London: Day 2

Today we were grateful it was cold and rainy on Day 1 because it made us appreciate that it was cold and almost sunny and almost not rainy on Day 2. Almost. But we were ready, and the city has made me appreciate more how good it can feel to be in cold weather and be prepared to enjoy it. As I said to Caitlin walking from our Tower Bridge boat ride — we should all just admit that sometimes touristy things are great — as I said to Caitlin on the way to Back to the Future the musical, “there’s a certain independence that this city fosters because of the ability to get around on your own two feet so well.”

Did I mention we were grateful?

And, why yes, I did mention we saw Back to the Future the musical! The nostalgia, production design, choreography and stand out performances made this an absolute party. I had been following them on Instagram since they premiered because I enjoy tracking the rise of new musicals and Back to the Future was one of those movies on repeat in our home. It may be my favorite movie of all time depending on how much I need to impress whoever is asking.

Speaking of impressing someone. It seemed like we had a snobby audience and I felt for the performers in some parts. But then everyone gave a standing ovation at the end so what do I know about West End audiences! The show was perfect for us. However it was not perfect for the teenage girl of a Utah family we randomly met at concessions right before. She gave a thumbs down at one point and made her dad take her home at intermission. He looked mad and I felt bad. He was so excited for her to see it. But they told us in line she hadn’t seen the movie before and I tell ya I done knew that was gon’ be a problem from the get.

Even though it was a fantastic show I thought the script could have been funnier and directed better. Maybe that makes me the snob! But I thought the design was so spectacular and the staging and performances were a little lazy and needed to meet that bar. I spent some time after appreciating Chris’ innovation and comedic prowess and frankly how he just taught us how to work our asses off as Actors or Directors. And I think that when you do, Theater rewards you.

Even though the script could have been funnier I thought the dramatic writing was superb. They found a way to give everyone meaningful arcs that really illuminated some themes of the original film that really make it magical. A stand out song was Marty singing a duet with his dad teaching him how to take life by the horns. The song was hilarious and moving and the actor who played his dad was doing a great Crispin Glover impression. When Back to the Future the Musical arrives in New York this summer, I could see it being breathed new life if it’s true that an audience here may not appreciate “source material” the way Americans do.

We had the best Fish and Chips of our lives at a place called The Mayfair Chippy, which we agree is the best name ever and would yell at each other in cockney throughout the day that I’m sure made no one annoyed with us. We realized that our Tartar Sauce back home is not actually Tartar Sauce but mayo, and that Fish and Chips here is a different meal. And it’s super healthy according to this newspaper clipping on their bathroom wall so I’m eating it the rest of my life thanks. I know it strains credulity at this point and that not every meal can be a win like this but hot damn we’re three for three on picking what to eat. My mouth is watering as I write about the light fried cod and the heavily fried goat cheese and beat salad right now. And that’s saying a lot because I have a decent amount of pain in my tooth. Oh yeah, a day before the trip I found out my root canal is a little infected. Big Gulps huh? Cool. Well, see ya!

I saw so many lions in the city today. If you knew Chris and can’t feel him here (the proudest Leo that ever Leo’d) then I don’t know where you would. We loved the Lion statue heads that lined the retaining wall of the river Thames. We saw them ON THE BOAT RIDE. Our funny and knowledgeable BOAT RIDE GUIDE taught us; “If the Lions are drinking then London is sinking, if it’s up to the Lions mane London’s down the drain, if it’s ducked, we’re… well I’ll let you finish that one.” He made it a point to remind us every few jokes that he was not an entertainer though… “I’m just a crew member here to keep you safe. Nope. Not an entertainer. Not my thing. I’m jussssst a crew member.” I don’t know though. He had pretty stylish sunglasses and we all know that’s a dead give away of wannabe entertainers.

Tomorrow we have the GLOBE THEATER! We are seeing Titus Andronicus. A play I’ve never seen but my bestie Kyle Oram said he saw at the Globe once and it changed his life (see!). It’s also a play that Caitlin studied getting her classics degree in college and loved. I can’t wait to say “Well Roared, Lion” at some point on our tour of the Wooden O as an homage to Chris but more importantly to show that I know Shakespeare because I was in an original practice Shakespeare group in college. But look I can’t be talking about that all day tomorrow and will only get one good chance to mention it, so I better make it count! I’ll let you know how it goes.