Mood Music, Crafty Fox, and North Korean Art

Over the first May Bank Holiday, I managed to fit in a good amount of fun (I’ll be getting over jet lag for the second May Bank Holiday so I’m pleased I made the most of the first).

My weekend started on the Friday night with a classic date night – theatre followed by dinner.  Husband bought some last minute tickets to Mood Music at the Old Vic and he managed to get us pretty good seats.  All the better for me as the play featured one of my teenage crushes, Ben Chaplin.  I was obsessed with the sitcom Game On at the age of 15, and Ben was quite a large part of my obsession.  I lost track of him over the years, so was great to catch up with him in one of my favourite theatre venues.

The play itself was interesting, although it did leave me wanting more.  For a story about music, there was surprisingly minimal actual music.  It did feel very ‘placed’ and choreographed – everyone had to stick to set movements around the stage so at times, it came across as  a little forced.

Very much enjoyed it though, and it was nice to do something different on a Friday night.  We then had a late dinner and checked into a the Hilton Bankside so we didn’t have to rush for the last train home.  We’ll definitely be doing that again.

Saturday morning came – we checked out of the hotel, had a leisurely coffee, and I made my way over to the Mercato Metropolitano for my third Crafty Fox (Husband spent the day shopping for a new holiday outfit).  I love this venue and I wish I had more of a reason to visit!

I met up with a fellow Crafty Fox aficionado (my friend Alana) and we wandered the stalls whilst gossiping and analysing our shared love of Matthew Rhys.  I didn’t spend a great deal of money this time, but managed to get myself some more Rosa Pietsch necklaces, and a very cute glittery bow from Pup Tart.  I have no idea what I’m going to do with it, but I couldn’t leave it behind.

I then collected Husband from his shopping spree to meet up with Tim for some Saturday afternoon art appreciation.  We went to the House of Illustration in Kings Cross – a small but perfectly formed space which was showing three exhibitions.  We were there to see Made in North Korea which was fascinating (but we had a quick look at the other exhibitions too, including Quentin Blake).  We were there to see the North Korean ‘found objects’ though, and it’s honestly something I have never seen before.  I just don’t understand how he manages to have so much of this stuff!

A catch-up over Ruby Violet ice cream followed (although it was more me grilling Tim on the exact details of his recent trip to New York) and then dinner at Caravan.  Kings Cross has changed a lot since I was there last!

And we were home in time for an episode of Riverdale.  What a perfect start to my Bank Holiday.

That’s right woodchuck chuckers, it’s Groundhog Day!

IMG_20160730_134057A couple of months ago, a Google Calendar invite came through from Husband titled “Groundhog Day”.  This confused me for a number of reason – it wasn’t the 2nd February, we hadn’t spoken about this, and I had absolutely no idea what it was.

As it turns out, he had managed to get us tickets for the new Groundhog Day musical at the Old Vic which further confused me – there’s a Groundhog Day musical?  I mean, I love the film (who doesn’t?) but I couldn’t see how (or why) it would translate to the stage.  Especially in musical form.

It was layer upon layer of bewilderment for me, but I’m quite glad that the tickets were booked without wasting time on decision making, as we ended up with really great seats for a very funny, dark, and endearing musical.

It officially opens on the 16th August so technically we saw one of the preview shows, not that you’d notice as everything was perfect.  The very attractive Andy Karl plays Phil Connors (a name impossible to say without channelling Ned Ryerson) and his pretty face fills the on-stage screens in pre-recorded weather reports  before the curtains go up.  I had my doubts about how well he could fill Bill Murray’s boots (he is far too handsome) but he utterly aced it.  Carlyss Peer plays Rita adorably, and the heart of the audience was warmed when the inevitable happened at the end.

The staging is inspired, and features an amazing car chase, an elaborate representation of Phil’s descent into despair, and a sinisterly sardonic giant groundhog.  The first half is fairly cheery, and I was worried that they’d run out of content, but things got dark after the interval.  Really dark.  I wouldn’t recommend it for children, especially not the children sat around us who seemed terrified at points.

There was also an amazing bit of theatre magic which I won’t spoil, but it delighted everyone in the auditorium.  People were wide-eyed and open-mouthed.  It was brilliant.

I love how there are nods to feminism, fake alternative therapies, and a nice Brexit/US elections analogy.  Those parts felt very Tim Minchin.  I’m not quite sure why the woman in front of us burst into tears at a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it subplot featuring Larry the cameraman, but I’m glad she felt emotionally connected to him.  I found myself moved (almost) to tears a couple of times, and it definitely made me want to see the film again.

The musical runs until 17th September, so see it whilst you can.  After that, it transfers to Broadway.  I might see if I can convince Husband to take me to New York next year to see it…