God save the Queen and her Navy

A busy week with my parents here in London! Here’s a highlight, from Thursday’s Victory Day celebrations. (The concert was commemorating the end of the Second World War, as well as the sailors of the Royal Navy who served in the Arctic convoys to Russia — including my grandfather, Peter G. Andrews!)

The Belfast's guns have a range of twelve miles. So watch out, suburbs.

The Belfast’s guns have a range of twelve miles. So watch out, suburbs.

We’ve also seen three plays, which I will review for posterity below.

  • One Man, Two Guvnors: The most British play I’ve ever seen, a slapdash comedy set in 1963. Hilarious, even if a certain percent of the jokes went way over our heads. There’s some extended improv sections that bring the house down. A
  • Singin in the Rain: A stage adaptation of the greatest movie musical of all time. This version suffers in comparison, as the leads can’t quite match the charisma of Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, and Debbie Reynolds. But nonetheless it’s entertaining, and the audacity to actually dump gallons and gallons of water on stage for the titular number is a bold move that pays off. B+
  • Jersey Boys: Not my cup of tea, so much. The story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, your enjoyment of the play will basically depend on your patience for their music. I didn’t find their story particularly compelling — and listening to British actors wander around with JOI-ZEE accents for two hours can be torturous — but everyone else seemed to be having a good time. (Median age: 65.) C

also we have been eating lots of tasty stuff before the theater like this lamb shank

also we have been eating lots of tasty stuff before the theater like this lamb shank

Finally, and perhaps most excitingly, we saw the Queen! Wednesday was the State Opening of Parliament, which is like the State of the Union but with everyone on horses and substantially more gold. The Queen delivers a speech — written by the PM and the Government — outlining the legislative plan for the year. (Unlike the SOTU, this Speech takes about four minutes.) But first there’s lots of pomp and ceremony, including the Queen and the Crown Jewels being transported from Buckingham Palace to Westminster. So we went and camped out near the Palace, giving us a chance to watch the Horse Guards set up their posts and the various Jewels to trot past in carriages. Finally, the Queen zoomed by, and it was cool.

pretty nice car you got there, the Queen

pretty nice car you got there, the Queen

this band is very happening

this band is very happening

One week left here! Also great as always to see my Aunt Joan twice, and finally visit the house in Chiswick where she and my grandfather were born in the early 1920s. It’s been a great week and a very good way to close out my time here.

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One comment

  1. Cathy · May 12, 2013

    We’ve had a wonderful trip and Peter has been an exemplary tour guide, although we disagree on theatre criticism. (As to Joisy Boys: That which does not kill you makes you stronger. Or as another guy once sang: “Big boys don’t cry!”). Seriously, it was a joy to be here to visit Peter and Joan and we’re grateful to have had the chance to have a fun week in London.

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