Saturday, January 5, 2013

What a Drag

We see two shows while we're in London. One is Matilda, on the West End, which is fabulous. And the other is a lot less expensive -- a real British tradition: the Christmas pantomime. Not pantomime like the French guy in white face who can't get out of the imaginary box, but rather a goofy, bastardized musical version of an old classic tale, always starring a man in drag. As if there weren't too few parts for women anyway. Sigh. Completely by coincidence, the despised school matron in Matilda, Miss Trunch Bull, is also played by a man in drag.
Somehow, Gigi ends up onstage for a small audience-participation portion of the show, which of course she loves. The rather laaaarge woman in the bonnet to her left is the star of the show in drag. That might be pretty self-evident.
We enjoy both shows to some extent: Matilda is excellent, and the girls and I love it. Anthony doesn't love it because he doesn't see it, since his general opinion of musicals is that he'd rather have his toe-nails removed one by one (although he did get dragged to and admit really liking the musical "Wicked", so there are exceptions). The girls thoroughly enjoy the pantomime, but both Anthony and I suffer through it to some extent. I think that's one of those traditions that's really fun for children, and really nostalgic if you've grown up with it, but otherwise, it's just a pretty low-brow slapstick musical. Glad to have done it once, I suppose.

But even the pantomime shines in comparison with what we consider the biggest drag of the trip: watching the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace. I knew going in it wouldn't be my favorite, having suffered through it once before, about 15 years ago. But I did not say anything negative to cloud the opinion of the rest of my family; they just came to the same conclusion themselves. A whole lot of waiting around, jostling with crowds (and we even had a fine view in the front), and -- in our case -- stomping to keep warm, for a bit of pomp and circumstance. I think we would have prefered more pomp, and less circumstance. 

But the good news is that now we can all say we've been there, done that, and we don't ever need to do it again. As for the rest of London, we feel like there is still quite a lot here we haven't covered. Luckily, we have many friends here and feel sure we'll be back. Until then, ta-ta!



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