jo_blogs kindly gave me some toast, as I hadn't eaten anything except an apple and had some water. Then we went to have lunch at Strada, she showed me the official entrance to the Ministry of Magic and I went to the Sherlock Holmes Museum to find something for my mum's birthday (my sister and I are buying her a new mobile phone, but I want to get her something just from me). Then I met her at Tate Britain and we saw the Turner Exhibition. It's the first time I've been there (this is the original Tate Gallery, as opposed to the Tate Modern) and it reminded me oddly of El Prado in Madrid in its look and situation. The exhibition was amazing: a lot of the pictures were only sketches or preliminary drawings, but with only a few brush strokes, Turner can create an immediate sense of dawn or dusk and the rolling mass of the sea. His paintings of Venice are particularly amazing because of the way he captures the way the light moves on the water and over the buildlings, how the buildings seem to melt into the water, as if the whole city is one big mirage. The big celebration for this exhibition is that the Tate Britain managed to acquire The Blue Rigi, one of Turner's most famous and most important Italian watercolours, for public viewing. The use of blue in this painting is, naturally, very impressive.
Then we decided to go and have a look at the Curzon cinema in Soho, which required walking down Tottenham Court Road to Shaftesbury Avenue. We passed by the Palace Theatre, which is currently hosting Spamalot, the Monty Python musical. I pointed it out to her and said I'd like to see that. She said that she'd been thinking about it, too, and after some humming and hawing, I decided we should go and see if there were any tickets available. It turned out there were, right in the centre about six rows back from the stage (the floor is sloped, so no problems with viewing). So I bought them, because I'm on holiday and I haven't seen a musical in years and I deserve a treat, damn it. We went and had supper at a nice little restaurant on Shaftesbury Avenue, then came back for the musical. Now, jo_blogs must have some kind of Harry Potter magic because not long after we'd sat down, she leaned over and said, "That man in front of us really looks like Alan Rickman from the back?"
"You think that's Alan Rickman?"
"No... just looks like him."
But apparently she was more suspicious than she let on, because she kept looking at him throughout the first act. And then, at the interval, he gets up and turns around and jo_blogs goes into shock. I don't see him, because I'm not looking, so we spent the entire interval waiting for him to come back, with jo_blogs worrying that he might not come back, even though I told her it would be so rude of him to walk out half-way through. It's very hard to look for somebody without showing that you're looking for them, but I just about managed to catch a glimpse of his face and IT WAS ALAN RICKMAN! We were now both in shock, sitting there and trying to rein in our excited fangirl instincts. Fortunately, we were aided in this by someone who came up at that very moment and asked him for an autograph. The man is trying to enjoy a night out at the theatre, why do you have to go and do that?! It's not like she was obnoxious about it or anything but it still embarrassed us both.
Spamalot was very good, especially all the mocking of musical conventions (and the scene at the end with the Lady of the Lake's name was priceless). The scenes with the Black Knight and the Killer Rabbit were, naturally, the best ones. And Peter Davison was King Arthur. Seriously, can you get any better? Doctor Who and Professor Snape in the same room. How lucky were we?! And at the end, there was a massive explosion, with gold, silver, yellow and white confetti showering down on those of us in the stalls. And I mean massive. We almost drowned in the stuff, it was so thick!