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Final July Blog
07/22/12 @ 09:32:10 am, Categories: General, 454 words   English (US)

This is always the toughest part – being home again after a wonderful time in the UK. On Friday there were only four of us at the stage door so no going in photos. It was short and sweet and after a lovely dinner with our friends (albeit a bit rushed as the Ball was late going in – for our fan friends and himself we do dread the traffic situation in the week leading up to the Olympics, it’s bad enough as it is) we were back in the Adelphi for our last show of this trip. We tried to enjoy it even more than usual and remember every nuance of it for the next time we will be back it will be Tuesday of the final week. The mere idea of no more Sweeney is too depressing to ponder – a terrible shame that the show cannot be filmed due to copyright reasons.

Another great performance from everyone on stage. Feeling nostalgic we left the auditorium after the standing ovation and were back at the stage door. Quite a crowd plus all the club-goers. He was quick coming out (no celebrity guests for once) and completely took us by surprise when he stopped in front of us and asked about when we’d leave and would we see another show and basically was his charming self. Lovely chat, lovely hug - we left Maiden Lane on quite a high. One final stroll through the West End – no rain for once, it was a perfect last night.

Saturday we treated ourselves to a nice breakfast in Covent Garden, went to the stage door one last time (but as we had had our moment yesterday we stood in the back to take pics and film). All too soon he was in, the moment had come: we needed to head towards Heathrow Airport. It felt awful to walk past the Adelphi when everybody else went inside for the matinee performance and we had to collect our luggage and leave. The least favorite moment of the entire trip.

The journey home went okay and we would have uploaded the final stage door pics but Kerstin’s internet at home doesn’t work, but as soon as this is fixed the final photos will be online.

We will be back in London on 17 September (evening). And we have very mixed feelings about this trip: on the one hand it will be great to be back and see Sweeney again on the other hand this will be the final week – no more Mr Todd after that.

But we had a brilliant time – even with all the rain. Wonderful 10 days – thank you to everyone who had helped creating these special memories! :)

Thursday, 19 July 2012
07/20/12 @ 05:07:59 am, Categories: General, 769 words   English (US)

As we got up on Thursday morning we feared for the worst. Early weather forecasts predicted heavy rain, thunderstorms and gusts. Not very promising, when it comes to stage door-ing. This morning finally all that changed and we were promised grey skies, no rain and temperatures around 20 °C. Those living through this year’s British summer know that it won’t get much better (well it will, once we leave the country, but let’s not go there). So, the weather should be nearly perfect. Warm-ish, dry and so we got dressed accordingly, but just when we wanted to leave our flat it started to rain heavily. Great! We changed into a warmer gear and left our flat.

Come the time to move to the stage door we had lovely sunshine and it was basically brilliant weather. Perfect timing as for the first time within this trip we did not have to have our brollies at the ready. There was no danger of rain. And then Michael arrived and we were so lucky that he was not in a rush.

This meant we had the time to congratulate him for his fabulous performance on Wednesday night. In our humble opinion it was the best of his Sweeney performance we had seen so far. He was brilliant, scary, menacing, dangerous, moving. He just WAS Sweeney. Outstanding performances, matinee and evening actually.

There were a couple of things we had to give him, other things we wanted to ask him and silly things we wanted him to do. The pictures on our website are the result. No, that was not the look we received when he saw it was us again at the stage door (phew!), but merely what you get when you ask him to look “mean and moody”. (someone had commented on one of our photos along the lines that he would look mean and moody as he wasn’t smiling [for once] and we thought oooooh no, he would look very different then LOL) He kindly obliged. Thank you Mr. B. You are a real star.
So yes, it was just a bit of harmless fun and he was ever so generous with his time to agree to this quick photo shoot. He was ever so patient with us “silly little Ninnynoddles” (Who can name the song this line is from? Guess the quote anyone?).

We are spoilt now, yesterday was the perfect stage door. Today it will be raining, but who cares?

The show itself was once again amazing. They were all on top form and we truly believe it belongs within the top 5 of our performances, if not Top 3. His voice sounds much better than it did last week and how he manages that with 8 performances a week and recurring bouts of hay fever is just beyond us.

