London Theatre: The Race for Hagen Dazs and the Dress Code
June 9, 2012
My hubby and I have now attended 5 different plays in and around London. Again, we are trying to take advantage of being so close to world class performances that are easy to get to and have world class performers in them, albeit sometimes people we have never heard of before. So we peruse the papers and I go on line and get tickets when we find something we like or someone we like. So far we have seen:
We Will Rock You, Spamalot, Ladies in lavender, A Royal Concert Gala (ok, music, not a play), and last night, Noises Off. We have enjoyed all of them although we were so tired for the Royal Concert that we had a hard time staying awake – that’s another story.
When we attended our first play, We Will Rock You, we figured we should dress up for the occasion. With a few exceptions, we were probably the best dressed ones in the theatre and that’s saying a lot because we don’t have wonderfully expensive and glamorous clothes, although I do have some nice jewelry to spice things up a bit. So we thought it was just possibly the subject matter of the play and again got dressed up nicely for Spamalot, and again were some of the best dressed attendees. Again, might have been the subject matter of the play. Who does get dressed up for Monty Python? But we adjusted and were not quite as dressed up for Ladies in lavender, and fit in fairly well. The concert was at the Royal Albert Hall which we felt called for dressing a bit nicer again but we were fooled again especially as we had seats high in the rafters and who would have seen us up there in our finery except the school kids around us and the other cheap seat attendees.
Yesterday at Noises Off, which was a real hoot and hilariously funny, my husband just wore jeans and we have hit the dress code on the button, finally. He fit right in with many of the other men in the theatre. I went for a bit better attire than jeans and I fit right in with the other women in the theatre. As we were sitting there looking around, we noticed a few people who were way overdressed and looking lovely and ready to step into a royal enclosure somewhere and snickered as we congratulated ourselves on dressing properly for the London theatres, finally.
All of the theatres we have attended (different ones, all five) have been beautiful inside. No photos, worse luck, because the decorations and décor of the theatres have been lovely. I expect some of these theatres have histories that date back a couple hundred years or more if they haven’t burnt down somewhere along the line. I don’t think they are building them this extravagantly any longer. Have to say the seats aren’t much in the way of comfort so maybe that’s why everyone jumps up at intermission to go somewhere, anywhere, to take a break from their seat.
The other reason people leave their seats at intermission is for ice cream. We were rather surprised at our first outing when people were coming to their seats with all kinds of food and drinks. That just isn’t done in the States. Yet here are people enjoying the play or concert with beer, wine, cokes, Haribo of various kinds, candy bars, etc. Not popcorn though. The single thread that has run through all the theatres though is the Hagen Dazs ice cream. It is expected and discussed at each venue. We listen to people discuss which flavor they will get as soon as the curtain falls for intermission. People tease each other in that “if you aren’t good, you won’t get ice cream!” Indeed, by the time the lights come up on intermission, there are theatre employees standing in the theatre in various places with their tubs of Hagen Dazs ready for the hordes to descend upon them. The ice cream comes in small (very small) tubs, the kind that comes with the heavy paper spoon under the lid. Usually they have strawberry, vanilla, chocolate, and then something else. Last night it was cookies and crème.
As we are trying to experience everything British while we are living here, we decided we would join the rush last night for the ice cream. I got a strawberry and my husband got a chocolate which sadly some of it ended up on his shirt. Those little paper spoons do not hold a great deal and by the time you are getting close to the bottom of the little tub, it’s not as solid as when you started.
We will have to admit that having a small tub of ice cream in the middle of a play was a very pleasant experience and it helped make sitting on the uncomfortable chairs that much easier. Possibly the play was even more hilarious due to this break. I do know we have several more plays lined up with tickets already purchased and now that we have figured out the dress code and joined the rush for the ice cream. I feel we are getting the true British theatre experience and it is good!