The Philharmonia And Julian Lloyd Webber At The Marlow

Jan Leeming

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Me looking brave before taking to the air (and the wing) of the plane. Wow, it was cold !! But the whole experience was totally exhilarating.

 

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Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.

THE PHILHARMONIA and JULIAN LLOYD WEBBER at the Marlow

Date: 26th November 2011

JULIAN LLOYD WEBBER and the PHILHARMONIA ORCHESTRA

When I took my brave pill in May and booked one ticket for Top Hat, I wasn’t quite so brave about other bookings so reserved two tickets for the Julian Lloyd Webber performance and two for the Ice Ballet in February. I reckoned that I could either treat a friend or find someone who’d not been able to get a ticket – as happened with Top Hat where there were many disappointed folk who couldn’t get a seat.

I invited a musical friend to come with me to the performance. This friend plays piano and knows a thing or two about acoustics etc. The overall judgement was that the Auditorium was superb – the sound terrific and it was a joy to be so relatively near the Orchestra. (If you think about it, even in the best seats at the Albert Hall, you are still a long way from the Performers)

My friend commented adversely about the Spartan and unwelcoming Foyer, the lack of staff knowledge and in fact the almost invisibleness (if there is such a word) of the staff.

We were coming from different directions and I headed for the Car Park closest to the theatre which grandly told me in illuminated figures that there were 17 places still available – Oh! The only places I could see were for residents or the disabled – all empty. Being a law abiding citizen I then headed for the next car park to be held up in a queue of traffic trying to get into the Carpark and also to pay. The City fathers in their infinite wisdom have decided to fleece the public (comme d’habitude) and whereas one used to pay for parking up until 7.00 pm that is now extended to 9.00pm. So when you eventually do find a space you then join a queue ten deep with folk phaffing around without any change and even working out the parking to the last 10p. I ask you! I finally parked at 7.15 so that meant I had to pay for parking for 1.45 hrs. The parking charge was £1 per hour so I slammed in £2 got my ticket and left. There were members of the public fiddling around trying to find £1.90 the exact money needed for 1.45 hrs. Sorry, life is to short to stuff a mushroom as a friend in Capetown once told me. What I’m saying is that, in their greed, the Council have created a log-jam. You queue to get into the carpark, you queue to pay and then have the long trudge back to your car in the very large park. Why can’t they spend a bit and have the whole thing automated if they want to fleece the public even further by increasing the parking time?

Because I’d taken so long to park and then had to walk a distance to the Marlow, I arrived with 5 minutes to spare. A Cloakroom visit was essential and by the time we headed for our seats there wasn’t a programme seller in sight. Fortunately I know and love the Elgar Cello Concerto so I knew to what I was listening but having failed to find a programme seller in the Interval, I think we listened to Elgar’s Symphony No 1 in the second half.  The Concert was stunning - loved every minute of it.

In London theatres, not only are there many staff to show you to your seats but there is always someone trying to sell you a programme. Perhaps I’m being harsh and the Marlow is having teething problems but if you are going to do a job, do it properly.

As a close friend commented – she’s well known so I won’t tell you her name – the old Marlow should have been razed to the ground – sold off as a prime site for development – and a whole new Theatre complex with parking created on the outskirts of Canterbury. I agree with her. The hassle factor ruined the first ten minutes of my enjoyment of the Concert.

The Orchestra was superb but sitting in the circle, the stage looked more like the floor of an Aircraft Hangar – it was a grey colour and scruffy. There was absolutely no adornment on the stage. Even if they are having financial problems or cutbacks, surely they could have put a large floral display on either side of the stage. It looked totally unwelcoming. And don’t get me going about the bar – OK – I think £9.20 for a Glass of Chardonnay and a half bottle of beer is extortionate. They really are stupid – at those prices, people are not going to drink in the interval – I shan’t.

You can sense that I’m in Grumpy Old Woman mode.
 

What do you think? Send your feedback to contact@jan-leeming.com.