We keep having weird audiences. On Wednesday we had a group of children who were just about the minimum age for Sweeney. We were a bit doubtful if it was the right show for them. Fascinatingly the worst behaved of them was their accompanying adult, who kept getting the sweet bag out, taking one or two sweets (loudly chewing them), neatly folding the plastic bag again and putting it into his shirts pocket, munching loudly on his sweets, before starting the whole procedure again.
Then there were the ladies behind us, who kept commenting on everything that happened on stage as if they were watching television in their living room – and with the same volume, too. Therefore it’s hard to understand why one rather tall guy in front of us had to stand up to see who was lying on stage, when Sweeney asked “You knew my Lucy lived?. We mean, the ladies behind us were discussing the fact that it was the beggar woman quite loudly and yet he had to stand up to make absolutely sure…we do live in a visual society apparently. Pointless manoeuvre anyways, as Sweeney continues to cradle her to himself, so everyone can then see it. Ah well.

We guess the most interesting part of the audience behaviour though is the reception of the whole show and the applause at the end. A rousing reception, people on their feet a very touched cast on stage. Just the way we want our curtain calls to be. Tumultuous is only adequate for the impressive display of immense talent we get treated to during every performance.

So today will be our last performance until the end of September (the dreaded last week), therefore it will be a sad day. Grey skies are appropriate.

Wednesday - 18 July 2012
07/19/12 @ 05:07:44 am, Categories: General, 788 words   English (US)

So, we already told you, that we would be abandoning Mr. Ball for Madonna on Tuesday night. We have to admit it felt a bit weird to leave our friends a quarter to seven and walk away from the Adelphi.

Just plain wrong, actually. But we booked the tickets and wanted to see her, so what we really needed would have been a Time Turner and if you do not know what this is, attend the Harry Potter studio tour! ;-) We arrived at Hyde Park and there was this massive crowd at the entrance. We feared we’d be stuck there for ages. But no, the organizers really have made a fantastic job in terms of crowd control. We got onto the grounds in no time, especially considering that there were (albeit brief) bag searches in place. The longest time standing came at the merchandise stall. We found us a good spot to sit and marveled at the many screens, speakers and massive stage. Closer to the stage you’d have to stand, but as we were mainly there for the music and the shows we didn’t have enough ambition to squeeze through the masses of fans.

And what can we say? The stage show was fabulous. breathtaking effects and light show. Madonna looked and sounded great and played all the big hits. What a dancer! The sound was very good wherever you were and we had only a short burst of rain (2 songs). All in all it really was worth it. We were very grateful though that Michael does not play such venues with this number of people. We want to see him up close!

She finished just on time (there is a strict curfew in place – at 10:30 pm you must be done with your concert or they will pull the plug to protect residents against concert noise….). As there were some 60 000 people we dreaded the way out (don’t do crowds). But everything went really smoothly, we could walk at a leisurely pace out of the concert grounds and then through Hyde Park. No standing, no pushing and shoving, just a bunch of happy people talking about the concert while taking a night time stroll around London. The organisers had closed the whole Park Lane (which is HUGE) to accommodate all the concert goers on their way to the tube. Only Olympia cars were allowed. It was an amazing feeling to be walking along this massive Lane we usually only know from sitting in a car and dreading the mad traffic rush.

On earlier nights Michael was rather late getting out of the theatre. Should it have been the same way that very night we might even have caught him, but we did not try and went straight home, where we arrived a half past 11.

Yesterday we were back on track, meaning back at the Adelphi. We got to the stage door and met our friends. Naturally it was raining, as it usually does around stage door time, but this does not dampen the anticipation at all. There was a small crowd gathered and one fan had even made him an elaborate Sweeney birthday cake to take in. But we got ever closer to reporting time (the cast has to be in at a specific time) we knew he’d be late and in a mad rush. Shortly after 1pm Andrew arrived with Michael’s lunch, we suppose. He was rather surprised to hear Michael was not in already. Mad rush, definitely we thought now.

Traffic has been horrendous these past few days and he is a commuter after all. He finally came rushing down the street on foot, the driver having given up probably. Not a happy camper at all and somehow we had a feeling Sweeney would be especially ruthless tonight. But even though he was in SUCH a hurry he allowed for photos and was all sweet about the cake. This man is just too good to us fans. He definitely is!

