But I didn't.
It was my daughter’s birthday at the weekend and all she had wanted was for me to take her and two friends to see Dirty Dancing: The Musical in the West End. This proved to be a nightmare to arrange as I soon found out this show is ‘Hot’ and getting tickets for a show anywhere near her birthday was difficult to say the least. Eventually though, after what felt like hours of trying, I came up with four tickets for Friday which cost me more money than I care to remember. When I told my daughter though she was so delighted and excited that it felt like money well spent. She spent the next several months counting off the days to go before we went to the show.
So Friday came and I collected her and one friend straight from school, and we drove to north London to collect the other friend, then catching the tube into town. So far so good. I went to the theatre, gave them my name, and was given four tickets and was amazed to see that they were for far better seats than the ones I thought I had booked. Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth I just thought it was my lucky day.
I took the girls for a meal first and it was such a pleasure being with them. All three of them are such good company and were so thrilled to be about to see the show. One of them had never been to a West End show before and was almost beside herself with excitement. We returned to the theatre and I handed my tickets to the girl on the door who said “I’ve been told to ask you to return to the box office.”
The next few minutes were a blank as I tried and failed to take in what I was being told, but what transpired was that last Friday there were two separate bookings for four tickets each by people with my initial and surname, and I had been given the wrong ones, but that was not the worst of it. The worst of it was that my tickets were according to them, for the afternoon performance. I do not have the descriptive skills to explain how absolutely terrible I felt at that moment when it appeared I had completely fucked up my daughter’s birthday. I am never going to forget the looks on the girls’ faces when I told them the problem. To make it worse they were all really good about it - I could have handled tantrums far more easily. I can only assume it was my mistake and I clicked on the wrong performance, but I woudl not knowingly have ordered tickets for a matinee on a school day.
What I had to do in the end was buy three further tickets (at a reduced price but still money I could ill afford) for the girls, although they were not together. I said I would stay on the premises (licensing laws meant I had to as I found out – they weren’t 18 so had to have an adult with them), and I was taken to the bar by the manager, where there was not as much as a chair to sit in. I must have cut a forlorn figure as I balanced myself on a ledge – I know I certainly felt bloody forlorn. Anyway, the manager must have taken pity on me as he returned and told me I could sit at the back and see the show. That was OK – but I was still fretting about my daughter, knowing that she would be worrying about me, and I couldn’t see her to let her know I was there after all. At the interval the rather sweet manager came back and told me he had found us four seats together for the second half, and he got us all complementary drinks. My daughter actually cried with relief when I told her I had in fact seen the first half; although what I didn’t tell her was that I hadn’t got the first idea what had happened in that first half as I was too preoccupied worrying about her.
Anyway, I guess all was well that ended well (if I could just forget about the flaming cost!) in that the three of them simply loved the show, and my daughter keeps telling me she had in the end the best birthday ever. I’m sure the horror of that moment when it dawned on me we did not actually have tickets for the much anticipated show will fade for me – eventually.
Blinded - *The Blind Girl in Hiroshima* (1963) Photograph by *Christer Strömholm*
2 hours ago