A brisk 10km run this morning (I ran for exactly an hour and hit 10km at around 59minutes 30 seconds) with three long steep hills in the mix. Things are gearing up well and I “sprinted" the last five minutes to make sure I got 10km done within the hour.
Then we were into London to see the matinee of Matilda. We knew the oldest kid would be able to sit still for the show, but I was doubtful that the boy would be able to contain himself for that long and was ready to take him out so he wouldn’t disturb others. Reluctant though as tickets were not cheap and I’d have liked to see the whole show myself (even though we saw it in preview
- unbelievably very nearly a decade ago, before we had kids to bring along - though I recall, even then, we looked forward to a time when we might bring our kids to see it).
The drive in had been more of a struggle than I’d anticipated for a Sunday, but luckily we’d left plenty of time for delays and were at the theatre 20 minutes before curtain up. We had a lot of snacks to try and keep my itchy-footed son in his seat and to be fair he did pretty well in the first half, only really losing patience in the final five minutes and we just about managed to stop him talking and kicking the seat in front of him. He was pretty much wrapped up in the magic of theatre, especially when an actor appeared to fall from the ceiling. Equally though he enjoyed the glitter ball lights reflecting on the wall, so he’s not quite there yet.
In the second half he got a bit more confident. One of the show highlights is the tear-inducing song “When I Grow Up” where the kids speculate about how much they are looking forward to being adults so that they can eat sweets on the way to work and so on and teacher, Miss Honey, also joins in to signify that even adults feel like kids who haven’t grown up. As Miss Honey sang “When I grow up,” Ernie said in a loud incredulous voice, “You are growed up”. Everyone in our section of the theatre heard him and it got a pretty good laugh. He couldn’t understand why the audience were laughing and turned to his mum and said “She is.”
He wasn’t being annoying (yet) but it felt unlikely that he was going to make it through to the end. At one point he asked why the people on stage couldn’t see us. No one laughed at this one. And in the end when it became clear that he didn’t want to sit still, I made the ultimate sacrifice and thought of the people around me who’d spent approaching a hundred quid each to be there and took him out, leaving his properly behaved sister and mum to enjoy the rest of the second half. Phoebe really loved it and I think Ernie did too, but two hours twenty minutes (and interval with extra entertainment included) is probably too long for a not quite four year old.
We sat and waited in Caffe Nero and he played on my phone and rested his head on my lap. It was probably as good as seeing the show and we’d seen almost two thirds of the show and so only wasted around about sixty pounds. But we’re making memories and sitting waiting for half my family with my funny, incredulous boy was a good memory. He’s already making theatre audiences laugh, even if he doesn’t know why and I am glad that he was caught up enough in the magic of this beautiful show to shout out the things that he did.
It’s been a tough time for theatre and I guess a bad time to be a Matilda as I suspect the shelf life of playing that part is around about 18 months, so it was good (if mildly scary) to be back in a packed auditorium, being transported by this charming and funny piece of theatre. Very much worth the effort to get there and the stress of sitting next to a three year old throughout.