At least twice a year my husband and I travel down to London for what we like to call our “West End Weekends.” We’re both big theater junkies and even though the Theatre Royal in Newcastle is close to us and has amazing performances, there are a lot of plays that are only shown in London.
Our first WEW of 2020 was last week and may have been the best one we’ve had yet. We attended two plays, one written by Samuel Beckett and another one written by this guy I doubt you’ll have heard of named William Shakespeare.
We also did a bunch of unique things around the city like wandering the East End markets, going on a private tour of the British Museum, and having pre-show cocktails 42 floors above London. It was exhausting cramming that all into 3 days but it was pretty amazing. I’ve been to London a few dozen times but that city never runs out of new and interesting things to do.
Our first stop was having cocktails and tapas in the sky. Even though the day was grey, the views were stunning and we timed it perfectly so that the sun set while we were taking in the city below us.
After having our nibbles and fizz we walked across the Millennium Bridge to attend a performance at the recreation of Shakespeare’s Globe. Okay, so technically it wasn’t the West End and the play wasn’t in the Globe but in the theater attached to it (the Sam Wannamaker Playhouse), but it still counts!
The Sam Wannamaker Playhouse is a replica of a 17th century theater and all their performances are done by candlelight. We saw The Taming of the Shrew and even though the ending is a wee bit problematic these days, it was still a wonderful performance. It hit me partway through that 450 years later the jokes written in this play are still hilarious.
“My tongue will tell the anger of my heart, or else my heart concealing it will break.”
Our next play was a double feature I’ve been looking forward to for months. I know Samuel Beckett (Waiting for Godot, Happy Days) isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but personally I love the absurd stuff he wrote.
The two plays being performed were Rough for Theatre II and Endgame, with only the latter being one that I was familiar with. I was certainly familiar with the headlining actors, though! Alan Cumming and Daniel Radcliffe were the stars of the shows and both were PHENOMENAL. I was completely blown away as was pretty much everyone else in attendance.
Afterward I was lucky enough to meet both of the actors. Now, I’m not a big Harry Potter fan (I know, I know, sorry), but I did like Daniel in some of the weirder more adult performances he’s done. Alan Cumming on the other hand- I’m a huuuuuuuge fan, I’ve loved him ever since Romy and Michelle. He was 99% of the reason why I watched The Good Wife and I really enjoyed his brief stint as a police consultant on the now cancelled Instinct.
I felt kind of bad because the other people meeting Daniel Radcliffe were barely able to contain themselves at the sight of him. He turned out to be really friendly and humble and I’m glad to have met him, but I was definitely the only non-HP fanatic there. I even said to him, “Hey, I know everyone tells you how much like they liked Harry Potter, but my favorites of yours are Swiss Army Man and Horns. I seriously loved Swiss Army Man!”
He laughed, took some photos with us, and as I left called out after me, “Thanks for liking my weird stuff!”
“You’re on earth, there’s no cure for that!”
I’m sure many of you are screaming at me right now for meeting Harry Potter and for that I’m sorry/not sorry haha. Seriously though, I’m glad to have met him because he was just so dang charming and I have enjoyed many of his other performances.
I can appreciate HP but I think I was just the wrong age when I finally got into the books and movies. I’ll always regret not starting the series when it first came out because we were roughly the same age and I could have grown up with the books and movies alongside Harry and his pals. I’m jealous of those of you who were able to do that!
While meeting Alan and Daniel were major highlights of our weekend, everything we did was absolutely fabulous. I’ll be posting more in the next few days, but in the meantime I hope you enjoyed getting a glimpse of my most recent West End Weekend!
Have you been to London? Are you big Harry Potter, Samuel Beckett, or William Shakespeare fans? Let me know in the comments!
12 thoughts on “London Part I: Cocktails in the Sky, Shakespeare, and Meeting Harry Potter”
Soubds like you had an amazing time.
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We did! Thank you 🙂
Oh wow, Daniel Radcliff! That’s so cool. And I just love the Wannamaker theatre😁
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It was my first time there but definitely won’t be my last. It was so gorgeous I could barely stand it. I ended up buying a bunch of the used candles in the gift shop to light near my reading corner.
I love Harry Potter – I did grow up with the books, so it was fantastic – and I also love Shakespeare. I want to go back to London. I’ve only been once, but there are so many things to do and see!! I still have tons of posts to write/share on my blog about London and it was like, three years ago. I’m awful. LOL
But Dan has always seemed really sweet and down to earth, so I love that he was that way when you met him. I LOVE his movies too though – Horns and Swiss Army Man are fantastic.
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I’m so mad that the books completely passed me by when I was a kid, they came out when I was roughly the same age as Harry but it wasn’t until the movies that it really got on my radar. By then I was a teenager and more into reading 20th century classics (I was so cool lol) and didn’t end up reading HP until I was an adult.
Seriously, I don’t blame you for still having posts about London queued up. We were only there 3 days and crammed so much in, every stop deserves its own post. There’s just so much!
And yes, he was really humble and sweet, I was surprised. He was wonderful with kids and took as many photos as they wanted, signed whatever they brought, and even recorded video messages for people. He actually took the photo, but took about 10 to make sure we had one we’d like.
We recently watched Guns Akimbo and omg is he amazing at weird roles. I love him.
AH! I have never seen a photo of the Sam Wannamaker Playhouse. I now totally want to come back to London and go there. It didn’t exist at the time I was there. So awesome! I would have loved to see the Beckett stuff too. Wish I could relive those memories of yours. Arrrr!
x The Captain
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I’ve been to the Globe a few times, but never when the Wannamaker Playhouse was there. I’m so glad we went, it was stunning. If you get a chance, absolutely do it. I’ll probably be going back soon myself. Where do you live?