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3 1/2 days in london. need theater & restaurants

3 1/2 days in london. need theater & restaurants

Old Oct 19th, 2000, 02:25 PM
  #1  
jsg
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3 1/2 days in london. need theater & restaurants

We are leaving next week for a whirlwind trip to London. We want to cram as much sightseeing and theater into our limited time.Anyone familiar w/ the following shows: The Beautiful Game, Mama Mia, Seven Year Itch or The Graduate? Also please advise "must see and do" and a couple of good rstaurants or pubs. Thanks.
 
Old Oct 19th, 2000, 02:41 PM
  #2  
elaine
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Hi
I have a computer file on London sightseeing; if you'd like to see it, email me
Mama Mia has elicited many favorable comments on this forum in the past; I have not seen it.
The Graduate seemed most noteworthy this summer for the fact that Kathleen Turner had a brief nude scene as Mrs. Robinson; I don't know if she's still in it.
Reviews were mixed.
 
Old Oct 19th, 2000, 02:44 PM
  #3  
Lori
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We saw Mamma Mia this past April and loved it - we'll be back in April 2001 and I've already gotten tickets to see it again. We used TicketmasterUK by the way and have gotten front row & second row seats. Don't know about the other shows, I think Jerry Hall is in The Graduate now tho.
 
Old Oct 19th, 2000, 06:50 PM
  #4  
Patrick
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Mama Mia and The Graduate are two of the hottest tickets in town right now. Jerry Hall has indeed replaced Kathleen Turner in The Graduate along with an almost entirely new cast, but they got an excellent review in my newest London Theatre Journal. We saw both of these shows this summer. It took us three tries at the boxoffice to get Mama Mia tickets and two tries to get The Graduate, but when we did they were great seats, day of show cancellations. Mama Mia can't be called great theatre, but it sure is a fun and upbeat evening. I will check current reviews of the other two (didn't realize 7 Year Itch had already opened) and get back to you.
 
Old Oct 19th, 2000, 07:07 PM
  #5  
robin
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Do NOT bother seeing Seven Year Itch. Long, boring & it got old very fast ( the whole dumb blonde thing was really tired)
 
Old Oct 19th, 2000, 07:14 PM
  #6  
Patrick
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Yes, Seven Year Itch just opened on Oct. 9, but I didn't find any reviews yet. It stars Daryl Hannah in the famous Marilyn Monroe role, but don't expect to see the famous scene with the white dress blowing up from the subway grate. The Beautiful Game by Ben Elton has received some pretty good notices, but I've not talked with anyone who has seen it. Ben Elton's plays are usually pretty thought provoking, yet not overly heavy. I believe it has to do with a football team in Northern Ireland in the 1960's set against a sea of political and social turmoil. (My, that sounded like a press release, but it was purely my wording.) If you do pretheatre dining, I always recommend Rule's, a truly elegant and extremely old traditional restaurant in the theatre district. It is normally quite pricey, but their pre-theatre, choose any three items for a 3 course set price is an incredible bargain. Next week is too late to get into The Ivey.
We love Le Palais du Jardin on LongAcre, quite modern and upscale with superb food. For fun and casual, Belgo Centraal near Neal's Yard for wonderful mussels (or roasted chicken) and frites and great Belgian beers. Mon Plaisir on Monmouth is a bit of Left Bank Paris in London. Soho-Soho (the restaurant upstairs, not the bar downstairs)is practically right around the corner from Mama Mia and has a great buzz and wonderful food.
 
