I really enjoy going to the theatre. One of my favourite ways to spend an evening out is watching live comedy. Having a laugh is good for the soul, it takes you away from daily life for a couple of hours. It puts you in the mind of somebody else, their quirks and opinions.
This weekend we picked a good one, Ross Noble. What a mind to be in!
I had some staffing/PA issues this weekend and wasn’t able to find cover. Even though my friends know me well enough, are great (if a little crazy!) and would assist me with anything I needed, I wasn’t able to get to Norwich without somebody to drive.
So my Mum offered to join me. I wasn’t sure she’d enjoy the show, or even have a clue who Ross Noble was (sorry Ross!), but I’d made plans to go with my friend Lucy and her Mum, and have dinner out too. So it turned into some kind of strange Mother Daughter get together!
I arrived in Norwich slightly early, ready to do the great chocolate shop! (You have to take chocolates to the theatre, obviously). After stocking up on sugary treats Mum and I thought we’d check out the new Pret in Chapelfield shopping centre for a cuppa. I was actually really impressed. It was late Sunday afternoon so wasn’t very busy anyway, but it was welcoming and spacious. A very friendly staff member offered to move a chair from the table I was headed towards. Starbucks need to up their game (I’m a huge Starbucks drinker), the tea and coffee were both delicious, were reasonably priced, the staff friendly and helpful, and the place fantastically clean but chilled. Lucy and her Mum met us here, both big coffee drinkers and very impressed. The only very small comment I’d have is that the tables are all rectangular and quite chunky, not the easiest to access in an electric wheelchair, although I could still reach my tea when perched at a slight angle.
We made our way to Cafe Rouge which is situated at the upper entrance to Chapelfield shopping centre, where we had a table booked for 5pm.
Cafe Rouge is one of my preferred chain style restaurants (and does amazing breakfasts), it is very clean, bright and spacious. All tables are easy to access with plenty of space in between. Most of the tables have one central post, so easy to get under with most wheelchairs. It also has a fairly good accessible toilet which I have described and reviewed in more depth here.
I must say I did leave Cafe Rouge a little disappointed this time, which has never happened to me before. The service was extremely slow, we waited 15 minutes before asking for some menus, another 15 minutes for a glass of water and the food wasn’t to the normal standard (black croutons, and a non-melty melt in the middle). As this is hopefully a one off, I won’t let it put me off returning.
Showtime approaching, and heavy rain outside, we dashed to Theatre Royal Norwich. It’s only a 5 minute walk.
The Theatre Royal Norwich is my most local Theatre (about a 25 minute drive from my front door), and I tend to visit every couple of months. It has excellent facilities, almost a whole row of seats are removable (top price seats) in the centre of the stalls (row K), and some lower price towards the back, to allow space for wheelchairs. These seats are the last ones for sale to the general ‘able’ public, so are in a way reserved for customers with mobility needs. The seats can be taken out as and when so that the theatre could host many wheelchairs, or none if no wheels want to attend! I think this is an excellent set up and quite a few venues could take this approach to seating set up.
The first thing Mum says when we enter the the theatre stalls, upon seeing a massive projected image of Ross Noble on stage, is ‘oh that’s not who I thought he was!’
I don’t want to give away too much of the show, even though many of you that have encountered Ross Noble’s comedy before will know that much of it is just random mumblings and observations! Don’t let this description put you off though, the show and the man himself were hilarious. Far-out, fun fuelled, juvenile yet sharp and quick witted comedy. This intricate show knotted together audience interaction, obscure musings and everyday life tales. Flipping back and forth Ross Noble is all over the place, yet keeping you enthralled every second. A real ‘Brain Dump’ as Ross aptly titled it!