I’ve never been on a blind date, but I can certainly imagine the nerves and the sheer level of preparation that goes into planning such a night. You are baring your soul for a stranger you’ve never met on the off chance that you will hit it off and not make an idiot of yourself. If there are to be any embarassing stories coming out of the night, you want to be the one telling them! So you choose your outfit with utmost precision, trying not to look too shy and retiring, but also not so out there that you look certifiable! Hair and makeup agonised over, you brace yourself and head out into the night with a heady miz of apprehension and excitement.
This was precisely the feeling I had when I stepped through the doors of Planet Hollywood on Haymarket last week, for the #LDNTheatreBloggers January meet up. This was my first ever blogging event, and as a newcomer to the blogging world I was looking forward to stepping out of the virtual world to meet the people behind the blogs for the first time! I was doubly excited because the others invited were all fellow theatre fans! I have always loved going to the theatre, and ever since I moved to London I have taken this passion and run with it! So when an email from the lovely Rebecca dropped into my inbox, inviting me to meet a group of LDNTheatreBloggers, I jumped at the chance. I even took time off work! (#TrueDedication).
The theme was ‘Summer in Winter’, and Esther from Planet Hollywood had kindly reserved us the mezzanine level of their restaurant, complete with a swimming pool carpet! I felt pretty at home in my Sugarhill Boutique feather-patterned dress and my Tatty Devine cocktail umbrella necklace (although I did chicken out of bare legs and opt for tights in deference to the arctic temperatures London has been battling lately!)
I found my way inside and was greeted at the top of the stairs by Rebecca, the editor of Official Theatre and Organiser-In-Chief.
Rebecca is an absolute machine. She was a whirlwind of energy, zooming around the room distributing leis and useful conversation starters. She has mastered the art of that trick discussed at length in Bridget Jones: that of introducing yourself at a social function. She was bubbly, friendly, and wearing the most amazing floral two piece with pom poms along the hem. Strong effort! She handed me a lei (I noticed that she colour-coordinated everyone’s leis to match their outfits), and directed me to the free bar. Winning.
I soon found a group of friendly girls and we got stuck in to the serious business of drinking free wine and sampling some of Planet Hollywood’s party food. In particular, I spoke to the following lovely ladies: Eda, Verity, Emma, Laura and Emma.
Rebecca then hailed us all from our dark corners of the mezzanine floor to listen to the lovely people from SeatPlan telling us about their website (see the motley crew above). The novel idea with SeatPlan is that they host theatre reviews from members of the public, who write them from the seats they sat in at their performance. This is so you can get the lowdown on which seats are the most comfortable and have the best view. I only signed up on the train, and will have to track down my old tickets to work out which seat numbers I sat in, but then I will be off!
After the chat from SeatPlan, we sampled some more of the food and wine and chatted away some more. It was so enjoyable to talk about theatre in depth with a group of like-minded people. I haven’t really experienced that before – my workmates aren’t really the theatre-going type, and often my friends have problems coming with me due to conflicting schedules or restrictive bank balances. So it was awesome to chat at length about the heros and villains of the theatrical world. I kind of wish I’d seen Viva Forever now, just for a laugh…
After four wines and copious amounts of cocktail sausages and mini burgers, I decided to make a break for home, and braved the freezing night once more. Thank you so much to Rebecca, Planet Hollywood and SeatPlan for all their hard work! I had a wonderful time, and I hope that there will be a sequel to my blind date soon!