The Heat Is On In Saigon!

If you do one thing this year; it should be seeing Miss Saigon in the West End.

We went for the day ticket option, meaning we got £20 tickets at 10am at the box office on the day.  The catch being, there are a limited number of day tickets available (reportedly around twenty) so you need to get in the queue early- we arrived at 7 am and were second and third in the queue and we got tickets in the middle of the front row.  The seat directly behind mine sells for £69.75.  Personally I think it was worth the three hours in the queue (it was a lovely day and I brought a book!), but Jodie did not agree!

But anyway, on with the show.  The musical itself is excellent, with a heart-breaking plot- a love story between a soldier and a civilian woman during the Vietnam torn apart when the American troops are evacuated suddenly.  The cast are incredibly talented; probably the best I’ve ever seen in a West End production and the music and effects are outstanding.  As an aside, I felt fairly sure that one does not simply have helicopter in a theatre, but apparently that’s a thing.   As a heads up, the story starts in a sleazy club with several prostitutes, and they certainly do not keep it G-rated, so perhaps not one for bringing children to!   Being right in the front row meant there were one or two scenes where you didn’t see things on the floor and the orchestra was sometimes a little louder than ideal for hearing the singers, but I didn’t feel that got in the way of my enjoyment.  It is an incredibly sad story, although the hysterical weeping of a nearby lady was probably a little much.

All in all, a fantastic show and highly recommended, whether you book online, or try for day seats (for more details on acquiring day seats, just message me or something!).

Afternoon Tea – Millennium Hotel, Mayfair

My first mistake was reading the voucher name: “The Mayfair Celebration Afternoon Tea”, and not the location, thereby assuming that the location was The Mayfair Hotel.  #rookie error.  Luckily we were in plenty of time (guess who wasn’t in charge of transport) and The Millennium Hotel was not too far away so all was not lost, and turns out to be just as fancy (at £197 a night in the most basic room, I don’t think I’ll ever be staying there!).

The celebration afternoon tea includes a glass of Moët champagne each, which I’m reliably informed is very nice stuff (and after drinking both of ours, Ms Shanks was certainly very merry!).  Each person receives a pot of tea from a few options, including second flush Assam (again, reliably informed of the high quality of this!) and they were happy to replace my tea with very tasty hot chocolate at no extra cost.  The first tier of food was the sandwiches (chicken & mayonnaise, egg mayonnaise, cucumber & cream cheese, salmon and something), then plain and raisin scones, with a delightful array of desserts on the top tier (Eton mess, chocolate madeira cake, crème brûlée, chocolate éclair and a suspicious fruit tart).  All food was delicious, with wonderful presentation, charming staff, and a special egg timer for the tea, to ensure it was brewed to perfection!  There was only one each of the desserts, so you may have to fight between yourselves to decide who gets what and the portions were a little bit small, but a second plate of scones is provided free of charge if you ask, and I saw others getting extra sandwiches too (didn’t sound like they had to pay for that either).

I bought the voucher a while ago for Jodie’s birthday, but it is still available on amazon local- the celebration afternoon tea for two would normally be £69 (there are cheaper options without the champagne), and the voucher was only £39- check it out here if you’re interested!  Highly recommend this as a great afternoon out.  I think the sandwiches and desserts vary, but if I could find stuff that I liked, anyone can!  They do add a 12.5% service charge to the bill, which you don’t have to pay, but you may well want to, the service is that good!

Obligatory jpg, which is a bit shadow-y (just can’t get the staff these days) :

afternoon tea


Next up: Miss Saigon, after an impromptu decision to queue for the day tickets this morning!

Ghost Stories!

Teaching has had a two-fold positive effect on my financial situation (they pay me money and don’t give me any spare time to spend it) so Jodie and I have found ourselves able to take advantage of lots of good travel and entertainment deals this summer and so I’ve decided to use this blog to do some mini-reviews of our adventures.  I’m aware my commentaries on random shows and places are probably of limited interest, but I like the sound of my own voice, so am running with it anyway.  If you are interested in my summer adventures, or happen to want to hear about theatre, theme parks, other attractions and a random resort in Tunisia, then that would be a happy coincidence indeed.

So first up was Ghost Stories last night, and awkwardly I have not much to say, as I don’t want to ruin it and it is best enjoyed when you have no idea what to expect!  Honestly, you’d probably have just as much fun at a lower cost buying a DVD of a horror film and watching it at home, but if you want to try something different then go see Ghost Stories because live spooky things are very different to any other kind of spooky things!.  It’s quite slow to get going, but has a great plot and several ‘scream out loud’ moments.  A worthwhile evening out, with excellent acting  and a creepy auditorium to set the mood.  I am not a huge fan of stage stuff that isn’t a musical and am easily bored, but sat out the 80 minutes (with no interval) without complaint, and towards the end it becomes more engaging and you simultaneously want it to end (because it’s scaring the bejesus out of you at this point) and not wanting it to end (because it’s finally gotten rather exciting!).

Random unattractive but related jpg:

Ghost Stories


Next up will be Afternoon Tea at the Mayfair!