And the show? Well, we thought it was just us, so we checked with our friends to make sure we all agreed and we did – these two performances and especially the one of Epiphany have been the absolute best we had ever seen it. Out of this world! So intense, so scary, very raw and just spellbinding. Just one example: When he throws Anthony out for hindering his murder of the judge we were close to running off as well, Sweeney was just THAT scary. Whenever you think he cannot get any better, he does. We sat there open mouthed (and thoroughly scared). Happily the crowd seemed to agree and the cast got a rousing reception both shows.

13 till 16 July 2012
07/17/12 @ 05:25:11 am, Categories: General, 763 words   English (US)

Weekend Update

Sorry for the long silence. We’ve just been so busy this weekend…On Friday we fetched Julia’s mum from the airport (really interesting to watch the some Olympic athletes arriving and a committee to greet them with cameras and all) and after dropping her luggage at the flat we headed for the stage door. We had seen Michael’s tweet that he was invited to the Old Bailey for lunch by a judge with a sense of humour. Not that we were jealous or anything or doubted our career choices in the slightest…

It was only us three at the stage door when he and Imelda came strolling down the street looking extremely nice, very posh. His suit was just perfect, light grey. We had a quick chat (excellent pronunciation of “danke schön” – that’s German for “thank you” -, Mr Ball! We were deeply impressed). It was great of course that he was his charming self at the stage door (no rain for once!) and that Julia’s mum was faced with the harsh contrast of a very dark and menacing Sweeney Todd on stage. What can we say? She absolutely loved every second of it. She was in absolute awe of the overwhelming talent on stage. She was very much looking forward to going again on Saturday (phew!). Stage door afterwards was mayhem. We did try a photo of the nice suit but no chance. Too many people in a frenzy.
On Saturday we managed to squeeze in some sightseeing and visited Westminster Abbey. Then stage door again. We met our friends, waited and chatted in the rain…a dry wait would feel odd now. We are used to feeling damp now when he arrives. When he did arrive the rain had stopped but he was running really late (traffic had been a nightmare) and he hurried into the theatre.
Two shows that day and we were on a Sweeney high. You could tell the role is taking its toll on his voice. We cannot even begin to imagine how hard it must be to sing this part 8 times a week. We do like a husky voice though. It works very well with the character, we just hope it doesn’t hurt while singing.

Afterwards he looked so tired and kept telling the elated crowd that he needed to go home, still they followed him right until his car’s door and someone even asked for three photos as the others “hadn’t come out”.

On Sunday we visited the Harry Potter studio tour in Leavsden. What a fabulous day out it was. You actually get to walk through the Great Hall and see the real props and sets. We were especially happy to see the office of Dolores Umbridge and her costumes as this is the part Imelda played in the Potter films and even though this character is even nastier than Mrs Lovett seeing this gave us a warm fuzzy feeling. So if you are thinking about going but are in doubt: do go! It’s all perfectly organised by Warner and thus thankfully not overcrowded and the huge model of Hogwarts is worth the ticket money alone, we felt.

A wonderful end to a rather busy weekend and we dropped Julia’s mum off at the airport. It was great for once to be able to drive away from Heathrow without leaving ourselves.

Yesterday it were only 4 of us at the stage door so sadly no photos. Lovely quick chat and then the Monday show. We have been told that Mondays are great because everybody is rested from the Sunday off but we have for some reason never seen a Monday show. Now we regret that. It was just magnificent. Everyone was on top form and we could again see many little things that were changed and tested. Fascinating to see the show evolve. Another mad stage door afterwards. If the one photo we took came out we will upload it on Facebook.

Today was supposed to be the best day of the week – weather wise, dry and warm. Now we are back to rain in the evening, which is so typical as we are not doing Sweeney but will be seeing Madonna in Hyde Park. But we are used to seeing concerts in the rain. It will feel strange to see something else when we know Michael is on stage in the same city as we are. Anyways, the rain ponchos are packed.

Hope to get back to you sooner this time.

12 July 2012
13/07/12 @ 03:32:56 am, Categories: General, 342 words   English (UK)

Yesterday we did something we have been talking about for ages but never really got round to: We rented one of the “Boris Bikes” and cycled through Hyde Park. The idea is that for a small amount of money (for free if you go less than 30 minutes) everyone can hire a bike from public stations all over London and leave it at another station when they are done with their cycling. Since the sun made on of its rare appearances we made the most of it and had a stunning view of the Royal Albert Hall and the Serpentine.

