The 1952 Weekend

London, The Arts


First came a sighting of these salad-dodging John Bulls at The Derby, then mass outbreaks of fairy-cake tea parties occurred around the country. It was like 1952 all over again, only without the rationing that kept everyone healthy.

The British weather once more proved to be like a mad old friend who always, always lets you down at the most crucial moment. The British tourist motto was changed to ‘Welcome To The Diamond Jubilee; Have You Packed A Jumper?’.

Rather than braving the closed-off roads to peer through the mizzle searching for the largest Thames flotilla in 350 years, I opted to go further back in time for ‘The Mystery Of Edwin Drood’ at the Arts Theatre (just fifteen quid for the best seat in the house) and saw what must be one of the best shows in London, with a knockout cast and terrific staging, complete with dwarf ballet.

This is the Tony-winning US production in which the audience votes on the murderer and the ending accordingly changes each night. The story is presented in the style of the old Player’s Theatre Music Hall, with a compere and plenty of upstaging and grandstanding from the large cast. The theatre was half-empty, so there are plenty of tickets still available.

Next up, a Jubilee party, shifted from a barbecue to an indoor tea, but I’ll try to get to the procession – await further reports.

9 comments on “The 1952 Weekend”

  1. Keith Nixon says:

    Christopher, getting in touch following your tweet (knntom). I don’t mean to be cheeky but the copy of rune they sent is really knackered with the pages coming away from the spine and the cover is a mess. I’ve a paperback first of roofworld and red bride and a hardback of darkest day if it’s ok to send one of those instead? again thanks very much, it means a lot. Cheers. Keith

  2. Dan Terrell says:

    This is the place to learn. I had never heard of fairy-cake tea parties before, unless I “overread” in James Barrie.
    I Blinged and an amazing number of fairy cake recipes appeared. (None recommended by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle though.)Sound better possibly than our icing-loaded often heavy-caked cup cakes. Are they, too, terrifically sweet?

  3. glasgow1975 says:

    as with most things, the fairy cake is the British smaller, meaner version of the huge rich American cupcake. :o)

  4. Gretta says:

    Nothing says Britain like Union Jack waistcoats. Tim Brooke-Taylor has a LOT to answer for.

    That Edwin Drood sounds like fun. I wonder how many different endings the cast have to learn? Bit of a nightmare/challenge from an acting perspective I would’ve thought, but it’d keep them on their toes!

  5. snowy says:

    I think the fairy cakes, I remember were closer to a French Madeleine than a cupcake. Cupcakes were only made by Mr Kipling, a thick disc of heavy chocolate sponge, topped with a 3mm thick layer of brown icing. Which earned you a “thick ear” if you tried to peel it off to consume in one delicious, if preservative laden mouthful. Gad I’m peckish now.

  6. Anne says:

    Apparently there are over 400 endings because of the different possible permutation. You get to vote on three different things. It’ real good fun!

  7. paul m hasbrouck says:

    Glad to see that you liked Edwin Drood. I remember seeing the orginial Broadway production, twice, during its run of 1985-87. I had a great time, so when Rupert Holmes did another mystery muscial-CURTAINS-i just had to go.

  8. Gretta says:

    400 Endings!? Lordy! It sounds like an absolute hoot. Wish I could see it, and hope the word gets around London so they get full houses.

  9. Helen Martin says:

    We found a narrow tie, red/white/dark blue striped, the stripes flowing into a union flag at the bottom so you could hide your British sympathies with a vest. Are narrow ties back or merely retro?

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