Thursday, December 19, 2013

Apollo-ing News, Old Chap

Call me tasteless, but I can't resist blogging about the ceiling collapse at the Apollo Theatre in London's West End before the dust settles, because this certainly gives new meaning to the phrase "The performance brought down the house."

How the fashionable set dresses for a night in the West End.

The Apollo is the very theatre where last spring we paid through the nose for great seats for ourselves and our nieces to see the show that, until this evening, was playing there: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Fantastic show, amazing stagecraft and acting, worth every penny.  As for the theatre itself:  what a "tip," or as we say in the States, "garbage heap."

But, then, almost every West End theatre is a tip: narrow aisles,  seats in odd heights and sizes, subterranean stages, bomb-shelter lighting, and plumbing that dates from the Thomas Crapper era. The Brits must have extremely strong bladders, because while I see them guzzling down alcoholic drinks during the interval, I also see them, probably wisely, avoiding the very unrestful restrooms, or as they non-euphemistically refer to them: toilets.

The Apollo's were particularly appalling with flusher handles that while they moved up and down, didn't actually dispense water with which to create flushing.  Our very American comments and suggestions elicited much laughter from the line at the ladies' loo. 

In addition, almost every one of these dumps charges a restoration or renovation fee, but the only renovations that ever appear are new posters for new shows, and perhaps a coat of  Pepto pink paint on the decaying plaster.

If this had happened in the States, the lawyers would already be circling the carcass, and the CYA pronouncements would be belching out of corporate headquarters.  I'll be interested to see how it plays out across the pond.

Curious Incident in the Night-Time, indeed.