If you follow me on Twitter or Tumblr (especially Tumblr), then you know I am a huge fan of Doctor Who, and that I am a huge fan of David Tennant’s run as the Tenth Doctor, and that Catherine Tate as Donna is my favourite companion. They are performing as Beatrice and Benedick in a West End production of Much Ado About Nothing, and I wanted nothing more than to see them before the run ended (which, incidentally, is tomorrow).
Sometimes, if you wish really hard, magical things happen.
My reason for coming overseas mostly has to do with the fact that Bear’s older sister is getting married in Oxford, as well as much-needed holiday. I had initially thought I would miss David Tennant and Catherine Tate in Much Ado as I was flying in to Heathrow early the morning of the 2nd, attending the wedding on the 3rd, and then leaving for Vienna on the 4th, not to mention tickets had been sold out since the beginning of its run.
However, the Wyndhams Theatre has a policy of holding back 10 of the best seats for each performance to be awarded via lottery, and it costs £10. If you don’t win one of the lottery seats, then you can buy one of the 30 standing tickets for £16 on a first-come, first-serve basis. Standing tickets in London are a great way to go to theatre for cheap; when I was living here as a student, I managed to see Ewan McGregor as Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls several times this way. Sure the view isn’t great, and you’re standing for the entire show, but it beats paying full-price by a long shot. (Although full-price is still fairly reasonable in London compared to the ridiculous prices Broadway makes you pay.)
Since I was told in no uncertain terms by Terra that I had to go see David Tennant and Catherine Tate or else we would have “words”, I decided to eke out what little time I could and figure out a way to go, come hell or highwater.
The lottery opens at 10AM and numbers are called at 10:30AM, after which standing tickets go on sale. I was due to land in London at 7:40AM, which left me less than three hours to go through customs and get from Heathrow to the Wyndhams Theatre.
All right, I thought. Bring it on; I’m totally game.
What I hadn’t planned on was the egregious level of sleep deprivation I’d be suffering. The night before I left for London, I stayed up until 4AM battling a sudden housefly infestation. Oh yes. Housefly. Infestation. I came home rather late after a coworker’s farewell party to find my kitchen absolutely riddled with houseflies. I counted at least 40 of the filthy buggers. Where did they come from? I have no idea; I had thoroughly scrubbed my kitchen and thrown out the trash before Hurricane Irene, so there was nothing for the motherfuckers to have been hatched in. My roommate is also currently in Europe, hiking the Swiss Alps with her boyfriend, so she wasn’t home to help.
What followed was me smacking at least a dozen houseflies with an enormous tome before RAID-ing the ever-loving shit out of them. I sprayed so much insecticide I felt the tip of my tongue go numb and my throat grow raw. (I may have poisoned myself a little.) After that I cleaned my apartment from top to bottom again before crawling into bed around 4AM. I couldn’t fall asleep for a good while either because I kept imagining I could feel thousands of little bug legs crawling all over my body.
It goes without saying that I was a wreck.
I barely slept on the flight, so by the time I landed in Heathrow at 7AM GST (2AM EST), it meant that I had only managed about 3 hours of sleep in nearly 24 hours.
Never mind, I said, I shall soldier on!
Customs, naturally, was a nightmare. It was 9AM when it was all said and done and I needed a fast way into the city. The Heathrow Express takes only 15 minutes to get to London Paddington, and from Paddington to Leicester Square I had to change lines, but I managed to get to the theatre by the skin of my teeth at 9:50AM.
There were, of course, at least 25 people ahead of me in line. At least 60 other people queued up behind me. I had roughly a 1 in 8 chance of grabbing a lotto seat.
We grabbed our numbers (mine was 631) and loitered outside the box office, wasting time until the numbers were drawn at 10:30AM. It was the most agonizing half-hour of my life, mostly because I was this close to lying down and taking a nap in the middle of Charing Cross Road.
Then a young woman appeared to announce the lucky winners, there was crowd of nearly 100 people hoping for a chance. The first 6 or so numbers were nowhere near mine, but the 7th number drawn was 630.
Well fuck, I thought. There goes my chance. Standing tickets it is, I suppose.
The 8th number was called and then the 9th and then…
See? Sometimes wishes do come true!
I will even be attempting the stage door after the performance tonight, on behalf the Ladies of NYC Publishing. David Tennant, if you’ve ever worried about finding an American audience (and if you’re reading my blog, which, ha), have no fear! Young women in their 20s who work in New York City book publishing ADORE YOU. How’s that for a niche market?