Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Date Night Review: Viva Forever and Planet Hollywood

Friday night brought with it our June date night (a little early!) and even though it was pouring with rain it has to be the cheesiest date night we've had!

We have a busy summer coming up, so budgets are tight and with this in mind we had been watching out for any 'cheap' deals that meant we could still make the most of good ole' London town without breaking the bank. I'm not sure if it was computer cookies were stalking my interests or some clever marketing but somehow seemed to offer the perfect solution: discount dinner + West End show for £24 per person! It turns out they do the deal frequently for a variety of shows: Dinner and show options!

We went for dinner at Planet Hollywood, you get 2 courses as part of the deal, but the list of restaurants meant we could have chosen Italian, South Western, Thai or a Burger Bar. Our reservation was made when we booked through the website so it really was as simple as turning up at the time stated - 6.30 in our case.

On arrival at the restaurant we were greeted by a mass of tourists huddling under umbrellas peering in the window, we managed to make it through the front door and the greeter was quick to take our names and show us to our table. We had never been to Planet Hollywood in London before but I was expecting it to be like the one in DisneyLand Paris, crammed with life-sized models of famous film icons and covered in pictures of iconic scenes. Unfortunately the London version lacked any real 'wow' and unless you were on the top floor the most entertaining visuals were the tv screens blasting more cheese than was on the burgers! Perfect for me, not so perfect for Laura.

The speed of service was impressive - I went for the veggie burger and Laura went for the regular burger. Our 'theatre menu' was limited in choice between burgers and a pasta dish but to be fair, looking through the actual menu they are choices we would have probably made. In fact, looking at the prices our meal would have come to £30+ without the deal, and all we had to be pay for on the day was drinks! The deal was already worthwhile.

Dessert was 3 scoops of vanilla ice cream covered in strawberry sauce which although tasty was not particularly substantial - thankfully the main course had been. Seeing a break in the rain, we made a dash back towards Piccadilly Circus and the theatre to pick up our tickets. Again the process was simple, we found the box office and our tickets were waiting. We were in the stands and impressed at how easy this was turning out to be. We had only booked the deal 3 days before!

With 45 minutes to spare we thought we would pick up some interval sweets so headed to Trocadero, en route we passed Graeme Norton and were gutted that the rain meant he was in too much of a hurry to stop and take photos! We consoled ourselves at the pick and mix before heading back to the theatre.

The reason for picking Viva Forever was simple, the musical itself is closing in June, and what kind of a Spice Girls fan would I be if I missed the Spice Girls musical in my hometown?! I had read the not-so-kind reviews, I had played the albums over and over again and I had reminisced with Laura over the reunion show I went to a few years ago and it had helped us get in the mood but the time we took our seats we were buzzing.

I tried to put the reviews out of mind but with the opening song being a cringey version of Wannabe I was worried. Laura hadn't loved 'We Will Rock You' as they had done a terrible job of using Queen songs to convey a story and I was beginning to think this could go the same way. The crazy dancing, the overacting and bright colours were creating an overwhelming scene that took away from the song - I was hoping it got would get better - and quickly!

Thankfully it did. There were some odd song choices - album tracks you normally skip by to get to the 'hits' but they served a purpose and created a more cohesive story. Based on a talent show where the lead character has to drop her friends to make it, the show brings in the characters we all know - Simon Cowell, Sharon Osbourne and others. Our favourite was the assistant who had to #hashtag everything! It does make you think - what did we do before #hashtag :)

As the play reached the interval it was improving - the hits had everyone singing along. The overacting by the younger cast members and the person who played Sharon did get a little irritating but we were impressed the made one of the girlier girls a lesbian (yay for representation and no-stereotyping!). It's like we've become gay-hunters and whenever a show/programme includes a gay character, we give it our seal of approval. It's not even intentional - it just happens that way.

The second half flew by and other than a scene bringing Laura's innocent understanding of Spice Girls songs to an end (what else could 'be a little bit wiser baby,  put it on' in 2 become 1 mean?!) we laughed and sung through most of it. By the end everyone was on their feet and we certainly left with a feel-good feeling.

It was certainly no high brow story but at the end of the day, no-one loved the Spice Girls for their high-brow entertainment - well we certainly didn't!

We've got the linked saved for next time because we can honestly say it was the most well organised evening we've had in a while! And all for £24 per person - not bad at all!!

1 comment:

  1. It sounds like you had a fun date night... it's great when you become creative so that you don't spend a lot of money... you can still enjoy yourself:)


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