It goes without saying that we had to hop over to the UK for Mr. Todd’s arrival in the West End (almost in Fleet Street, too, which is amazing).
On the tube ride into town we were greeted by several large ST posters. In the city centre we encountered many buses promoting the show. London is fun when Mr. Ball is in the West End! Well, naturally it’s also fun when he isn’t, but it’s much more fun when he is, if you get our drift. Bear with us it’s almost 2am.
Having arrived late at night on Friday our first outing on Saturday took us to the Adelphi. We admired the posters and went into the box office. There was a considerable queue of people wanting tickets and they were actually sending people away, because tonights show was sold out.
We’d goggled at the merchandise (t-shirts, mug, fridge magnet, programme, cd and colour brochure with the latter “not available” of course). WE overheard a German couple unsure whether they would enjoy the show and wondering what it was all about and of course we could fill them in and make sure they grab a ticket during their stay. We recommended the singing performances to which they replied “Of course, Michael Ball is in it", which is always nice.
We then talked to the box office guy about day seats and he confirmed what we had heard before. They would be the last two rows of the stalls, not the front row.
We decided on one of the many many cafes around the theatre to write our card for Michael and have a hot chocolate. After finishing our drinks, we thought we’d wander to the stage door and see if we could hand in our goody bag at the stage door. Two autograph hunters were already wating there. We marvelled at the confined space of Maiden Lane and were just contemplating how the huge crowd will block the street entirely, when Andrew came out of the theatre. We wanted to hand over our little bag, but he said, he’d be right back and wandered down the street. We thought maybe he’s gone shopping in Covent Garden, when a very posh black limousine pulled up opposite the stage door and out stepped none other than Mr. Michael Ball himself. He looked utterly to die for (pun intended ha ha).
In a blue jacket, light scarf and grey cap. we changed a few words and in he was, not even the autograph hunters had got in gear. It happened all so quickly (hence no photos, sorry). That left us with much time at our hands and we used it for a bit of retail therapy and sun bathing at Covent Garden. 16 degrees and sunny skies. Utterly amazing. We sat there in t-Shirts (at home it’s still freezing cold!).
Since press night is only on the 20th of March we will refrain from saying anything about the show itself. These are still public rehearsals after all, but that doesn’t mean it did not go very very well. For us the transfer really worked and gave the production a new dimension. Mr. Sondheim was inattendance and we so hoped the London audience would embrace the show as much as the Chichester one had done. And so they did. The atmosphere was fantastic. A massive applause for individual scenes. Cheers of delight and at the end of Act 1 the sound of the audience was amazing. Everyone was gushing in the interval. Happy faces all around. And richly deserved. Fantastic performances throughout.
We were sat in row C with many other fans and our entire row was on their feet at the end of the show, when the cast started their bows, but a quick look over our shoulders showed that it was not just us. The entire stalls were standing and once Imelda and Michael came on stage, the place erupted and the entire theatre gave them a well deserved standing ovation, stalls, dress circle and upper circle. Too see them all overwhelmed by the borderline-hysteric reception was a pure joy.
Stage Door afterwards was mayhem. It’s a very narrow lane with a night clup, several restaurants and bars. So there was our theatre crowd, which was huge, all the people from other places plus some very frustrated car drivers who were stuck and some very relaxed riksha drivers who thought the whole scene was hilarious. People were chanting and screeming and shouting for Michael. Lots of pushing and shoving. It was madness incarnated.
Michael and Imelda did the very sensible thing and waved the crowd from a window (see video clip and photos). He also tried to leave the theatre through the stage door. From what we were seeing he was giving autographs by the dozen and naturally the crowd went completely wild. After a frew near collisions with rickshas and cars by several passers-bys, he deemed the situation too chaotic (we think), waved and went back inside to leave via the front. A very sensible decision as people did not really mind the traffic at all. It was an accidant waiting to happen from where we were standing (we were on the other side of the road).
So this was it, our first Sweeney Todd in London. There will be many more and we can only urge you to grab a ticket, if you haven’t. He indeed is a revelation and we will be back in May, counting the days already and looking forward to many rave reviews on the 20th (fingers tightly crossed).Permalink