Saturday was a very long day... we got the train at 8.55, arriving at 11.05 and then making our way straight to Holborn to meet up with thefleshfailure. Our first stop was Costa for a caffeine boost, then the Wetherspoon pub down the road for one drink.
We then Tube-hopped to Piccadilly, where I got us slightly lost on the wrong bit of Regent Street before navigating successfully to Carnaby Street and hence the theatre. We had a couple of drinks in O'Neill's until the show started, said our goodbyes to Eni and made our way to the show. The morning was very pleasant despite being somewhat rushed, and Eni got me a couple of books for my birthday, which were much appreciated. :)
We got to our seats in good time for the show, though for £35 they were quite far back and some of the front of the stage was hidden because we were on the right of the circle. It was quite strange to see Sound of Music on stage after seeing the film so many times, and I was intrigued as to how they were going to transfer the massive scale and scope of the film into adequate theatre sets.
There were only about five sets in total: a moving, oval-shaped piece which represented the mountains, the hallway of the Captain's house, the back garden, the nunnery, and also the concert hall - though that wasn't so much a set as a vast amount of Nazi flags... There was something of an oval motif going on, too, from the picture frame on the curtain to the windows in the Captain's house.
For me it was a very odd experience. I've only ever seen Sound of Music live once before, and that was a very long time ago and an amateur production by Quinton Operatics Society (my dad was playing Rolf, for some reason, despite being in his thirties at that point), so I can barely remember it. The film is so much a part of my childhood that it was very strange to hear it performed differently, not to mention the slightly different order to the songs. Also, Rolf had dark hair, which was a bit strange considering the direction his character takes...
The only downfall was the fact that three-quarters of the way through Act One, Paul and I had to sneak off to the loo, both being absolutely desperate for a wee. We snuck out during "How Can Love Survive" (a song not in the film, which comes just before the children meet the Baroness by falling into the lake) because I was trying to figure out when the interval might be and realising there was at least another 15 minutes to go until we could actually leave. It reached the point where we simply had to go, and so quickly and quietly moved during some applause. Thank goodness it was a matinee, otherwise we might not have managed to get back in.
On returning, we sat in some end-of-row seats which were free, a couple of rows back, then moved after the interval to the other side of the aisle to some other free seats. They were further back, but because they were in the middle the view was better. So really, it was for the good. :) (We both had to go AGAIN in the interval, too, which thankfully was 20 minutes long.)
The good thing about having to sneak out was that I didn't spend the Laendler sequence thinking about my bladder and was thus able to enjoy it better. :)
As for casting: Summer Strallen was good as Maria, with just the right level of tomboyish humour and a pleasant voice. The man playing the Captain used to be in Casualty and I think he may have had a cold, as he seemed to be struggling with the high notes. It was difficult to tell whether or not it was intentional, though, because there is always the fact that he wouldn't have sung for many years and would be out of practice... Also, the woman playing the Mother Abbess had over-dubbed Minnie Driver as Carlotta in the Phantom movie, so that was quite nice. :) (She was insanely bubbly, too.)
After the show, we went back to the foyer to pick up a programme and brochure, as we didn't get a chance on the way in... there's a separate entrance to get to the Upper Circle and nobody was selling any programmes that I could see, but luckily London theatres understand that people want to buy things after the show as well as before...
We took a ride in a rickshaw to Soho, and set about trying to find some food. Firstly, we stopped off in a tiny little pub somewhere which had show posters pasted to the ceiling, and eventually ended up eating at a little restaurant called Bistro, which was £9.90 per head for two courses. In a turn up for the books, I ate 90% of the salad which came with my starter (sautéd potatoes with crispy bacon) because the dressing was lovely. I attempted to eat a tomato but - as with fruit - the texture put me off. (I managed a couple of sun dried tomatoes in Stratford last week, and I'm okay with cooked tomatoes, but apparently not raw.) I had the steak for main - everything looked gorgeous and I just couldn't decide, so went for my usual - and Paul had a beef bourgignon. With the wine it came to about £35.00, really quite reasonable.
We had a bit more of a wander after that. I was slightly tipsy from the wine so most of the next hour is a bit woozy, but I remember we took a photo of the Chinatown gate and ended up at Leicester Square. We then (pointlessly) took the tube back to Piccadilly and had another drink there, before heading back to Marylebone.
