London, Part 4.

Did I mention that we went to theater? ‘Cause we did. We saw four pieces of theater and some stand-up comedy. Let me run through the theatrical stuff real quick-like for you.

1. Warhorse. It’s going into previews at Lincoln Center right now. It was fabulous, one of the best shows I’ve seen in a long time. I highly recommend it. That being said, it is also a total cry-fest. Ooooh, you’re gonna cry, possibly forever. It’s based on a children’s war story. What the hell, England? War stories for kids? You read that material to them at bedtime? “And then the grenade exploded, and Michael was blown to smithereens right in front of his childhood friend Alan. Alan then had the metallic taste of Michael’s blood in his mouth. Nighty-night kids!” Anyway, the roles of the horses are played by giant, horse-size puppets run by three people each. You can see the puppeteers, but after a while you don’t even notice them there. The horses breathe, and their ears wiggle back and forth, and they snort and slap away flies with their tail, it’s just amazing. It’s going to be one of the best pieces of theater you’ll see in ages. Here are some pictures I found online.

Quick recap: Phenomenal theater, you will cry until your face puffs up and people think you got punched in the face in a brawl over syrup.

2. The Woman in Black. This is spooooooooky bit of theater. Since you’re never going to see it, I can give you the plot summary. Woman A has baby out of wedlock. Her sister, Woman B, offers to take the child and raise it as her own. Woman B is a lady of means who lives in a big house surrounded by spoooooky marshes covered by spoooooky mist. Woman A is distraught but has no other options, so she agrees. Woman B says Woman A can visit the boy, but must not reveal her true relationship to the child. When the boy is six, Woman A, while waiting by the window of the big house for the boy to return from an outing, sees the pony and cart that the child and a caretaker are riding in. She then sees the cart, pony, child and caretaker fall into the marsh and get sucked under. Woman A is completely emotionally destroyed, develops a wasting disease and dies. Her ghost now haunts the big house her sister lived in. If you see her (woman dressed all in black, skeletal face), that means your child will die shortly after. Everyone in the nearby village avoids the house because – hey, shocker! – they don’t want to bump into her and have their kids die in unpleasant ways. But a young lawyer goes up there to close out the estate and organize the finances and creeeeeepy things happen.

Anyone who knows me knows I do not like child-based terror. This show had all the things that make the skin on my back get icy and leave the room. Rocking chair with no one in it? Check. Music box that no one opened but is playing anyway? Check. Flashlight zipping around a room filled with children’s toys and clothes? Check. M. Night Shyamalan-style build-ups of silence and suspense following by loud screaming that caused me to crap my pants? Check.

Quick recap: Spoooooooky.

3) The Children’s Hour. It was meh. It had lots of famous people in it (Carol Kane, Ellen Burstyn, Kiera Knightley and Elizabeth Moss), but some of the people are just not very good stage actors. Combined with a script that is not exactly riveting (Are they lesbians? Aren’t they? Who cares?), it made for a very tepid experience. And at no point did Carol Kane say, “LIAH! LIAH!!”, which was a disappointment. But the good thing is that you can drink beer outside. Here is Cricket drinking beer outside the theater.

Quick recap: Meh.

4) The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Okay, I admit, this is a wholly American show, but I love the hell out of it and I wanted to see how the Brits handled such New-York-y material (answer: really freakin’ well). Since it was the first night of previews, Cricket and I had front-row seats, which was exciting. I was reminded how great a show it was and if it ever comes back to this area, I highly recommend you go see it. I have rarely laughed so hard.

5) And the stand-up comedy. It turned out to be terrific, but I won’t lie – Cricket asked me to pick some stand-up, and I picked this one solely based on the fact that it was being held at a place called The Slug and Lettuce.

If you go to London, go to this show. It’s called Soho Ho, it’s held at The Slug and Lettuce on Saturday nights, and you get a discount to go to an disco down the street called The Loop with a real light-up floor a la Saturday Night Fever in the basement. We did not go to The Loop because we were coming down with Travel Plague, alas, but had we been healthy, we would have.

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