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West End - Les Mis and the Chocolate Factory

Hi Everyone!

My Dad and brother were off down to London at the end of May for some football game (my Dad might kill me for not knowing, it was some fancy final game). Me and my Mum decided we’d tag along and go see a West End show. 

We stayed in Hatfield which is where my brother went to Uni because well, its cheaper and its just as simple to get the train into London from there as it is to get the train from Huddersfield to Leeds. I suggest to anyone with a chronic illness especially that involves being tired to head to the place you’re going the night before. It was much better than tiring myself out in the car or on a train in the morning and not enjoying the rest of the day. Also it just makes sense incase your trains delayed or there’s bad traffic. This happened once going down to Watford last January, luckily Warner Bros knew about the bad accident on the motorway and let us transfer our tickets for the next morning. 

The first show we saw was Les Miserables which I’ve been in love with since the film came out last year. Yes, I’m ashamed to say I hadn’t heard of Les Mis until then and the only reason I saw the film is because of the awesome cast and I love a musical. I wasn’t so keen on the film to start with, I didn't understand at first why they sang everything, and I mean everything and it was so long that my illness kicked in big time and I became really uncomfortable in the cinema. When I got home though I was researching the whole thing and singing all the main songs. I love to see how films are made and everything behind the scenes really fascinates me.

The stage version is just as long, but you do get an interval with any stage show which helps. The set is amazing and so well put together, I was mostly impressed with the barricades and how they create these amazing and pretty massive scenes in the film on such a small space. Every actor or actress was incredible and I couldn't believe that as it was coming to the end of this casts year on Les Mis that every single one of them still had this energy and performed like it was the first show. These people are some of the most talented people ever, to be able to put on 7 or more shows a week to this standard is just amazing. Little Gavroche has to be my favourite and he stole the show for me, to get kids that young to be able to do what they do, lets just say I don't think I could do it. (I know they have several actors for kids)

After Les Mis me and my Mum went to Bubba Gumps for tea. We go every time we’re in Florida and this is the only one in the UK right now. We have to say, as much as the Florida one is amazing, this just wasn’t the same. The staff just don’t have the energy that American’s do and I found them to be quite rude. The menu is completely the same but the food just wasn’t right. We ordered what we would normally order in America and it didn't taste the same. The restaurant is in a massive, high ceiling, open room which doesn't have the same atmosphere as Florida. The overall experience was just, well, blah. I can’t describe it, it just wasn’t the same. 

For the evening showing we went to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at the Theatre Royal on Drury Lane. I loved walking from Piccadilly Circus through Covent Garden to Drury Lane. After climbing about 8 flights of stairs and collapsing on the floor half way and again at the top we were moved downstairs to better seats for me as after a day of little pain and fatigue, my illness kicked in and wiped me out. The show started and I was knackered, I fell asleep before Willy Wonka came onto stage and I don’t know how they all got to the chocolate factory but of what I saw of the first half the set was incredible, one of the best stage shows sets I’ve seen. 

In the interval I managed to walk about and splash some water in my eyes and wake up a bit. I was awake for the whole of Act 2. The sets just got better and better and I couldn't believe how they were making these things happen. Augustus Gloop going up the shoot was so good and I couldn't figure out how they did it. The squirrels for Veruca Salt was that good they were almost life like. I loved how they made Violet Beauregard blow up and Mike TeeVee shrink. My favourite part was the glass elevator over the audience whilst Willy Wonka and Charlie Bucket sang Imagination. Willy Wonka gave a stellar performance but my favourite of the whole night was little Charlie Bucket. I can’t explain how good he was, to remember all his lines, songs, places, movements, dances, etc was amazing he carried the show so well and just so well acted out, no over or under acting, just consistent and everything you think of when you imagine Charlie Bucket. The other kids were amazing too and for them all to be able to do this every week just amazes me. 

I realise I’ve said amazing a lot in this post, but it was AMAZING.
Let me know what shows you’ve seen on stage and what I should see next?

Take Care and I’ll see you on WEDNESDAY!
Natasha Jade

Twitter - @NJSpychalski
Instagram - njspychalski


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