[This post is reconstructed from semi-coherent posts and tweets on Facebook and Twitter. Social medial experts call it microblogging. I call it leaving a trail to remember I was there. If you forgot who or what Winston is, click here. If you want to read past installments click here.]
It’s not a good idea to rest my eyes for a second. I open them and realize I should have left already for the theater. I poke around my bag for the precious ticket alarming Winston. Confident I have everything, I rush to the Tube. I pelt fast see a waiting train -should I have turned left, not right? – and jump on it. Time looks good until the robotic voice calls out the wrong stop. Oh shit, I’m going on the wrong direction! Teeth gritted I jump off two stops further north and try to cross to the other side – except my Oyster card is confused and won’t let me through the turnstile. It insists I should continue north, not south. A kindly conductor spots my ditzy tourist self and sorts the situation. Finally my train arrives. Time is very tight; if I’m lucky I might get to Wyndham’s at 7:30 PM sharp. If I don’t, I won’t be let in until intermission. I can’t believe I got this ticket only to miss half the show? Damnit!
Winston sticks his head out of the bag in renewed vigor. Annoying little bugger.
The journey feels interminable. I swear my iPhone is slowing down just to spite me. I push through the horde of people to the turnstyle. Wait, where’s my Oyster card? I pat my pockets. Shit! I’m cursing aloud. I’m going to miss the show! I look up to see a conductor pushing towards me. He must have heard me because he opens the turnstile and points towards the stairs to Wynham’s. Oh thank you! I bound up the stairs and race into the theatre and down the hall as the third bell sounds. SHIT! I hold up my ticket; am I too late? The usher waves me through. Glancing over my shoulder to see how many are behind me, I see her stop some latecomers. Oh wow. Winston chuffs in disappointment. Heh, take that little bugger.
I’m quickly sorted out by another user and find myself seated in the 3rd row on the floor, dead center. My seatmate to the right is the lady from earlier in the day.
Woman: Hi, didn’t I see you this morning?
Me: Yes, you won the lottery ticket.
Woman: Well, it looks like you did too!
I’m stunned. Mr. Awesome must have given me a lottery ticket. I’m actually speechless. No matter, the lights drop and Much Ado About Nothing with David Tennant and Catherine Tate begins.
Since I didn’t have time to pick up a hearing device before the first act, I have some difficulty hearing the dialogue, but that doesn’t bother me. DT has my interest from the moment he drives onstage in a golf cart. The setting is early 1980’s Gibraltar. He plays Benedick. He and his crew serve in the navy. Catherine Tate plays, Beatrice, the niece of the Duke. The show played for all the laughs it can get and the audience is receptive. In the most modern version of Shakespeare I’ve ever seen, we are treated to discos, stag parties, blow up dolls, slapstick and covert sex. It’s right up my alley. DT does a brilliant job in the comedic role and frankly outshines Catherine Tate in her own specialty. Tomorrow, I’ll have my device for the entire show and will be a better judge in reviewing the performances. This was the purpose of my journey. It has been worth it.
I’m a very happy camper. SQUEE!
After the show, I head to the stage door. I already have DT’s autograph from Hamlet a few years ago, so I don’t need another. His fan forum wants footage of him and I’m there with my trusty iPhone. The crowd although pushy seems a bit more controlled than the ones in Stratford. I’m pressed but not beaten up. Making one of his fastest changes, he’s out and working the crowd. He’s one of the most considerate and sweetest celebrities I’ve ever seen when dealing with his fans. Although he’s no longer the Doctor on Doctor Who, he still takes special care with children.
It is a cool night but the rain stops by the time the autograph session is over. I head to Hagen Daz to for dessert. Leicester Square is a madhouse in the evening but it is invigorating to be out and about like this. I did some shopping, visited the London Transport Museum (one of my faves), and had a bit of dim sum in Chinatown. Not bad for my first full day in London.
NEXT: When two squees collide