We shared the train home with the noisiest girls in the world, who were playing (crap) music through one of their mobiles without actually listening to it, as they were just shrieking and laughing over it instead. Very annoying. I did get through a lot of my current novel though (reading Mark Haddon's A Spot of Bother) and Paul made a start on Schindler's Ark, which Eni had bought for me following a recent conversation.
Got back around half-past midnight, and despite being completely knackered I couldn't get to sleep until around 2.00am. Needless to say, we slept in on Sunday.
The photos (all 12 of them) are on Facebook but I think they're friends only... They're not that exciting.
On Sunday we popped up to visit Tor and the new baby, which mostly involved horror stories about the birth and trying to calm down the dog, who gets ridiculously excitable around people. Eventually she settled down on the sofa next to me, at least until the doorbell rang. I was supposed to make cakes for work but failed horribly, opting instead to slob about watching my soap and, later in the evening, Fantastic Four, which was brainless and amusing.
And today I am back at work, being regaled with stories of how Sandra has been useless all of last week. Hurrah.
This morning I discovered that - once again - choir is impinging on what little social life I have. I've planned a Hallowe'en Party / Movie Night for 1st November, and only somehow realised this morning that in fact, I have a joint rehearsal in Gloucester on that day. It should end at 4.00pm, and I believe they're laying on a coach, but it's still somewhat annoying. The next two and a half months are busy enough with concerts and Christmas, and I'm all for committing to rehearsals when they don't involve travelling all over the bloody place. Given the concert is two weeks after the joint rehearsal, it's a fairly important one to attend and I can't really get out of it...
I will change the time of the movie night to make it a little later, but will message all those attending to let them know...
I think I managed to fall asleep with my eyes open this morning... I know I was thinking about something, but the minutes between Moseley baths and the Adam and Eve pub are now a complete blank... I snapped out of it at the pub because Paul is meant to be having his birthday party thing there and needs to ring them up, and then I couldn't remember what I'd been thinking about before.
Before I lost track of my thought process, I was thinking about the fact that - obviously - the reason I've been feeling somewhat low recently (notwithstanding being bloody knackered the other week at work) is because I'm not getting any regular exercise any more. Alison and I stopped going swimming because it was getting more and more difficult to find a changing cubicle at Moseley baths, thanks to people turning up 45 minutes before the session started and us actually turning up, y'know, on time, like normal people. It was getting a little annoying, and Cocks Moor is too far / too late in the evening, so we stopped going.
If the adrenaline rush after I rode the bike back from Paul's mum's is anything to go by, I think I've proved how beneficial exercise is to your general mental state. Except I've also managed to prove that when you fall into a slump of not doing any exercise, you find yourself less and less inclined to actually do anything about it. I've had the bike a month now and it's been sitting in the back garden with its chain hanging off for all of that time. The weather has been okay for most of that month, and my only excuse is laziness. (Some of the blame can be laid on external factors - the weather, or Woolworths being shit when I tried to buy a bike off them - but even so, they're just excuses.)
All of my positive, life-changing new year's resolutions fell on their arse. I didn't join the gym, I didn't carry on going swimming, and I didn't learn to drive. As ever, this has been due to a lack of adequate funds and a general, pervading feeling of "What's the point?" I've been having that feeling more and more often of late, and it's the start of a vicious cycle of apathy. I even had the thought when finishing the final chapter of the Pirates fic, as I was extending a particular sentence. "What's the point?" I thought. "Nobody's going to care why I'm explaining that thought process." And I didn't bother. This extends into my other writing and it really annoys me because it saps all the pleasure I might have gained from the activity, whether I want to finish whatever I'm working on or not.
I've never written for other people, always for myself. That other people apparently enjoy what I write is neither here nor there - obviously the reviews and feedback are nice, but before I even knew about fanfiction or the online community around it, I only ever wrote for myself. When I start to wonder "What's the point?", it puts me back in that place where I found myself in 2005, and I don't really want to go there again.
I think this had a point when I started, but it seems to have run away.
End point: I am falling into a slump and am too apathetic to do anything about it, and so the cycle begins.
There may be some manner of birthday drinking on Saturday but I'll see how I feel on Wednesday. If I'm knackered by then, it's not happening. By all means, though, feel free to celebrate my birthday without me; it's not like I'll be the life of the party.
Things I need to do tonight:
1. Washing up / clean kitchen.
2. Re-pot plant from Lisa (birthday present) so it doesn't die like the last one.
3. Make cakes for work.
4. Have a shower.