[personal profile] elleflies
After five years of almost constant travel all over the globe, I finally made it to London!

Granted, I never would have gone if David Tennant hadn't decided that he wanted to do Much Ado About Nothing with Catherine Tate and while that wasn't my entire reason for going, it sure was the catalyst.

I am completely indebted to [livejournal.com profile] shinyopals who didn't seem to mind when a loud Texan took up residence on her floor. I don't think I could have pulled off this London excursion without her.



I actually arrived the night before. The beautiful thing about staying with someone who works for a living is that job trumps vacation so I took a late flight in followed by what felt like an extremely long bus ride where I freaked out about finding the right stop and probably left a few harassed Brits in my wake as my paranoia to figure out what was going on kept growing.

Thankfully I did not end up in the middle of nowhere England curled up in a corner because I was lost: as I half expected this little adventure to end.

As [livejournal.com profile] shinyopals had to work, my first day was spent tooling around London on my own. Before I’d left the States I’d had a moment of panic and actually did some research about where I was going and what there was to do. These are things I do not usually do and as a result am generally terrible at. My normal mode of sight seeing is to cozy up at the desk at the hotel and inquire as to what there is to do around here. It can be a remarkably effective means of sight seeing actually :)

My plan was basically to be as super touristy as possible – to knock out all the major tourist attractions so if I was ever to return to London (as I plan on doing. Just… not next year) I’ll have it all done, photos taken and I can focus elsewhere. By elsewhere I mean on getting photographs that aren't the most super touristy things to ever exist.

The Tower of London was my first stop and took up half the day. I’d always thought it was a Tower – as in singular. See how much attention I pay? Turns out its Tower as in plural. Oh London and the way you describe things. The Yeoman Warder tour was delightful and it was fun to pop in and out of random towers and basically be entertained by the whole atmosphere of “WE KILLED LOTS OF PEOPLE HERE.”

I showed up early enough that I was able to see the Crown Jewels with barely any queuing. The Crown Jewels were another thing I had heard of but never really paid attention to. Now I know why – they are gaudy as hell. It’s like they took all their precious jewels and metals and furs and just threw them at a crown and went with what stuck. Individually there were some VERY gorgeous jewels on there but as a whole it was a bit overpowering. The less is more approach really wasn’t even glanced at once by the designers. Oh well, I got to see the Koh-i-Noor diamond and I tromped around the grounds going 'tee hee Rani was a Lady in Waiting to Lady Jane.' I am an adult, I should not link everything I see to Doctor Who and yet I still do. I fail at adulthood!

From there I basically went over every bridge I possibly could as I made my way along the Queen’s Walk to St Paul’s. And by every bridge I mean that I went over them twice as I wanted to walk up to St Paul’s by approaching it from the Millennium Bridge. Lets just say I did quite a bit of walking...

I should have had an inkling from The Tower Chapel that “this is a place of worship, no photography allowed” applied to all places of worship in London. St Paul’s is beautiful and I have absolutely no pictures of the interior because apparently photography is disturbing to those who wish to worship whereas hordes of tourists tromping through the place listening to audio books is not disturbing AT ALL. I may be a little grumpy about that. I need my photos!

I'd love to know how much money St Paul's brings in that they can put their free audio guide for tourists on iTouches - granted, with the admission prices they charge this shouldn't have been that surprising.

Being the dutiful tourist and hating to get yelled at, the camera was put away and I did what the audio guide instructed. When it told me that I should go up the stairs to the Whispering Gallery - I did. The stairs weren’t too bad and you could sit and rest but then the audio book informed me that I could go up even higher and that as it was outside, photography was allowed. Magic words so up I went. And up and up and up.

It was threatening to rain when I got there. This being London and all I was massively surprised that the weather wasn’t sunny and glorious. What do you mean the UK isn't a tropical paradise of sunshine and happiness?

St Paul’s had an even higher level and me being the masochist that I am decided this was a good idea. It was not. By the time I got up there my legs were screaming, I wasn’t breathing all that well and it was pouring rain. Of course the one time it rains on me I’m at the top of a cathedral. Of course it works out that way. OF COURSE IT DOES. I took my shots and ran for it – spiraling my way all the way down to the crypt where it was dark and dry – wonderfulness.

