Once the Shakespeare play was over and Bill was able to drag me away before I made the mistake of buying copies of all the plays in manga and in young adult novel versions for my sixth graders (can you imagine me toting those in my Rick Steves backpack??), we continued our walking tour of London. We happened upon several treasures along the way.
We saw Clink Prison, named by the noises made by the rattling chains of the prisoners from the 1200s to the 1700s.
We also saw Southwark Cathedral (pronounced Sutherk), where William Shakespeare attended as an adult. It even has a stained glass windows depicting scenes from several of his plays! We recognized Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, and more.
We walked across the Millenial Pedestrian Bridge, and we found ruins of the Roman wall that used to surround the city of London! It was crazy to see a wall built in the second or third century standing right next to modern apartment buildings, but there it was.
Finally, we made it to our last destination for the night: the theatre in which School of Rock was showing. I didn’t think a modern play based on a Jack Black film could possibly hold a candle to Shakespeare, but the performance had me riveted from the beginning. Andrew Lloyd Webber can tell ANY story in song, but this one was loud, boisterous, and just plain fun. Within the first few minutes, Stephen Leask had me thinking he was even crazier than Jack Black, with his false landings from back flips and his sweat splashing over his thoroughly disgusted “students”. But even he was upstaged by the most talented children I’ve ever seen perform. Their singing and dancing was fun and excellently performed, but the fact that they played their own instruments so well they sounded like Led Zepelin absolutely floored me. By the end, the riffs and beats ripping from this group of elementary school children had the audience on our feet, while the entire orchestra watched from the pit, riveted but completely uninvolved.
We headed back “home” exhausted from walking another seven miles or so but flying high from the energy still humming through us from the play. The next day we learned that School of Rock is at the Buell Theatre from now until June 10th! I’ve just got one thing to say about this: Don’t miss it.