Old Oct 20th, 2000, 07:11 AM
  #7  
Patrick
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Ok, I've searched the reviews and found the following: Seven Year Itch: mainly pretty negative reviews with comments like, "advertised as a comedy, but unfortunately there is not much laughter" and "valiant Daryl fails to kiss life into this decrepit sex comedy". I personally always thought the play was a bore and wondered what they were doing to it to make it worth a revival after all these years. Apparently not much.
Beautiful Game: As you may know this is a musical with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, but has generally been regarded as not his best music. It has received universally mediocre reviews and lukewarm praise --few real raves, but surprisingly no great pans either. It is a small and simple musical as described in my post above, with some of "Lloyd Webber's most haunting and memorable ballads." The one rave is from the Times: the show "romps home with his best work since Cats and his finest piece of musical theatre ever." I think this really might be worth seeing. It has however been described as West Side Story meets Riverdance --not exactly the show I'd want to rush out and see. But hey, that's only from the critics. I do understand that the crowds are mainly eating it up.
 
Old Oct 20th, 2000, 08:22 AM
  #8  
topper
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up please.
 
Old Oct 20th, 2000, 08:37 AM
  #9  
Lori
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Patrick,
When you were in London did you see (or hear much about) The Witches of Eastwick at the Drury Lane? Just wondering if it is worth the ticket price or is it a dud. The reviews I read were so-so.
 
Old Oct 20th, 2000, 08:46 AM
  #10  
Karen
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JSG - I posted the following message on another thread, but it's also appropriate for yours. Have a great time!

Try this site for special pre and post theatre specials: http://www.coventgardenlife.co.uk

I hear from a lot of Londoners that the Browns restaurants are good. They have restaurants dotted around the country. The site is - http://www.browns-restaurants.com

Karen
 
Old Oct 20th, 2000, 09:09 AM
  #11  
Gina
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I've seen Mamma Mia! twice (once with the original cast last year, once just a few weeks ago), and also just saw The Beautiful Game.

Mamma Mia! is about the most fun anyone can have at a musical. If you have *any* fondness at all for the music of ABBA, you'll be in heaven. It's camp, it's silly, it's hilarious, and it's well sung and well danced. You end up on your feet singing and dancing along with the cast during the curtain calls. Serious theater? No way. A fantastic time? Absolutely.

The Beautiful Game has its flaws, most notably some lyrical clunkers (my biggest complaint was over-simplicity and predictability in the lyrics, but then again, this is Ben Elton's first whack at writing lyrics for a musical), but I truly enjoyed and was very affected by it. I thoroughly *hated* Webber's last new one, Whistle Down the Wind (absolutely awful), so I'm definitely not a Webber apologist; he hasn't been at his best since the days of Evita and Jesus Christ Superstar. But this show has a truly powerful feel, a very strong cast, some terrific dancing (particularly the opening number, which I think is probably the best overall one-two-three punch in terms of music, lyrics, and dance in the whole show), and that indefinable thing I go to see musical theater for: heart. And there are a few moments that are truly transcendent and just flung me back in my seat.

(Oh, and the summary Patrick posted is pretty correct. You can read more about the plot at www.thebeautifulgamemusical.com.)

Have not seen Graduate or SYI, so can't comment on those, but I'd highly recommend either Mamma Mia or The Beautiful Game.

I also really enjoyed The Mystery of Charles Dickens, at The Comedy (just off the south end of Leicester Square near Haymarket), a one-man show with Simon Callow. If you have no interest in Dickens, you probably won't enjoy it, but anyone with any fondness for the author at all will have a blast. Callow is truly amazing.
 
Old Oct 20th, 2000, 09:39 AM
  #12  
vanessa
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Lori,
I saw Witches of Eastwick when I was in London last month. Although I am definitely not a Theater buff, and I think this might have been the first musical I ever attended, I really liked it a lot. The songs were great, the costumes and sets were amazing. I bought the tickets at the Leicester Square tube station, it came out to about 30 pounds each for great floor level seats. The guy selling us the tickets said that this was one of the most expensive productions in years, so that can tell you how great the sets and costumes were. There was a scene where the church was burning and it really was on fire with tiny little explosions going off. I really was amazed by the spectacle, costumes, and special effects more than the plot itself, but I enjoyed it all. If you have a choice of seats, I would reccommend trying to get seats on the first balcony, there is one scene that would have really been cool to see if we were sitting up there.
The theater itself was really beautiful too.
Have a great time. (Oh, also take at least one walking tour, a tour on a double decker bus, and visit the Tower of London--those were the highlights of my trip).
 
