This life-recipe reveals how you can enjoy a riverside picnic followed by a top West End show for less than £25.
Ingredients (all prices per person)
1 x picnic by the Thames (£7)
1 x ticket to The Kite Runner at The Playhouse (£16.75)
I love going to the theatre. There’s something special about watching a story come to life right in front of you without having to stare at a screen for hours on end. I’d like to go more, but I’m sometimes put off by the extortionate ticket prices of some of the popular West End Shows. I think this has led to a shared notion that the theatre is only for wealthy people, and you have to have to spend a lot on tickets – but this isn’t true at all in a lot of cases.
It was my turn to sort a date night for last Wednesday. It got to Tuesday evening and, worryingly, I still hadn’t arranged anything to do. I already knew we’d both like to go to the theatre, so after a short search online – I came across a website called London Theatre Direct for the first time. This extremely helpful website has a “Last Minute” page, which lists all of the discounted tickets for shows today, tomorrow or later this week. I was instantly drawn to The Kite Runner as I loved watching the film and I knew Amy loved reading the book – and with 20 hours left until the curtain went up, I managed to book two tickets for less than £17 each.
As the show started at 7.30pm at the Playhouse Theatre in Embankment, I didn’t want us to rush through dinner in one of the local restaurants. Instead I pulled together a cool-bag filled with antipasti meats, olives and cheeses, ciabatta, salad, crisps and a caramel shortbread dessert, as well as a chilled bottle of wine (of course!). Not bad for less than £7 each! Luckily, I knew of a picturesque little park by the river called Victoria Embankment Gardens where we sat in the sun after work and enjoyed our picnic before taking a short walk to the theatre.
The Playhouse Theatre is magnificent. The former Victorian music hall still has stacks of charm with its grand interior, art deco bars and stunning theatre washed with a sea of red carpets, golden boxes and a strikingly-beautiful painted ceiling.
Our tickets were for the upper balcony, so we made our way up the spiralling staircase to our seats on the front row. Considering these were the cheapest seats you could book, we thought they were some of the best seats in the house. By leaning slightly forward and resting on the balcony, you had an unbeatable view of the stage and surrounding theatre.
Now I’m not going to publish a detailed review of the show – that’s not what my blog posts are about. But I think it’s important to express how powerful this exceptional play was. With what must have been a cast of less than a dozen actors (including a talented percussionist who sat at the front of the stage and played live music throughout the show), we were captivated throughout the whole performance.
Without saying a word to each other until the end (apart from during the interval, of course), I could tell that Amy was as entranced by the thought-provoking show as I was. After being taken on an emotional rollercoaster of a journey through 1970s Afghanistan, Pakistan and then California, we were both left a little speechless as the curtain came down to a huge (and very well deserved) round of applause.
We actually didn’t say much to each other until we got on the train home, as we both reflected on what we’d seen. An incredible adaptation of an extraordinarily powerful story – and one of my top recommendations for anyone who’d like to book a last minute theatre ticket for less.