Matilda. The Tate and beautiful blue skies

November 07, 2013

Matilda. The Tate and beautiful blue skies

I can’t believe we’ve been in London for six days already.  The time has flown and I’ve loved every minute.  This morning I wanted to catch up on the blog before we head off to a day of events in Coventry.  After arriving and getting settled last Friday, I spent Saturday reading through the page proofs of Alice-Miranda in Japan.  I was determined to get it done as we were heading off to see Matilda the Musical in the evening.  Saturday was a beautiful blue sky day and sitting in the flat it was gorgeous to look out and see the sun.  It was the next best thing to being out there!

We headed into the city about half past five to find somewhere to eat.  I am always blown away by the sheer number of people on the street in London on Saturday night (and especially around the West End) – this was just an ordinary Saturday night but it’s like Sydney on New Year’s Eve!  We found the Cambridge Theatre and picked up our tickets before heading off to dinner.  There are so many restaurants close by, we had no trouble finding a table at a place called Belgo – which is a Belgian chain.  Their Covent Garden restaurant is in a cellar divided into two  – one side a beer hall style venue and the other a more intimate room.  We joined the crowd in the beer hall.  Food was good value and the service was speedy.  In fact it was too fast and we wound up walking around for half an hour before the show.  A brisk wind had sprung up and we were glad to get inside again.

The Cambridge Theatre is by no means a glamorous venue.  It reminded me a little of the movie theatre at Avoca Beach with an even flatter floor.  The set was suitably child like and the theatre, as you’d expect was brimming with kids and their parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents.  But there were plenty of adults sans kids too.

The storyline meanders in and out of the book, with some obvious variations (Miss Honey’s father in the book is a doctor and in the musical he’s an escapologist and her mother is an acrobat).  The way this is woven into the story with Mrs Phelps, the Librarian is brilliant.  Mrs Wormwood’s bingo vices have been changed to ballroom dancing (some political correctness there I think) but she was amazing.  Harry Wormwood was suitably slimy and Matilda’s brother was even more stupid than he comes across in the book or the film.  The cast was incredible and The Trunchbull, played by a man, was terrifying and funny at the same time.  There are some fun special effects which had the audience gasping and the lasers could be problematic for some (I do wonder if very small children might find the whole thing a little scary).  The little girl who played Matilda that night (there are four of them who share the role) was one of the most incredible child actors I’ve ever seen.  She sang like an angel too.  Her name is Lollie McKenzie.  For me the character I was least taken with in some ways and yet in the book and movie I adored her, was Miss Honey.  I’m still wondering why that is, because she’s shy and scared in both the other versions just as she is in this.  The woman playing her sings beautifully and is a great dancer too but she just didn’t click as much for me.  Still thinking…

Anyway, if you are in London or New York and have the opportunity to see Matilda I wouldn’t hesitate.  I’m hoping that it comes to Australia so I can take my nephews and niece too.

Sunday morning dawned bright and blue and Ian and I headed off early for a walk along The Thames.  We wound up at The Tate Gallery for breakfast.  I was so pleased we went there.  The walk through British art over the centuries is fabulous and I was especially thrilled to see the permanent Turner, Constable and Blake exhibitions  It also got me thinking about a new Alice-Miranda adventure.

We then headed way over to the other side of the city to The Shard (hoping to get a table for lunch).  Ian had been trying to call the restaurants all morning to no avail and when we got there they said that they were having trouble with the phones.  So, against all hope it seemed it might still be possible to get a table.  We took the lift up – the view is stunning, and enquired at the restaurant to the right.  Alas they had nothing.  Just as we entered the restaurant on the left, another woman beat us to the hostess and nabbed the last table!  Never mind.  We enjoyed another long walk near the Tower Bridge and found somewhere else to eat with a view of the river.  We might try again this weekend but will book this time!

We walked all the way back into the city to Piccadilly and had a bit of a look around before heading back to the flat and another read through of the proofs.

It was a lovely weekend – I hope the weather stays blue at least for part of the time – any more than that would be greedy!



Peter Taylor


I always love hearing about London – the setting for my historical YA creative biography in progress/on the back burner. I’ve lived in Aus for 30 years – about the same time that I lived in England from birth, in Hertfordshire.
For your followers, here’s the view from the Shard – use your cursor or up, down, sideways arrows to take in the 360 degree view, photographed from the crane as it completed the construction.
Hope you get to eat there. We also enjoyed eating at The Mayflower on the river at Bermondsey, last time we were over – we had a unit close by.
All best wishes

November 7, 2013 at 7:33 pm

    Jacqueline Harvey


    Thanks for your comment Peter. London has been wonderful and we’ve seen blue skies interspersed with more typically cloudy days. We’re now in the North West in Lancashire. We didn’t get to the Shard this time but we will be back in London in a couple of weeks so perhaps then. Kind regards, Jacqueline

    November 13, 2013 at 4:36 am

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