Sorry to report that there are no photos as it were only us two at the stage door and you really don’t want to get your camera out then but simply say hello. He was wearing the same blue top he wore the day before – the colour really does bring out the eyes wonderfully. Afterwards we headed to the box office to sort out a mystery about our Monday tickets. They were extremely helpful. We have rarely experienced such friendly and supportive BO staff!

The show went swimmingly – and no cheering when the Judge meets his untimely end. Phew. He was in fine voice and this new long note in Johanna really adds to the tender sadness of the song.
We sat next to Sweeney novices and there was a lot of gasping and “oh no”-ing going on. Always great when people get to into it all. Very happy crowd in the end.

Now we are off to pick up Julia’s mum from the airport as she really wanted to see this show an so she will join us for the weekend.

The weather forecast is a bit depressing as it is indicating it will always start raining (heavily) when we are stage door-in. But no one forces us to ogle at the poor man when he gets to work, so we cannot complain. Hopefully we can report back with photos today. Depends on the weather.

Talk to you soon.

10 and 11 July 2012
12/07/12 @ 05:02:51 am, Categories: General, 664 words   English (UK)

10 + 11 July 2012

Back in the UK after two weeks. We got here on Tuesday afternoon. For once we have a holiday flat as we will be here for 10 days. This is great as you can pretend to be a proper Londoner even if you’d never be able to afford this kind of flat in this kind of area (Bloomsbury) in real life.

We got to the stage door and it was pouring. There were only four of us mad enough to stand there but we did and had a lovely time chatting. When he did arrive he kindly stood in the little hallway that leads to the stage door and took his time so one of our group could have a proper conversation and have her programme signed. As it had been so wet we didn’t even bring our cameras, so no photos. Sorry. What a great start to our holidays though.

Being back at the Adelphi now felt like coming home and we thoroughly enjoyed attending the tale. It felt like a different show! They are really experimenting with their characters now. Changing little things, not lines or anything as dramatic, but small gestures, or which word to stress in the dialogue, the way they deliver the lines (angrier, more ironic, funnier or devoid of emotion – that kind of changes). These of course are things only someone who has seen the show several times will notice. It was so good to be back.

On Wednesday the stage door was way more crowded as is usual for matinee days. We were meeting up with the friends we hadn’t seen for a long while (too long!) and had such a laugh. The sun was out briefly for when he arrived and everyone had a chance for some Ball attention. This time the weather was a little more accommodating for fan needs and we had the cameras ready. Photos are online. What was a bit unsettling was that we learned a Hyde Park concert for the evening had been cancelled because of the muddy grounds – we have tickets for Madonna next Tuesday – fingers crossed!

Again things had changed a little from the night before and we especially liked the new long note at the beginning of Johanna. As if the long note at the end (roughly 30 seconds) is not enough. He spoils us! Also loving the gusto with which Mrs Lovett throws herself at him during the kissing scene. Not that we are jealous or anything…..;-) You could tell though that it was matinee crowd. Many school children and people determined to enjoy themselves which was fine as it made a very enthusiastic audience but it also meant that the cheered, whoopwhooped and applauded when Sweeney finally kills the judge. Panto feeling.

The evening crowd was much quieter throughout the show but equally appreciative at the curtain call. Standing ovations all around. And a very happy cast on stage for both shows.

Oh and we have spotted an usher we knew form the Shaftesbury It really feels like the hairspray family fallows the Ball wherever he goes. Cast and crew alike. Adds to the homely feeling naturally.

Only slight drizzle when he got out after the shows. And he really did stop and take a photo with every single person who waited. Such a star.

Gosh, almost forgot: we have a new Pirelli. Comedian Jason Manford stepped in for Robert Burt for four weeks. He has a fine singing voice and plays the part a bit funnier than the original who seemed a little more menacing. The Irish accent is very Irish, or rather is pronounced enough so that we foreigners could identify it as such. We like him.
New day, new stage door and show. Sun is out just now but the forecast says heavy rain for the evening. We shall see. Thanks again to the gang – it’s been soooo good to catch up and we WILL see you on tour!


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