Did anyone else spot this at the corner by the esteemed New Era dry cleaners? How was the massage couch stolen in the first place? Aren't they rather large objects for a burglar seeking to make a quick getaway? More importantly, has the rightful owner recovered it?
I love it that the Empire is London's undisputed pantomime champion. Not only are the shows brilliant every year, but their brilliance is in character with the best things about our part of town. Clive Rowe, one sensational dame, comes from Oldham, Lancashire, but to this local he feels like one of our own. This year's show, Dick Whittington And His Cat, contains no obvious Hackney (or even London Mayoral) in-jokes, yet writer-director Susie McKenna's latest feels as though it couldn't have been produced anywhere else. That may be a sentimental, deeply subjective, point of view. But let's just say that being there on Wednesday night made me feel proud of where I live.
Anyway, it's a fantabulous night out. Every member of the cast shines, from Rowe as Sarah the pattie-packing cook to the kids in the chorus. Hannah Jane Fox plays Dick with beaming energy, and it would be hard to pick the winner of any sing-off between she and the headline star. Tameka Empson is charming as a haplessly-vexed, L-plated Fairybowbells and the comic babyishness of Kat as Idle Jack had my nine year-old in particular in stitches. Puss is played with gymnastic verve by Mike Denman. There's a mermaid too. And watch out for the giant gorilla near the end. People! You Must Not Miss This Show!