A Couple In England - Day Four - Part Four




Hubby and I entered our hotel and made a bee line for the bar, where we picked up a bucket of ice before heading up to our room. Once upstairs, I made us each a rum and coke, which we gratefully sipped while relaxing - me in a chair, Hubby on the bed.

"What are we doing tonight?" Hubby asked once he'd gotten some of the nectar down his throat.

"Dinner and the theatre."

"What theatre?"

"One Man, Two Governors. It's a comedy. It's supposed to be truly funny. We could have dinner at Burger and Lobster before the show."

Hubby gave me a look that I imagined was usually reserved for death row convicts.

"Why are you looking at me like that?" I asked.

"Would you be really mad if I didn't go to the theatre?"

"Not go to the theatre? It's the Theatre Royal Haymarket," I told him. Why I should tell him that, I've no idea. It just came out. "What's wrong? Don't you feel well? We have tickets. Already booked. For months now."

"I've had enough fun for today. We've been on our feet all day, Hon. My back hurts, I'm tired and I'm old. You keep forgetting that I'm old."
 
"You're not old," I told him, topping up our drinks. "Do you want to go to Burger and Lobster for dinner then?"
 
"Can we just eat downstairs in the hotel restaurant?" This was not good. Hubby must be well and truly tired to turn down a repeat visit to Burger and Lobster. Which was just in the next street, bear in mind.
 
So after finishing our cocktails, we made our way downstairs to the Tiger Green Brasserie for dinner, walking through the bar on our way to the dining room.


 
 
 



We were seated and menues were produced and before too much longer Hubby and I had ordered further drinks (a Black Russian for him, a glass of Pinot Noir for me) and a steak each. As we waited for our meals to arrive, I glanced around the room, recalling that the hotel had been created by knocking together several adjoining townhouses. I fell into a familiar reverie - if I were given this space, how would I make it livable? I usually do this when I'm killing time in a space with some history. Which is odd, as I don't have any sort of a design background, but there you have it. I'd restore the fireplaces, first off and, as always, my mind ranged round the room while I decided which walls I would cover with bookshelves.
 
"You're mad at me because I don't want to go to the theater, aren't you? Is that why you're not talking to me?" Hubby's voice brought me back to the present.
 
"No. Not at all. I'll just go by myself. It would be more fun with you, but I can still go."
 
Our steaks arrived and we began to eat. "What are we doing tomorrow."
 
"Tomorrow we take the train to Bath. I can't wait for you to see it. It's a gorgeous city, the architecture is fabulous and the surrounding countryside is just like a picture postcard."
 
"Is that where you want to live one day? Where are we going to live? Not London? I couldn't take the crowds."
 
"No, not London. I don't have a particular place in mind," I said, sipping my wine. "When the time comes, we'll make a circle round London that represents a two hour train journey to town. Once we see what falls within that circle, we can make a more educated choice.'
 
"You. You can make the choice. I don't know anything about living in England. Just pick somewhere peaceful, will you? What's Bath like? Is it going to be as crowded as London?"
 
"No! It's nothing like London. Oh, it's going to be fabulous," I said. "Bath at New Year's. Fireworks over the Abbey. The Wellington Suite at Duke's Hotel. And a few surprises."
 
Hubby actually groaned. "Oh, God, no surprises. Please, no surprises."
 
After dinner, we went up to our room, where I bundled up in my outerwear, gave Hubby a farewell kiss and left for the theatre. First, I stopped in at Boot's and got Hubby some Nuromol (ibuprofen and paracetamol) and a box of those things you stick on your back that heat up and are supposed to help aches and pains. Reader, I had anticipated my return to Bath for months and was not about to let Hubby's ailments throw a damper on all that I had planned.
 
I arrived at the Theatre Royal Haymarket and found my seat, placing all my belongings on Hubby's empty seat beside me. I settled in and looked around at the gorgeous interior of the Theatre, which began life as a theatre in 1720. Samuel Foote acquired the lease in 1747, and in 1766 he gained a royal patent to perform dramas in the summer months. The original building was a little further north in the same street. It has been at its current location since 1821, when it was redesigned by John Nash. In 1873, the first ever matinee performance at a theatre was put on here, a custom soon followed by theatres world wide.





 
 Should you wish to learn more about Samuel Foote, I direct you to Ian Kelly's fabulous biography, which can be found here.
 
The theatre began to fill and I began to cough. Hack, hack, hack. I fished around in my bag and found a candy to suck on. The lights dimmed and the play began just as I was beginning to suspect a sore throat coming on.
 
As to the play, here's the most concise review of the plot I found on the web:
 
"One Man, Two Governors is set in Brighton in 1963 and centres around Francis Henshall, a man hard up for cash, desperate to know where his next meal is coming from and who is easily confused. Henshall accidentally ends up being the personal minder for two separate employers, one Rosco Crabbe, a well known gangster (of sorts), and Stanley Stubbers a criminal who is fleeing the police. But of course, Rosco is actually Rachel, his sister, disguising herself as her Rosco, who is now dead, in order to retrieve cash that is owed to Rosco so that Rachel can run away with her criminal lover, who is none other than the aforementioned Stanley Stubbers.
 
 
 
As the play unfolds we see a frantic Henshall, completely unaware of the connection and indeed that Rachel is in disguise, desperately trying to keep the two separated so neither one realises he’s taken a job with two employers.
 
It’s a silly, slapstick comedy play, which are often either way too over the top and put on that they feel strained or borderline lame. Not this one though – we were laughing out loud almost from the moment we were seated, right the way through the end. With a good balance between a structured plot, planned gags, audience participation and improvisation this play had me in stitches and included clever dialogue which, while British, was easily understood and translatable."

You can read the complete review here. The play was fabulous, laugh out loud funny in many places and it thoroughly took my mind off my cough. As the curtain came down, I bounded from my seat and ran down the stairs and out into the rainy night so as to avoid the exiting crowd. Waiting just in front of the theatre was a young man on a bicycle propelled rickshaw.
 
"Where to?" he asked, apparently unaware of the drizzle and frigid temperature.
 
"Half Moon Street," I said, out of politeness.
 
He looked puzzled. "Half Moon Street . . . . let me see . . . . is that over by . . . . . ?"
 
"Thanks anyway," I said over my shoulder as I hopped into the first cab in the waiting rank. I made it back to our hotel without further incident, but really this was a day for strange cab encounters.
 
Hubby was still awake when I returned. "How was it?" he asked.
 
"Hysterical. You would have loved it. How do you feel?"
 
"I feel okay. I just wasn't up for any more fun."
 
I kissed him and then made a start on packing. Later, after a long, hot shower I got into bed and contemplated all the joys that were in store for us tomorrow. I would miss London, of course, but Bath awaited. And the Wellington Suite. And fireworks. Oh, joy!
 
To Be Continued . . . . . .
 
 

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