By this point, Much Ado About Nothing was drawing closer. As I had to pick up my tickets I showed up quite a bit earlier than I probably should have. This resulted in rambling about Trafalgar Square and popping into the National Gallery. I stumbled upon a photograph of Noel Clarke but what really interested me was that in his list of credits of theater and TV as well as upcoming work, Doctor Who wasn’t listed at all. The National Gallery is too pompous for Doctor Who apparently.





As for the play itself, it was everything I hoped it would be. I went by myself so had no one to clutch and probably had this dopey stupid look on my face for most of it. I had gone out of my way to not read reviews or any spoilers for the play even though I was passing familiar with the play itself.

I knew vaguely that it was 80’s-themed and that at one point David Tennant indulged in some cross-dressing and there was denim and lace involved. That was about the extent of it.

I’m SO glad I didn’t read any reviews. I truly enjoyed it – start to finish. David Tennant and Catherine Tate have fantastic chemistry and you could see that they were genuinely having fun up there. Yeah, this play was a vehicle for two well known celebs (in the UK) but they did a good job with it and from what I could tell the audience was having a great time. I know I was!

The way they did Beatrice and Benedict overhearing the plots to get them together was a delight. David Tennant covered in paint head to toe and monologuing had the audience in stitches. At one point he ran his paint-covered hand through his paint-plastered hair and the audience start clapping. This man’s hair is so amazing, even covered in paint, that they applauded him running his hands through it. He kind of shook his head and did his best to shush the crowd because they were applauding and he wasn’t even done yet. The power of his hair is compelling. ;)

Catherine Tate being strapped to a line and struggling above Hero was a sight to behold. I can’t imagine how exhausting it must be to be winched up like that everyday and at times multiple times a day if they’re doing a matinee, but she did a fantastic job with it and was pulling some great faces. Not that Catherine Tate pulling fun faces is any kind of surprise...

As for the set and costumes – I’m not generally a fan of the 80’s but they went for it. Totally and completely and I thought it worked. I may be a bit biased as it resulted in David Tennant wearing black lace tights, a denim miniskirt with garter, a purple lace top and sequiny shrug thing, plus blond curly wig and enormous sunglasses. He managed to work it - I’ll give him that. Having no shame probably helps – there was plenty of crotch when he took a seat on the edge of the stage. I was in row G and was quite surprised, considering how close the front row was they must have got an eyeful...

As for Catherine, she was the one sporting the suit this time around. She got off a bit easier in the costume department than David Tennant did considering the lace and the paint, but I am not complaining.

As for the relationship, I’m so glad Catherine Tate and David Tennant like to work with each other so well. They play off each other fantastically and both have good comedic timing, especially when it’s a scene they’re both in. This was definitely not the Doctor and Donna.

My only regret is that I didn’t buy a second ticket for another showing. I enjoyed it that much. I have no regrets about spending the money on a plane ticket to cross the pond to see a play. While I made a whole vacation of it, I never would have come if this play hadn’t been going on.

If it was showing in NYC the amount of times I’d go see it would probably be obscene.

I wasn’t originally going to try the stage door. I’d bought premium tickets and it included a signed program but I bought an extra just in case. I did give it a try even though the idea of meeting David Tennant is petrifying to me. I'm going to let Troy from Community explain what meeting DT would be like for me:



I figured I’d be fine if I even managed to stutter out 'Thank You' as he was signing. Turns out it didn’t even come to that. By the time I made it to the stage door it was already four people deep and when David Tennant and Catherine Tate came out I could barely see through the mob of people. By this point I’d had very little sleep, had been up a very long time and had a raging headache and figured I was better off heading back to [livejournal.com profile] shinyopals as it involved a tube ride and a transfer to a train.





So yeah... I took a few photos.


White Tower
The White Tower at the Tower of London

Raven on the Tower Green
Just hanging out on the Tower Green. ..

The 1540 Armor Garniture
Armor belonging to King Henry VIII. This was my favorite armor simply because it appeared as if someone was compensating for something.

The Line of Kings
The Line of Kings… or the line of the Kings horses…

Private

Traitor's Gate
Traitor’s Gate

Salt Tower Windows
Windows of Salt Tower

Tower of London

Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge

City of London

Tower Bridge

The Thames

The Queen's Walk

Tower Bridge

Millennium Bridge & St. Paul's

Perched

St Paul's Cathedral
St Paul’s Cathedral

City of London

Millennium Bridge

The London Eye

The Thames

View from St Paul's

Nelson's Column
Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square

The Lions


The rest are on flickr even though the only ones I have up are from my first day in London as I'm still editing the rest. They can be found here.
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elleflies

December 2011

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