Visit London Blog » retro Enjoy the very best of London Fri, 16 Jan 2015 16:06:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Visit London Asks: Which is your Favourite Vintage Musical? Wed, 20 Oct 2010 10:30:14 +0000

Will the vintage musical ever go out of fashion? With their fabulously flirty costumes, the jiving and jitterbugging and the fun tunes, it seems retro shows just keep getting more popular.

My absolute favourite is Grease, which I saw for the third time this week. It is as good as ever, with all the rock’n’roll numbers everyone remembers from the film, and dance routines that are as brilliant as expected from choreographer Arlene Phillips. The cast has recently changed and now features Matthew Goodgame (Channel 4 Musicality, Chicago) as the leader of the T-birds, Danny Zuko and Lauren Samuels (BBC1 Over the Rainbow finalist) making her West End debut as Sandy. Despite tackling some controversial social issues like teenage pregnancy and gang violence, this musical is a fun night out for everyone, and a must-see on the London stage before it goes off on tour in Spring 2011.

Other vintage musicals to see in London:

  • Flashdance: new to the West End stage it tells the tale of 18-year-old Alex, welder by day, “flashdancer” by night, who hopes to be given a place at the Shipley Dance Academy.
  • Dreamboats and Petticoats: a sweet song-writing love story that features many classic songs.
  • Dirty Dancing: brought to the stage after the hit 1987 film about rebellion, growing up pains and above all, the power of dance.
  • Sweet Charity: the story of a dancer-for-hire at a Times Square dance-hall who finds love at last (hurry it ends 6 November).

Why not kit yourself out in the appropriate retro get-up from Rokit in Covent Garden, Portobello Market, Camden Markets or one of the quirky shops on Brick Lane.

What’s your favourite vintage musical in London? Tell us in the comments below…

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Winston Churchill’s Britain At War Experience Thu, 17 Dec 2009 12:21:24 +0000 Gas maskWinston Churchill’s Britain at War Experience is a hidden gem just down the road from the London Dungeon near London Bridge station.

This permanent exhibition explores life for everyday citizens in Britain during the Second World War.

You can huddle under an Anderson shelter, see real wartime bombs and hear children’s experiences of evacuation.

You may have been stuck on the Tube before, but can you image sleeping down there? The underground tunnels were one of the places Londoners sheltered during the air raids of World War Two. With no toilets, people had to relieve themselves on the tracks – and by all accounts, things became rather stinky!

After the main exhibition, we entered a dark, smokey room to see the ruins of a bomb-hit building. Sirens, flashing lights and even body-parts brought home just how much damage the bombs did.

For me, the most fascinating aspect of the exhibition was finding out how people managed to carry on and make the best of things despite rationing and the ever-present fear of being bombed.

For example, couples getting married at the time would have to make do with a cardboard wedding cake as food was in short supply. Cake companies would hire out a replica cake for the day, and if you were lucky, there’d be a small drawer inside with a tiny slice of real cake to enjoy.

If you like retro-style postcards, magnets and badges, I’d also recommend a trip to the gift shop afterwards. You can even pick up a replica ration book.

Or if you’d like to try a 1940s Christmas this year, take a look at the Imperial War Museum’s Wartime Christmas Pudding recipe.

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