Steve Colman: A capital trip

Sheridan Smith as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, the musical.
Sheridan Smith as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, the musical.
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I WAS in London at the weekend to see the Olympic clock in Trafalgar Square.

It is going to be one of the most photographed things in London for visitors.

I had to wait for people having their photos to move out of the way before taking my shot and we are over a year away.

I did think though that it was quite strange having a still photo of something which had previously stopped working the week before.

I mean, how do you know that it hadn’t stopped at the time I took the photo? Maybe it had.

I had a wander round to the theatre where I was going to see that new show Betty Blue Eyes that night. More on that in a moment, but I also went past the Palladium Theatre which will be the home to Shrek The Musical, starting early May.

They have all the branding up including some signs at the front of the Theatre which included “Queue here for Donkey rides”.

I don’t think there will be any, but I do like the idea.

Can you imagine being taken for a ride with Eddie Murphy shouting things like “Oh no! how much do you weigh?” etc. I’m going to see the show, starring Amanda Holden, at the end of May so I’ll let you know about that.

Betty Blue Eyes is a remake of the story which was portrayed in the film “A Private Function”.

Set in 1947, it is centred around a Yorkshire Village who are getting together to have a celebration for the Royal Wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Philip.

At that time it is illegal to have your own livestock animals but obviously everyone wants to have a great meal as part of the celebrations and therefore a pig magically appears which will feed the gathered throng on the wedding night.

But of course on the build up to the big party jealousy rears its head and piggy disappears and is kept at someone’s house!

Cue pig poo etc and all the problems with attempting to hide a pig from the people hunting to get it back.

Sarah Lancashire, who was Raquel in Coronation Street, takes the lead and sings a song which will be the next “I am what I am” entitled “No one calls me no one” - I’m certain you’ll hear a lot of it in the future. Saturday was the first night and there will be some huge publicity for the show when it officially opens. There is a great scene with the Council members all visiting the urinal and singing a Barbershop style song whilst they face you in the audience. Very amusing.

The pig is nearly real. Having been commissioned by Cameron MacKintosh by an Australian company, Betty had to be flown first class, taking up two seats. She is very convincing and when you considerwhat she must have cost, she should be used more. When you look in the programme and see “Kylie Minogue is the voice of Betty Blue Eyes” you may feel robbed when all she says is “Goodnight” at the curtain call. There was a lot of squealing earlier but I’m not in a position to say whether that was Kylie’s squeal or not. I’d like to think it was.

Before the Theatre I’d gone to watch the England v Ireland Rugby game at, would you believe, a Canadian pub in Covent Garden. Great place actually and a few TV screens dotted about but probably not set up for the mass arrival of both English and Irish fans.

The ‘game we threw away’ is how I’ll remember it in the future. A real shame from an English point of view. Great fun for the Irish fans. Towards the end of the game there were some fisticuffs on the pitch and it coincided with my exit from the pub. As I walked outside blue flashing lights came round the corner - the Rapid Response Unit were right on cue!

Just a quick note which I’m sure you have already heard. There will be no pantomime at the Sunderland Empire this Christmas. However, there will be one of the most successful London Shows coming instead. “Legally Blonde” will run at The Empire from December 6 to 31. Listen on Wednesday when I’ll be chatting to the stars on Magic 1152, ahead of tickets going on sale at 10am.