Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was our main theatre outing during the Christmas holidays however we just about managed to squeeze in another trip with last minute tickets to the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester and Sweet Charity.
This is one of my favourite ever theatres – the most beautiful Grade 2 listed building right in the city centre. Inside there is a lovely book shop, a buzzing atmosphere with lots of little bar areas and food places but best of all a theatre in the round. We managed to get seats on the ground level, always our choice but I don’t think there is a bad view anywhere here. It feels small and intimate, although over the three levels it seats 700 people.
I wasn’t familiar with Sweet Charity, it was coming to the Royal Exchange that was the draw for me. We have been the last three years at Christmas time to see Into The Woods, A Rats’ Tale and my absolute favourite Little Shop of Horrors. Fair to say not much could have topped that and this show did not, however we enjoyed it and it was a fun afternoon. A comedy musical following the story of Charity Valentine, on the lookout for love in New York, there was a sprinkling of well known songs and some great tunes which had everyone tapping their toes. The set was minimalist and I loved (as always) the scene changes and the movement of the actors around and through the audience.
Afterwards something different in a different part of the city at the old London Road Fire Station. Son was meeting some friends for ice skating at the aptly named Winter Gathering. Not sure what to expect we were enchanted by this place, a fabulous courtyard full of twinkling lights and dominated by that wonderful ice rink.
Son got stuck in, we watched for a little while and then explored. Food offerings were just mouth-watering, there were great vans and stalls selling all manner of delicious things. Husband discovered the beer hall type place which was oozing atmosphere and I just loved the pink VW camper van.
This was the perfect spot to spend our last full afternoon of the holidays.