The Ivy Market Grill, Covent Garden.

My second visit and review of this lovely central London restaurant. The weather outside was frightful but the Ivy was quite delightful! Warm and cosy with soft lighting and tastefully, Christmassly (not sure that is a real word and neither does auto correct!) decorated, a very pleasant evening was spent on a festive night out. A starter of creamed mushrooms on a bed of onion rosti, topped with a quail’s egg, a main of beautifully cooked lamb with mash and vegetables and creme brûlée for pudding which was so tasty I forgot to take a photo until my plate was empty! Thank you The Ivy Market Grill, you did not disappoint!

The Greatest Play in the History of The World, Trafalgar Studios, London.

Performed by Julie Hesmondhalgh and written by her husband, Ian Kershaw, this story telling epic was phenomenal. A one woman show that embraced you like a cosey duvet on a cold winters night. The telling of this tale took you back to a safe, warm, bedtime story cuddled up with a well loved parent who captivated your mind with wonder and ore. The script accentuated the beauty of the English language with poetic justice and the intimate venue involved the audience with a warm embrace. But what really made this play stand out was the last five or so minutes which reflected on what makes us human and special and unique. Not a dry eye in the house but you need to go along and see this beautiful play to understand why. Epic theatre thank you to both Julie Hesmondhalgh and Ian Kershaw.

R.S.Hispaniola restaurant and bar, on the Thames by Hungerford Bridge.

£35 per head bottomless brunch. Three courses and an hour of free flowing Prosecco. Food was well cooked and yummy. Prosecco indeed flowed freely for an hour. Views across the Thames to the London Eye meant you knew without a doubt that you were dining in old London Town. Good company and the perfect place to catch up with friends (Caroline’s smiling face makes a return to my blog 😊). The only negative is that being on a boat on a busy river like the Thames, you feel the constant motion that come with being on the water, especially when another vessel goes by!!! But unless you have very bad sea-legs this really wasn’t a problem just an interesting sensation. A very good time was had by all.

Ian McKellen on Stage, The Harold Pinter Theatre, London.

This great man is spending his 80th year, touring the country chatting about his life and sharing a multitude of monologues from a lifetime of stage and screen performances. Three hours listening to an old man whittle on doesn’t sound like an evening of theatrical entertainment but my goodness three hours was barely enough. Sir Ian is captivating. His audience were seemingly all big fans and to be honest he probably could have just sat there eating his supper and we still would have clapped! But he didn’t, he entertain us with tales of his life, journeying through his childhood and onwards through his colourful career. The first half was varied and of course shared with Gandalf and the second half concentrated on Shakespeare. There really is no better actor to bring the great Bard’s work to life while the audience listened in captivated silence. On top of this praise, Sir Ian remains a lovable, Lancaster lad with a cheeky grin and an abundance of energy. To finish off the night this humble man stood in the entrance foyer holding a charity bucket to the delight of the exiting crowd to ensure we would all dig deep and donate to the many charities this tour is supporting.
Sir Ian we love you 😘.

The Laramie Project, 3rd Year BA Acting Students, RADA.

I had the chance tonight to see the 3rd year BA Acting students at RADA perform in a powerful play depicting a true story in the words of those who lived through the ordeal. Performed in a small intimate space, where at times the actors were right by your side, as close as a conversation, this was an interesting theatrical experience and a fantastic showcase of talented young actors. First class.

Lungs at The Old Vic

I love The Old Vic and now that the full refurbishment is complete even the toilets get 10/10.
Lungs is an hour and 20 mins long with no interval and stars Claire Foy and Matt Smith.
The play consists of the two actors performing on a stage of square grids. It tells the tale of their relationship, initially as a couple but then how their relationship changes after a circumstance beyond their control consume their lives and leaves both of them responding in a different way. It is a tale of love and sadness but it is also very, very funny. Very dialogue heavy it is credit to the stars for remembering the script!! I really enjoyed this play and would recommend it to all.

Squeeze supported by Heaven 17 at O2 Indigo.

First time for me at this rather fab venue. I am a big fan of Squeeze and have been for many, many years and have seen them perform several times. However tonight they excelled themselves with an incredible performance of some rather good new material but more importantly with a catalogue of all the classics. They really are superb live and I had forgotten what incredible musicians they actually are. Their lyrics are always a great
song-along but their talent made the full two hours that they played an absolute pleasure to experience. The venue is great with standing on ground floor level and seats and rear standing upstairs. We edged are way downstairs to near the front and never felt trapped or squashed. Heaven 17 were the support act and were great fun to listen too and watch as they seemed to be having a ball. In conclusion one of the best gig nights out I have ever had. Thank you Squeeze you were amazing.

The Son, Duke of York Theatre, London.

A last minute booking as a half term night out for me and my son. A powerful drama about a teenager struggling with his mental health in a dysfunctional family who ignore his cries for help and erratic behaviour. Although to the audience the mental state of this young man is obvious, sadly the struggle for his family to see, want to see and acknowledge his plight is an all to familiar reflection of the real life of some. I know I promised no spoilers in my blog but in this case a short synopses of the plot seems a good introduction to anyone who may decide to go. Slightly over acted at times, however it also built up to a climax that left the audience watching in absolute silence, which is always a good indication that the director has got it right. Not the most uplifting play but nor is mental health so it is good to give it a stage and bring it into peoples thoughts. We need to listen to our young people especially when they go quiet. It is only on until 2nd Nov so if you do want to go don’t delay and there are some bargain tickets to be had.

Fame, The Peacock Theatre, London.

Umm…Fame! Being a big fan of the original film and it’s toe tapping soundtrack, I looked forward to reliving the 80’s and to hopefully enjoy a bit of a sing-along (as I wasn’t allowed to sing last night at Les Mis 🤭). Sadly I feel we were sold a bit of a lie! This musical phenomenon?!?!? (that’s what it says on the poster!) was based on the original film, although the rich posh girl wasn’t rich or posh and unbelievably in 2019 when so many shows and film/tv actively embrace the importance of inclusion, the gay guy for some reason wasn’t gay. But most disappointingly the only song from the original film was the title song!!!!! Maybe they couldn’t get the music rights but if this is the case please don’t sell it as Fame the Musical, sell it as Fame the Musical with a new soundtrack except for the title song so don’t expect to know the words!
The cast were young and I applaud any theatre that showcases young talent on a West End stage and they were all excellent dancers and the majority could also sing. At the end the cast did return to the stage for a final rendition of the title song and people did get up and clap along but there was an air of apathy in the audience by then and it felt that many were only clapping along to be polite. What makes a well loved musical transfer successfully from film to stage is the fact that the fans can see something they love presented on a new platform (Dirty Dancing and Grease are excellent examples of this!) Sorry but Fame sadly let us down.