Old Oct 20th, 2000, 10:10 AM
  #13  
Lori
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Thanks Vanessa! I will really give "Witches" some thought now. We're not first time visitors to London, we go every year and try and take in a couple of shows while in town.
 
Old Oct 20th, 2000, 12:02 PM
  #14  
Patrick
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To Lori: No, didn't see Witches. We were last there in May and it hadn't opened. To Everyone interested in London Theatre: the best web site: www.londontheatre.co.uk/online/ Has reviews, casts, locations, times, links, and just about everything you would want to know about current London West End theatre.
 
Old Oct 23rd, 2000, 08:13 AM
  #15  
Patrick
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To the top for________________??
 
Old Oct 23rd, 2000, 02:48 PM
  #16  
pam
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Anyone know whether Judi Dench is currently performing or soon to perform in anything on stage?
 
Old Oct 23rd, 2000, 06:41 PM
  #17  
Vickie
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I love the theatre and cram in as many plays as possible when I go to London. I think Blood Brothers, Les Miz, Chicago and Phantom are all wonderful and have been playing so long you can probably get half price ticket from the booth in Leicester Square especially for during the week performances and maybe week-ends too(be careful if you use this booth to make sure it is the real half price booth). I too use the London theatre website that Patrick recommended. If I want to book something before I get to London, I get the theatre phone number from the site and call directly rather than incurring the additional charges of a booking agent. Your trip is so close that this isn't going to help you on this trip, but it's something to keep in mind if you like London half as much as I do and decide to go back. The reviews on this website are really helpful also.
I have tickets for Witches but have not seen it yet. From what I've read the special effects are fantastic. I considered The Beautiful Game instead and even though the reviews don't make it sound at all depressing somehow I have it in my head that anything re Northern Ireland has to be somewhat sad (I don't mean for this to be a political statement) and I wanted a fun play. Hope Witches lives up to my expectations.
The biggest "must do" I'm sure you already know about-- the Tower of London (be sure and take one of the Beefeater's tours around the Tower). The British Museum is fantastic, but I would try to get on a guided tour or at least get a handout from the museum front desk of most important pieces or you will just be overwhelmed. I also love the Original London Walking Tours (http://www.walks.com/links.html -- just click on the day of the week and it will give you all the tours for that day of the week). These tours seem like a good way to slow down and get a more close look at some of the things in London.
Have a great time.
 
Old Oct 23rd, 2000, 07:03 PM
  #18  
nancy
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I was in London with my daughterthree weeks ago. Saw the "Graduate" with Jeri Hall...it was fabulous! Don't miss "Stones in his pocket"If it is your first trip...do the "city tour" when you first arrive to get the idea of how things are set up.
Try to save an evening for one of the "London Walks". They are well known there.Actors take you on a two hour walking tour of various places <day or night>.You meet lots of people and really see London!
"Bermondsey market" is on Friday AM fron 4;00am til noon...South side of the Thames.
Buckingham palace may be open <if Queen is out of town>.
Blackfriars Pub <lunch only>.The boat trip to Greenwich <ass in Mean time>Westminster,The Tower,...etc. Have a ball! N.
Ps you can get day passes or weekend passes for the buses or tubes. London walks meet at tube <subwy> stops.You see more if you take the buses.
 
Old Jan 11th, 2001, 08:10 AM
  #19  
judy
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Bringing this back up! Great info! I thank you all for making this upcoming London trip the best ever! I used your info about the Covent Gardennsite and now have res. for 2 good pre-theater restaurants! The covent garden site allows you to e-mail res.to them! How wonderful is the internet, yes? I am sooo anal retentive about planning!
Happy travels! Judy
 

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