Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Day 14 - From Tchaikovsky to Top Hat

Today we purchased evening tickets to the musical "Top Hat," then went on a quest.  The Daily Mail (newspaper) is giving away a free CD every day this week when you purchase their paper.  Unfortunately, our Tesco Metro did not receive a shipment of the Tchaikovsky CDs, so we first went to the W.H. Smith at Charing Cross.  They didn't have it either and suggested that we visit either a W.H. Smith or a Tesco on Oxford or Regent Street, but told us there was a Tesco at Trafalgar Square.  So, after a quick stop at Boots for some beauty products, we hoofed our way to the Tesco.  No luck.  Next stop the Oxford Street Plaza.

Oxford Street Plaza Shopping Centre
To get there we took a 24 bus to the Tottenham Court Road station, then walked back to Oxford Street half way to Oxford Circus to the Plaza.  Success.  Only a half hour trek for a free CD.  Not bad.  Now, how to get back?

Well, London offers lots of options to get from one place to another, but not all of them are direct.  Right in front of the Plaza was a bus stop for the #10 Bus to Kings Cross.  Kings Cross is a simple tube ride to Covent Garden.  So, we chose that route, except the first two #10 buses passed us by.  I was beginning to think we were looking a little disreputable when the third one stopped and picked us up.  We had a nice long ride along Oxford Street (major shopping street), then turned onto Tottenham Court Road to Euston Road, past the British Library and St. Pancras International to Kings Cross.  We were let off on the York Way side of the station, so we treked back to the Underground Station and thought we were home free.

Kings Cross Underground Station
But Kings Cross tube station is huge, and the station serves four different lines.  So the walk to the Picadilly Line is fairly extensive and the train was full of passengers when we arrived at Covent Garden, that means a lot of "sorries" and "excuse me's" as we push our way through to the exit.

Kings Cross Underground Map
We returned to the flat at six which gave us approximately a half-hour to eat dinner, but we decided to pick something up instead, since we have about a half-hour walk to the theatre. Most of the theatres are in walking distance from our flat, and the Aldwych is no exception.  We decided to stop along the way to grab a bite to eat. We were almost at the theatre when we happened upon Fratelli's Caffe on Aldwych.

Fratelli Caffe
We had our first "toasties" there.  Toasties are similar to paninis, which are grill pressed sandwiches.  I had a bacon toastie and hubby had a bacon and egg toastie.  Not bad, but a little dry, so he added ketchup to his.  Also English bacon is more like Canadian bacon than American bacon, still it is very flavorful and filling.

Aldwych Theatre
Since we were about 500 feet from theatre, we left fratelli's and went directly to our seats in the Dress Circle.  The Aldwych is an older theatre, with its first production held in 1905, so the seats are small.  However, its seating capacity is 1,200 on three levels, which means it's a fairly large auditorium.  The theatre was listed Grade II on 20 July 1971. A listed building may not be demolished, extended, or altered without special permission from the local planning authority, so it is protected.

The musical takes you back to the Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers movie era.  The sets were creative, the singing and dancing divine, however the plot is a little weak.  But those musicals were never intended to be deep on any level, so we enjoyed it exactly as it was intended to be enjoyed as Zoe Craig from the Londonist described it, “pure, fun, cheery escapist entertainment.”

After the show we walked back to the flat and settled down for the night.  Tomorrow we've got tickets at the Globe where we'll be standing "groundlings."  This will be an experience, I'm sure.  Night.

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