London Broken Puppet Adventure – Day Two

Thursday 24th September 2015

(Clare’s 30th + 3 Birthday celebrations!)

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Today is a) The most exciting and b) The most expensive day of our trip. It’s Clare’s 33rd Birthday, but we’re pretending she’s 30, because we were supposed to do this trip 3 years ago, and delayed it due to our health. This year, we decided life’s too short to wait for a recovery that might never come, and spontaneously booked tickets for War Horse a few months ago. So, we’ve literally been waiting 3 years for this day, and it was completely worth it!

Our day started with the usual battles to get mobile, showered, dressed and set off for our first birthday stop. We were half an hour late leaving the hotel, because we’d spent way too many spoons* the day before. (*Anyone not familiar with the ‘spoons’ metaphor, please check out ‘The Spoon Theory’ by Christina Miserandino at http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com – we use it, a lot!).

We were struggling physically to get going, but we were so ready for this day, nothing was going to spoil it for us.

Our first port of call was Alec Taranti’s, A shop recommended by our fantastic Puppet Carving Tutor John Roberts of Puppetcraft, who had included it in our suppliers list. It was only in Warren Street, which was a minor detour from where we were staying, so we decided we’d like to go there and choose our own chisels, rather than buying them online. That would be the most expensive part of the trip then! We each got totally carried away and bought 7 chisels each. But we were sensible – we didn’t buy any matching ones, meaning we now have a complete 16 piece set between us for our new puppet workshop in Clare’s spare room.

Our Puppet craft experience and our new tools – along with all the toys to keep them sharp and in good nick – means we are now fully equipped to hand carve all the puppets we need for our forthcoming projects and performances. And what better way to inspire us to finish our own carving masterpieces, than to fill our tool box with the best chisels we can get, and go to see probably the best puppet show the world has ever seen, all in one day!

Of course, you can’t do all that on an empty stomach, and fortunately for us, Taranti’s is right next door to Smuggler’s Tavern…which do a great breakfast, in case you were wondering!

Warren Street even has its very own tube station, on the Northern Line, which is very handy, considering our next stop was Waterloo Station to meet up with our V.I.P Guests for the evening, Clare’s Mum Carole, and Aunty Jan. We had a birthday lunch at a cafe in the station (Because we’re posh like that!) before making our way back to the Hampton by Hilton where our VIPs were staying, to get spruced up for our headline theatre adventure at the New London Theatre on Drury Lane. Time for those posh Harrods Chocolates and some champers!

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We were treated to a lovely fish and chip dinner at a pub just across the street, where a lovely waiter did his best to persuade us we liked at least 1 of the 178 beers they were famed for offering. He tried, but he failed. We stuck with Wine, Lemonade, Water and a cheeky birthday Baileys!

Before we knew it, it was time for the main event, and we hobbled across the road to the New London Theatre, in a childlishly over-excitable manner. We were feeling pretty Broken, but there were puppets, so we were distracted, which was fine!

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We could right a whole other blog about the sheer brilliance that was ‘War Horse’, and we may well do that another day, but for now, suffices to say that if you have not seen it yet, go. Soon. Because it’s west end run is closing in early 2016 and you don’t have much time left to see it! It is amazing. World Class. A real spectacle. Even if you don’t really like puppets, you will not fail to be blown away by this incredible performance. We were totally captivated from start to finish, and despite how amazed and fascinated we were by the epic puppetry on display, we were also completely mesmerised by the skillful acting, beautiful live vocals and truly heart rendering narrative. The projections and production aesthetics were of equal standards, and there was not a single thing we could fault. It was so easy to see why this show had such an award-winning run, and why it has toured all over the globe to rave reviews. We’d easily got the best seats in the house, and even the incredibly tall man sitting – ironically in seat 33 – directly in front of Clare! – did not distract from the stage, even a little bit. We had hoped this would be the highlight of our whole trip, and it really was. As much as we loved Joey and the pantomime like Goose, they were far too big to hide in our suitcases, so we couldn’t bring home any of these awesome creations, but we did bring home a whole heap of inspiration, aspirations and memories of an evening we will never forget.

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