Romeo and Juliet

Sunday was our day out in London to see Romeo and Juliet at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre.

The Oxford Tube coach fleet has been upgraded since last I visited the capital, with better access to the top deck and more knee room: there is actual space between my knees and the seat in front. We were a little worried about Notting Hill Carnival causing delays but there was just a little queueing before the Notting Hill tube stop, nothing terrible.

We followed our London Experience Plan A, which means alighting at Marble Arch and strolling down Oxford Street. We lunched at Selfridges's Café 400, where Jeremy likes the wine and I am amused by their gourmet Italian-style hamburger. Jeremy bought glitter and a nautlius-shaped dips tray. Selfridges have added a lot of Playlounge stuff to their basement -- a whole perspex cube of those one-eyed soft toys from New York, for example, and shelves and shelves of Monsterism kits.

On then to Regents Street and Carnaby Street, which we use merely as our route to the real Playlounge, a tiny plastic-toy-filled shop with a mediocre web site. They have generously-sized Moomintroll statues (or action figures?) and comical robot/spaceman figures from a design company inexplicably called Esperanto. Further along Oxford Street and then New Oxford Street we find Gosh comics (opposite the British Museum) to discover that all of the Whores of Mensa Jeremy had left had sold, and she was invited to send them some more. Success!

Through the magic of the A-Z we found our way to the South Bank and strolled past various important galleries and institutions to the Globe itself to discover (shock) that Romeo and Juliet was sold out! At this point we wondered if we might have been wiser to follow London Experience Plan B, which involves making a beeline for the Globe, buying tickets, and spending the afternoon in South Bank galleries. Oh, well. Jeremy's idea was to spend the balance of the afternoon in the Tate Modern, and when that closed to seek returns at the Globe.

The Turbine Hall of the Tate Modern is currently home to a diverse collection of heads on plinths. The effect is weird -- it looks computer generated, with the neutral grey, cuboid plinths arranged in a regular grid. It's like those VRML galleries that failed to take the internet by storm in the 1990s.

After Jeremy had taken me through the highlights of the Tate, we were duly evicted at 18:00 and slunk around to the returns queue at the Globe. And as luck (or weird theatre planning) would have it, we were rewarded with two standing places. Since we always go for the groudling option (£5 to watch standing in the yard in front of the stage) this was perfect. Play was great; Jeremy has already described it in her LiveJournal, so I'll just add that I was really impressed by Mercutio (James Garnon). Can't wait to see Much Ado about Nothing (with Josie Lawrence as Benedick).

Afterwards a late dinner at a Pizza Express that has sprung up next door to the Globe -- dining opposite a window with a view of St Paul's cathedral and the Millenium Bridge. Stylish!

We walked back via South Bank (where a miniature rave was being held underneath a pier on a beach revealed by the low tide), Westmister Bridge (walking right past Big Ben as it chimed the half-hour) and hence to Victoria station. On the way we passed a police officer armed with a machine-gun, which was a little surprising. We also passed a memorial to Henry Purcel depicting English Baroque music frothing out of his periwig.

Update (2004-09-20). Photos of Parliment on Flickr.