Listening to: Sheryl Crow
Reading: Joanna Maitland, His Cavalry Lady (enjoyed it very much)
We had a wonderful time on Saturday. Madam loved her birthday present (and the one we had to get delivered from halfway round the world, from her brother – how amazing the Internet is). We had dinner at Tootsie’s, where our waitress was fabulous: when we’d ordered dessert, suddenly all the lights went out and she appeared with this fantastic indoor firework (as in a Roman candle) stuck in some ice cream, and the whole restaurant sang happy birthday to Madam. The look on her face is going to stay with me for a long time, bless her. (I overheard her telling the story to her cousin, and she was so thrilled that everyone in the restaurant, even though they didn't know her, sang to her.)
And then it was Beauty and the Beast. The tickets were expensive, but they were worth every single penny. It’s the first time I’ve ever been to a musical at the theatre, and I definitely want to go again. The acting was great (the guy who played Lumiere stole the show), the singing was good (the woman who played Mrs Potts was my favourite: lovely voice), and the set/lighting was stunning. (So were the indoor fireworks!) The costumes were very good, too. It took me three-quarters of the show to work out how they’d done Chip. His head was in a tea-cup on top of what looked like an open-sided tea trolley with two completely empty shelves – but there was nowhere for someone to hide a body, and the cast walked round the tea trolley, right next to the edge, so he couldn’t have been kneeling behind it on a ledge. It was actually a Pepper’s ghost type thing – i.e. mirrors at an angle – extremely effective.
But the really stunning bit was the transformation of the Beast. I still haven’t worked that out. Obviously part of his costume was a wig and the furry feet and arms. But his face looked as if it was stage make-up, not a mask. They had him spinning on a trapeze (which looked amazing), and then there was about five seconds of strobe lighting (where I can imagine the costume change was done by Velcro) – but there’s no WAY you can remove stage make-up in that short a space of time. There weren't any lines on his face from a close-fitting mask. So how??? Everyone clapped like crazy at that bit. Just stunning. The cast clearly enjoyed their roles, and the atmosphere was great. They deserved the huge applause at the end. (My hands hurt from clapping.) And it didn’t matter that it was pouring with rain outside and we got a bit damp between the car park, the restaurant and the theatre. I think this is a birthday my daughter will really remember.
Sunday was the family party; I was up early, baking, so when everyone turned up there were plenty of the infamous cheese stars and cookies, as well as the stuff in the oven for lunch. Madam wanted to sing to everyone (practising for Tuesday’s concert). OK, she knew everyone in the room and they’d all made a fuss of her, but it’s still pretty daunting, singing two songs a capella in front of 15 people. She made a really good job of it – kept the beat really well, did the quiet refrain followed by the louder (and slower) last line of ‘I can see clearly now’, and… Oh, I was so proud of her.
Madam’s cake was very chocolately indeed. And then, once it was dark (and we’d managed to drag the men away from watching the motor racing)… well, the pics say it all. DH (aided by son) did a great job.