Finally, three months into the year and the Guilty Pleasures Theatre Tour Bus spluttered into action, kicking out sequins, streamers and glitter like a low rent Priscilla; Destination - Mamma Mia!
Whilst the GP bus is purely a figment of our collective imagination (I don’t have the licence, correct footwear or the required alcohol free bloodstream - to be in charge of a real bus) but this doesn’t make the experience any less extravagant, the seats are always comfortable and the bubbles always chilled. (And just to ensure sure we are all on the same page, my bus is purple...)
Our first stop of the evening, like all good bus tours, was for refreshments and powdering of noses. Now since we were several miles from the Dartford Services Little Chef (and of course, we were not on an actual bus...) we opted for what is thankfully a gloriously un-touristy restaurant situated in the heart of Leicester Square. The aptly named Leicester Square Restaurant and Bar can be found in the elegant Radisson Edwardian Hotel tucked into the corner of the square. This sleek hideaway was perfect for relaxing pre show and après pungent tube ride, where we could sit back in our armchairs taking a few well-earned sips of Sancerre. And, for a change, it wasn’t all about the wine....the organically farmed Scottish salmon with creamed leeks and crushed potatoes was "to die for" as was the an fried sea bass with smoked salmon Risotto, herb oil and cream (not that I ate both before you start thinking I've doubled in size since my "Feeling the Burn" post)!
So revving the engines once more, after a small ticketing mishap, we rush to our seats in the nick of time (I'm told there is nothing like a Stressed Geoff at 19.26 on a Theatre Night). If John Barrowman had to describe the seats I procured he would simply say "Fantastic, Fantastic, Fantastic" as did we all - but this is just the kind of excellent standard you should expect from a GP Tour...
I was a little worried about seeing the show again after scowling my way through the 2008 movie starring the usually wonderful Meryl Streep. Not that I hated it but...(Ok I am well aware that I am in the minority and it’s certainly not as dreadful as the POTO movie). However; and I believe this about almost any live event/performance, when you are faced with an awesome cast putting their soul into their work mere inches from your seat I fail to see how you wouldn’t be transported, uplifted and taken on the emotional journey. The entire cast were fantastic but I feel a special mention should go to the actress who played Donna, Melissa Jacques.(The role is alternated with Linzi Hateley). What an amazing performance!! We were all completely thrilled with the humour, talent and zhuzh that she brought to the character.
Being quite a mixed group I was very glad to note that Mamma Mia has something for everyone, a lot of Abba for the queens (and ladies of a certain age). An extremely foxy (and not unlike a young Joan Collins) Lorraine Chappell as the man eating Tanya, for Mr B. and plenty of semi naked guys in neoprene (proving that it’s not just fries and Coke that can be "Supersized") – again, mainly for the queens and ladies
Oh and for the more energetic (we were) loads of dancing in the aisles for the finale. For those final ten minutes it didn’t matter who, what or why we were all simply "Dancing Queens".
The night was extravagantly rounded off in one of my favourite haunts, The Hampshire (see previous post....)
The mood in the H was, as always, relaxed warm and witty, even if the Pinot did have a rather perplexing aroma of foamy bananas.
And now it’s onto the next...........I’m afraid my dears there can be no rest for the decadently