Day 3: Shopping, or not; National Gallery and Much Ado About Nothing
Friday 17 Jun 2011 - Saturday 18 Jun 2011
Wow, that was a full day. I awoke and did all the usual- cereal, coffee, etc., and then started my day. First on the list was Somerset House, a nearby museum. Unfortunately I arrived too early and since they didn't open for another hour, I decided to do some window shopping and general sight seeing. I ended up at Covent Garden Market which is a collection of shops and stalls, sort of a cross between a mall and the Saturday Market. I grabbed second breakfast (I'm finding my Hobbit roots, I suppose) of a boiled egg, coffee and a scone, both of which were quite good.
When the shops opened I browsed around. One place made handmade bathrobes which were stunning. Thick terrycloth robes that looked like nothing so much as wizards' robes. But alas, they were too dear and I left without purchasing one. In fact that was how the rest of my day went, as well: find something cool; don't buy it.
From there I wandered a bit taking pictures of interesting architecture. I found a tidy little lane tucked nearby that could have served as inspiration for Diagon Alley. Every store sold books or prints or artwork, coins, and so forth. There was even a bookstore dedicated to magic and the occult. I ambled through, admired some Rackham prints at one of the shops and finally continued on without buying.
It was the same drill when I found a store that specialized in hats and caps. I looked splendid in the bowler, dashing in a topper jaunty in a boater, and suave in a fedora, but I could not find a way to justify the expense. When I win the lottery though…Top hats and monocles all around!
Eventually I made my way to the National Gallery and proceeded to overload my senses. There is now probably no painter who lived before the twentieth century that I have not seen a major work from. I think I have seen every artist mentioned in all my art history classes, save for modern and contemporary ones. And much of what I saw were the paintings that I've seen slides of. Botticelli, Bellini, Carravagio, da Vinci, Holbein, Rembrandt, Kranz, Titian, Tintoretto, Degas, Renoir, Monet, Manet, Seurat, van Eyck and van Gogh. It was all so amazing, I was practically drooling by the time I left.
Today I head for Edinburgh Scotland by train. Tonight, a new city to explore.
I left the museum with enough time to catch supper prior to the show, so I stopped at a pub near the theater. I tried the Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding Wraps, which sounds weird but was excellent. Basically the Yorkshire pudding was wrapped like a tortilla around sliced roast beef, into a British Burrito. Weird but good. Really.
Finally it was time to see Much Ado About Nothing. Normally I am not a fan of modernizing Shakespeare, but this play really worked. It was set during the Falklands war, so the prince, count and so forth were all dressed as naval officers. Hero came off initially as a ditzy blond while Beatrice was her sensible, acerbic cousin.
It. Was. Hilarious.
When David tenant made his entrance as Benedict, driving a mini golf cart emblazoned with British flags and a custom horn tune, I just about died. The banter between he and Beatrice was spot on. Every time Tenant or Catherine Tate spoke, the audience was in stitches, not just because of the text, but because the sub text and delivery were so good. Often it was an expression or a gesture that entirely changed the meaning of the words, so kudos must go out to the director as well.
At the end they received a standing ovation, and had to take four curtain calls before the audience would let them go.
An excellent end to an excellent day.