It has to be said. I am a sucker for musicals. Growing up in the Free State, the drive-in was a regular haunt for our family – remember those? In particular was this thing. Once a year, a full week of musicals came around and my mother (forever in love with Maurice Chevalier) would take us to see ‘Gigi’, ‘Easter Parade’, ‘Singing in the Rain’, ‘Showboat’ and ‘Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.’ Year after year we waited, and fell in love. My children were raised on the same, not in the drive-in but nonetheless, musicals were a part of our lives, songs sung and happy days. ‘Gigi’ made me fall in love with Paris, and as for ‘Singing in the Rain’, what to say but, glorious, glorious.
Today, I took my girls to a theatre performance of ‘Seven Brides for Seven Brothers’ at the Open Theatre in Regents Park. The day could not have been more perfect (thank you English Summer’s Day) and for a Saturday afternoon, what could have been better than a picnic in the park, followed by the show. The venue alone needs a starring role.
The stage transported us back to the movie, albeit on a much smaller scale. Log cabin, woodland magic and even some butterflies plopped on hats to complete the natural setting of scene. It was magical, and for me, so deeply satisfying to see my girls, when a song they remembered came along, looking at each other, taking hands and getting all goosebumpy – transported back songs they grew up with and still love. Sure it’s dated, and cheesy and a little anti-feminist, but who cares? It was theatre and dancing and singing of the highest calibre. Clearly the audience remembered the movie also, clapping in unison to the dancing numbers.
London delivers. Always theatre, art and culture on offer.
Regent Park has a special place in my heart. I love the passing of swans and ducks on the ponds, the Regents Park University where my daughters studied in magnificent surroundings, Queen Mary’s Rose garden. Rowing on the lake. A respite in an urban setting and today, with Theatre on tap.
We may be living here now, loving London, but all thanks to the Drive Inn in Kroonstad, my mother and her love for all things cultural, and allowing this lady to dream of love to music.