Walking through busy Covent Garden on our way to a Matilda the Musical Afternoon Tea at the Radisson Blu Edwardian, my little man takes my hand. ‘This is better than a playdate,’ he tells me.
A few strides later, he mumbles something else that gets lost in the hubbub.
When I ask what he was saying, he grins up at me. Handsome as anything. ‘I forgot but it doesn’t matter. I’m very happy.’
My date with Jed came after an invitation** to sample the Radisson Blu afternoon tea and watch Matilda the Musical at the Cambridge Theatre.
I’d seen the show a couple of years back with Ezra, when Jed was too young, so this was a lovely chance to treat him. It was also an opportunity to enjoy some ‘we time’ with one of my favourite people in the universe.
Whether you call it ‘love bombing’ or ‘dating your kid’, there’s been lots written on the benefits of spending solo time with one of your children. My babes come as a double act — you’d be surprised how often people ask if they’re twins. But having Jed all to myself meant there was less attention-seeking, less refereeing (by me), less wrestling (not by me!), and more calm. I could appreciate his conversation, his sweetness, his wit. The boy cracks me up.
After I ordered an Apple Mojito mocktail for him off the Kids’ Menu, he goes: ‘Mojito is alcoholic! Why did you give me alcohol mum?!’
Picking out a mint leaf from the drink and popping it in his mouth, he makes a face. ‘This basil tastes like toothpaste!’
Pointing at pictures of ladies smoking opium, he asks, ‘Are those women very lazy, Mum?’
Half the time he doesn’t get why I’m chuckling so much, but that only adds to the fun.
When his Children’s Afternoon Tea arrives piled high with goodies, Jed wolfs down his cucumber sandwiches and asks for more. The waiters are quick to oblige. By the time my own tea arrives, Jed’s sandwiches are gone.
‘The cucumber sandwiches are yummy. I’ve had six!’
I paced myself a little better, working my way from sandwiches to scones to cakes (loved the Fabulously Fruity strawberry tart) to elderflower and prosecco jelly shots (children get lemonade jelly shots with candied newts)!
Afternoon tea at the Radisson Blu Edwardian, right across the road from the theatre, is a delicious idea to pair with a family outing to watch Matilda the Musical.
I think it would be cool if they’d named some of the cakes and sandwiches after Roald Dahl’s characters. What’s a lovely touch is that each little guest receives a gift — Jed got a copy of Matilda the book and a souvenir mug to take home.
‘Will you get a present, Mum?’
‘No, you’re the special one.’
‘Why am I the special one? You’re specialer than me!’
I dig this kid, for reals.
After our tea, we had a couple of hours to wander about Covent Garden which is an excellent place to take the children at any time of day or year. There are just so many places to explore: from the Royal Opera House, to the cute and quirky Moomin shop, or the Benjamin Pollock’s Toy Shop. You’ll often find wonderful spectacles like the recent 100,000 white balloons installation or giant reindeer topiary at Christmas. And of course Covent Garden street theatre is enough of a reason to visit on its own.
By 7.30pm, we were seated and ready for the show. Having watched Matilda the Musical before, I was eagerly anticipating certain scenes and loved seeing Jed’s eyes light up at key moments, or when he’d cling to me during Miss Trunchbull’s meanest outbursts. If anything, I enjoyed the show even more on the second viewing.
Craige Els, complete with missiles for bosom, is a mesmerising Miss Trunchbull, while Michael Begley and Rebecca Thornhill as Matilda’s dozy parents are equally fun to despise. I thought the young Evie Hone playing Matilda for the first time that night did a fantastic job.
The entire audience was on its feet at the end and I only wished that Tim Minchin was there to take a bow, for his work as composer and lyricist is sheer genius. It’s no surprise this show has scooped more than 50 awards worldwide, from the Tonys to the Oliviers, including 12 awards for Best Musical.
Jed’s review (age 6)
“My favourite part was the ending because I liked the dance moves and I also liked the scooters. One was the same as Ezra’s. I also liked when the lasers came out, but I didn’t like it when there were loud noises. I was scared. Miss Trunchbull was funny and sometimes a bit scary too. I really liked Matilda the Musical. It made me want to go home and read my book.”
Read my original Matilda the Musical review!
About the Show
Matilda The Musical is booking at the Cambridge Theatre in London’s West End until 18 December 2016. Tickets £20-£67.50. Show Times 2.30pm (Wed & Sat), 3pm (Sun) and 7.30pm (Tue-Sat). For ages 6+. For more information please see www.matildathemusical.com / 0844 412 4652
Radisson Blu Edwardian is the preferred hotel partner for Matilda The Musical, and for more information about the official Matilda The Musical Afternoon Tea (adult £32/child under 12 £16) please see www.matildathemusical.com/tickets/showpackages
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