I did not expect today to be one of the hottest days in London. Not when I booked 3 tickets for The Sound of Music for a day out with my family (Mum and Dad) back in August. But typically the thermometer hit highs of 28-30 degrees Celsius and watching a performance at an Open Air Theatre wasn’t the easiest in my condition.
I dressed myself in a red dress cotton strapless dress which I bought on my travels at some point so it’s brandless. (I actually have a dedicated travelling wardrobe that I pack when I go on any kind of back packing trip full of loose fit items, cotton and cheap bits to cool me down whichever country I might end up). And this dress really did help to not over heat me. Especially teamed with flip flops, a straw fedora hat (a cheap purchase on a Brazilian beach), a make shift fan out of cardboard, copious amounts of water and my must have item cooling spray from Boots. (Because the cap was missing and it was the last one on the shelf I got it for a measly £1.00 down from £4.99 with a little bit of flirting and lots of smiling.. or in reality he just felt sorry for the sweaty chubby pregnant lady!)
(The Boots website is down at the moment but I’ve found this link to another blog which tells you more about the cooling spray).
And my favourite item of all time my Folding Ray Ban sunglasses I bought from Selfridges a while back. Just look at the pictures and tell me they aren’t the best invention ever!
With as much prep as possible I met up with my parents and we walked from Baker Street Underground through Regents Park, stopping off for a quick picnic before entering the Open Air Theatre grounds.
The theatre has plenty of shady covered areas to sit while you enjoy a drink or two or some pre show food. But with a belly full of our own picnic goodies we didn’t try anything out pre show. But you can pick up snacks to full on picnic baskets should you wish.
(There is also a lawn area with picnic tables to eat at).
A bell rung out indicating for everyone to find their seats in the auditorium. We were seated in the upper tier in the centre and our seat views were perfect. If however you do book in the summer and you are pregnant I recommend booking seats to the left hand side (when facing the stage) as that area was covered by the shade of the trees by the time the 2.15pm performance started. The shade does gradually move across the theatre and by the interval our section was shaded but the right hand side of the seating area wasn’t shaded at any point. (Although there are two performances so a later performance at 7.45pm would probably see the whole arena covered by shade and certainly a lot cooler).
Bear in mind that today was a sunny day. Even if it’s cold or it rains, performances still take place and so you should be suitably dressed. I know that when the weather gets cooler you can buy blankets from the theatre but I personally think you should check the weather out and bring your bits from home.
Anyway back to the performance. I chose this particular show as I know my Mum just doesn’t tend to follow new storylines. The Sound of Music has been a favourite movie of our families since my sister and I were little girls so I knew she’d follow the story line with ease.
The performance was brilliant. An absolutely epic show. The cast were top notch and the singing was incredible. The actors took to the stage and used the surrounding areas and walk ways throughout the performance. Keeping the audience entertained and enthralled.
However about thirty minutes before the end of the first half my pregnancy bladder needed a trip to the ladies, so I sneaked off to use the extremely well kept and clean toilet facilities. Instead of returning to my seat I stayed under the coolness of the eating area and watched the rest of the first half in the shade through the entrance ways to the theatre. As a bonus it did mean I had a table reserved for the interval for my parents and I to seat ourselves down in the shade and indulge in some Organic Cornish Chocolate Ice-cream (£3.00 a pot) that was on sale. The theatre also provided plastic cups and jugs of tap water to rehydrate the audience during that interval without the need to pay for drinks at the bar.
Although the set remained the same the whole time the set designers cleverly made it feel like the different areas in the movie by changing the doors on the sets to represent different locations. The convent doors became gates, the gazebo doors became white garden house doors, the Von Trapp home was represented by big wooden sturdy doors and the Salzburg Music Festival had a Nazi flag hanging instead of a door. Brilliant set designing with minimal fuss for an outdoor theatre without the use of pulleys and back stage equipment the other big theatres have at their disposal.
The costume designer has to be applauded as well. The costumes were gorgeous. Some of the dresses I fell in love with and want them for my own wardrobe. Baroness Schraeder wears the most divine peach late 1930’s style number with a hat and long white gloves. And Maria’s wedding dress. Jaw dropping!
I will admit I often had tears in my eyes throughout the show as emotionally it always hits me. But there is plenty of laughter and as it has been adapted to theatre there are some changes in the script. It all stays faithful to the storyline but there are small additions that help translate the movie to theatre much more appropriately.
I think my little one enjoyed himself too, as he’d throw a few moves in my belly during some of the songs.
That’s the thing about The Sound of Music you just can’t get away from the songs. I’ve been humming to myself since I left and I don’t think I’ll be stopping anytime soon… good luck to MrLondonMum when he gets home…
“High on a hill was a lonely goat-herd, lay ee odl lay ee odl lay hee hoo…..”