#LDNTheatreBloggers at Soho Grind

“Crema crema crema chameleon….”

This was the terrible brilliant coffee-based pun we named our concoction in the Espresso Martini Challenge at Soho Grind – it sounded better than it tasted.  Out of our team of six, 2 of us couldn’t drink alcohol and another didn’t like coffee – but as an ex-barista, I liked to think I’d learnt enough about coffee to be able to match some flavours.  Matching is one thing, but ratios is another.  Our heavy-handed slugs of almond syrup and agave nectar made for a rather saccharine-yet-bitter concoction – but the name did win us a big bag of roasted coffee beans (which is great – but I now need the equipment to turn this into cups of coffee – anyone got a Gaggia?).

This was my first introduction to a night out with the #LDNTheatreBloggers hosted by the wonderful people at Official Theatre and Seat Plan – there are worse ways to spend a Monday night than making and drinking cocktails with other people who love the theatre as much as I do.

Espresso Martinis – photo lovingly stolen from Official Theatre

Soho Grind did also whip up some delicious mocktails for us tee-totallers – I have no idea what it was called, but asking for ‘the ginger thing – again’ at the bar got the desired effect.  The long list of ingredients (or the ones I can remember) included rhubarb and ginger jam, some sort of syrup with cayenne pepper, apple and pear juice, basil, soda water – and probably other things too.  A nice change given that I’m bored to death of drinking coke and orange juice.  The entertainment was also topped off with music from singer songwriter Bity Booker – a voice vaguely reminiscent of Cerys Matthews, balancing soft, haunting melodies with a really powerful set of lungs.

As a complete newbie to the group, I was made to feel very welcome by Rebecca (OT head honcho) and was quickly introduced to lots of people.  It was a great chance to compare shows with others and get a few recommendations.  Far from being the cliched “networking event” it could’ve been, this was a bunch of like-minded people all together in one place, all excitedly chatting about theatre without the fear that you’re boring anyone who isn’t quite so obsessed with it.  Given that I review for my blog and Bargain Theatre, I’ve now got a little group of people who’ll probably be there on press night (for other blogs and publications), so a few friendly faces to join at the interval, or even to join me when I have a second ticket.

We also got to find out a bit more about Seat Plan – a new website which I can see becoming invaluable in years to come.  They’re calling on all theatre-goers – regular and occasional – to review the seats they sit in whenever they go to the theatre.  The legroom, the view – anything you can say about that particular seat.  Because some seats are listed as restricted view (when they’re not really) and others aren’t listed as RV (when they really should be).  Legroom is very variable from row to row and theatre to theatre.  Often the grid of squares doesn’t really indicate the curvature of the sides, how far back you’ll actually be, or just how vertigo-inducingly steep the rake is.  There isn’t the option to pop into the auditorium to have a look at the seats before parting with money – and for some shows, even the cheapest seats cost a pretty penny.  The more detail people can pool into this website, the better informed everyone can be when booking tickets for any given West End theatre.  Because everyone wants to get the best seat they can afford, whatever their budget.

There’s only one thing I want to know – when can we do this again?

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