University of London Society of Change Ringers

Oliver! Theatre Trip

With the UL considering themselves a most highly cultured society these days, it seemed high time that London’s Theatreland was graced with our presence again. So our secretary, Mariko sent out an e-mail asking who will buy tickets for the classic West End production of Oliver!

Now after spending a short time reviewing the situation, I decided that I’d do anything to have the chance to see such a great show and promptly paid for the tickets priced at only seven guineas (that or thereabouts). And I wasn’t the only one, in fact you could say that never before have the UL wanted more to get their hands on theatre tickets with no less than 17 people who begged, borrowed or cadged the money (I’m afraid it don’t grow on trees you know) and met up in the Chandos for pre-theatre drinks and I’m pleased to report that the Sam Smiths was living up to its usual reputation of large measures, no skimping if you please. Nick Jones also enjoyed a small snack between his three banquets a day to “keep him going” until the inevitable post theatre meal.

It was a lovely evening, in fact I’d go as much to say that I’d never seen a day so sunny in London (it could not happen twice) as we walked to the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane and took up our seats for the show. The production was fantastic starring Kerry Ellis as Nancy and Russ Abbot as Fagin who when shouting at his gang used the beautiful line “Shut up and drink your gin”, a phrase that could probably be used to good effect at future UL AGM’s!

After the show, a huge dither debating what everyone was going to do and where they were going to go resulted in certain people threatening that they shall scream unless a decision was made quickly. It was eventually suggested that since Jones had worked up a new appetite in the interlude (and nobody else had eaten at all that evening) we go for some food, glorious food. Now, not a crust nor a crumb could be found at an affordable price immediately outside the theatre so we headed for that old UL stomping ground of Wong Kei’s Chinese restaurant. I led the way and after bowing to suggestions that we’d walked about as far as Timbuktu and back again, I decided that the Chinese probably wasn’t underneath the willow tree that I’d been dreaming of so we resorted to using Nick’s legendary compass. Fortunately we did then find it, otherwise I feared that would be my funeral. A good meal was had by all enlivened once again by the Master (who doesn’t say the things she should especially when she’s been on the gin or the beer) asking, among other gems, who invented the boat!

Having eaten right through the menu and seeing that nobody is particularly handy with a rolling pin when the landlord comes to call, we decided against enjoying the fine life further in a local hostelry and instead headed home hoping we would be back soon to the West End on a UL trip. Thanks must go to the organiser and, if this trip is anything to go by, please Mariko, can we have some more?

By Peter Jasper