Thursday, June 19, 2014

Roadboy Visits The V&A Theater & Performance Gallery

Two Days at the V&A

Our first few days in London were spent seeking a temporary residence for Ms. M as she will remain in London until November. She selected a room in a shared flat off of Kilburn High Rd. The house was built in the 1800's on a street with lots of families. It is a typical central London neighborhood with easy access to two tube stops, lots of stores, restaurants, bakeries, a nice neighborhood public library, movie theater and a police station.

Ms. M's New Address in London

Our real estate search confirmed that London is as expensive as rumors suggest. Most rental rates in London are quoted by the week, not the month.

It is common for a modern, but modest, 2 bedroom 2 bath flat with one parking space to run 750 per week GBP.  So multiplying 4.3 weeks per month times 750 GBP per week nets a monthly rent of $5500 US dollars.


But I digress.

Yet amongst all that conspicuous consumption sits the world's best art and design museum; the Victoria and Albert.

And admission is to the V&A is free! So, we went twice.

Even spending two days we just viewed selected galleries and the wonderful museum store. Right now the V&A is offering a variety of special exhibitions. The flashiest is Bulgari's blockbuster "The Glamor of Italian Fashion Since 1945". Another exhibition celebrates British architect William Kent "Designing Georgian Britain". And, yet another presents the "Wedding Gowns: 1775 - 2014".
Wedding Gowns © The V&A                 William Kent © The V&A

The Glamor of Italian Fashion © The V&A

One of the galleries we visited was the dazzling Jewelry Exhibit (alas no photos allowed). That gallery is home to millions of dollars worth of precious metals and gemstones.

We also visited the 19th and 20th century galleries. They were filled with examples of art, furniture and clothing of the era. They even had examples of clothing to try on. You could try on a whalebone corset, a hoop skirt, even a big heavy Inverness (aka Sherlock Holmes) coat. 

Ms. M Tests Out a Hoop Skirt

A favorite gallery was the 3rd Floor Theater and Performance Gallery.  

Here we found play posters, stagecraft examples, head pieces from west end plays, costumes worn by everyone from Mick Jagger to Dame Edna. 

The "War Horse" Puppet

Dame  Edna's "Breakfast Dress"

....And Her Royal Ascot "Sydney" Chapeau

Some examples of theater models and stage set miniatures.

London's Empire Theater
(Built in 1884 - Now a Casino / Nightclub)

Theatre Royal Drury Lane
(The Third, and Present. Drury Lane Theater - Built in 1812 and is Currently Owned by Andrew Lloyd Webber)

Stage Set A Long Day's Journey Into Night
(National Theater Production 1971)

We "Closed" the museum two days in a row. But not before rushing through photo galleries and peeking into the cut outs left to see some of the original structure (now covered) of the museum itself.

Frank Horvat's Photo "Givenchy Hat, Paris"
(Longchamp Racecourse 1958)

Sneak Peak Exposing Concealed Structure

A Sculpture Hall
(Through Which We Exited Each Night) 
With so many superb landmarks in London it would take weeks (if not months) to see them all. But Roadboy advises you consider at least a few hours at the Victoria and Albert in addition to the usual  stops at the Tate's and The British Museum.

As we walked around London it finally occurred to me that the entire city of London is an evolving museum and backdrop for life.

Iconic London As Backdrop for Wedding Attire

Roadboy's Travels © 2014

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