bit of a sorry sight. But I got up ‘em through sheer stubbornness. I’d paid £35 for that ticket and I’m was blowed if I was going to waste it!

We managed to find our seats easily enough but half way through the performance I needed the loo. That meant climbing back up the 20 or so steps to the back of circle again but I figured it was better to do that than pee myself. Well… you would, wouldn’t you? What I didn’t realise is that once you got beyond the door marked ‘toilets’, there were another 6 flights of stairs heading down to them. I stood at the top, wondering whether I’d be able to hold it for the rest of the performance and go on the way out. No, I knew I couldn’t. I had to tackle those stairs.

Getting down was relatively easy but once I’d relieved myself came the task of getting up them again. By the last flight I was counting them. Just three more… just two more… just….. ARGGHHHH!

My legs gave way and I went head first into the concrete wall. As I went down my lower knee hit against the metal edge of the stair pushing my knee cap up and I soon found myself laying spread-eagled on the landing in considerable pain.

Enter Andrew.

Help was called for (thanks to a young girl who happened to be standing on the landing at the time) and Andrew, a young Australian guy, appeared. And what a wonderful bloke he was! He had somebody bring me an ice-pack, sent somebody else to find my daughter for me, and once the worse of the pain had subsided, helped me get down to the stalls where he found us seats at the back (it was a full house so he had to bring in two chairs especially) and did everything he could to make sure I was comfortable. At the end of the performance he came back, waited with me until my daughter had brought the car round, helped me get out of the place and then cleared the area outside of rik-shaw people so that LM could bring the car right up to the main entrance.

I’ve just emailed The Lyceum praising Andrew for the way he helped me. He really did go beyond what I would have expected.

Anyway we go home, still starving but too late and too tired to get anything so had to make do with a take-away pizza for lunch the next day. It wasn’t quite the same. What's more, we'd been given a parking ticket because, unknown to me, my blue badge isn't valid for parking other than in designated disabled spaces in the City of Westminster. Buggar! Another £60 to fork out.

As for the show itself, if you’re ever in London and want to see a good musical, I’d definitely recommend Lion King. It’s different to anything I’ve ever seen before. I’m still amazed at how they’ve managed to re-create such a complex story in such a simple but unique and artistically challenging way.

Sharon J

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7 comments:

emmani said...

I can't image how you feel when dealing with the outside world... You are a brave and courageous woman Sharon!!

As for the Lion King...I cried at the opening song! My mums wonderful partner is from Ethiopia, so I really 'felt' it from his POV...

Chris said...

Glad the show was worth it Sharon!

Hope they will now see they need to get their act together repairing the lift!

Hope your knee is OK?

Chris

Pink Bunny Ears said...

oh love....your strength is amazing! and inspiring!

i am so glad that you sent kudos to andrew...so glad that there are people like this still left in the world!

what an ordeal eh? but god...you amaze!

o

WebSmith said...

I have an 80 year old friend on Long Island who experienced pretty much the same thing only it was at a wedding that she asked me to escort her to.

She walks with a cane or walker and after negotiating the stairs up to the terrace and wedding from the lobby one at a time, she had to go with some urgency right after the ceremony. If you try to help her, she starts cursing you and swinging at you with her cane.

After she got back down to the lobby, she found out that she had to negotiate another fill flight of granite stairs down to the bathroom. After about the 3rd step, she fell the rest of the way down and knocked herself out. Then, while she was out cold, she peed herself. When she came to in the ambulance, she said, "At least I was spared the embarrassment".

She then wanted to know what I was doing in the ambulance and if I had fallen as well. I said that they had offered me a free ride and I took them up on it. She told me I was stupid because I was going to need my car to get her and me home.

"What a glorious wedding", she said.

Sharon J said...

@ Emmani. Thanks for your kindness but there was really nothing brave about it. I was stuck in a situation and just had to grin and bear it, like it or not. As for the opening song, how can anybody not be effected by it? I can still remember how awe-struck the whole family were back in the day when we first saw it at the cinema. It was just as amazing on stage :)

@ Chris. Me too. It would've been poo if the show had been rubbish. The lifts weren't actually broken, they were being used as part of the performance apparently because some of the actors appear in the boxes at the start.

@ Pink Bunny Ears. I'm glad the ordeal was good for something :) Andrew definitely deserved kudos - I really can't praise him enough (and it's not every day I get to have my arms round a young, fit chap!)

@ Websmith. Your friend sounds pretty amazing. I do think attitude goes a long way.

Debi said...

Oh I missed this and only caught it via the link from the more recent post. I'm utterly outraged on your behalf!

I know you managed to get the parking ticket waived but I imagine your email to the Lyceum said a lot more than the praise for Andrew.

Did they make any attempt to defend the indefensible?

Hope you've recovered. xxx

Sharon J said...

Well I did tell them what I thought of the lifts being out of action. Apparently they were being used by the performers as they appeared from all over the place (boxes, circle, etc). Not a good enough excuse. The lifts are supposed to be for paying visitors, surely?

I never even received a reply.