Sunday, 14 September 2008
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.
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.
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.