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Diary of a Young Londoner (An Aspiring Actress)

19/03/2003, By Jenny Walters

Reader Rating: 2.9 from 14854 votes


My Week - Starting 1st March: It was my 30th birthday this week and my husband Carl treated me to a fabulous day of Londonís finest entertainment, it began in the morning with a trip to the Charles Worthington hair salon on Percy St W1.

They made me feel a million dollars but thankfully charged a lot less, it is pretty pricey in there but well worth it for a quality hair do. Then lunch at the Fifth Floor Cafť at Harvey Nichols, SW1. The cafť is on the same floor as the food hall and the restaurant and is a great place to grab lunch if youíre shopping in Knightsbridge. It is extremely noisy so not somewhere for an intimate dinner. Unless you are one of one of these people who likes to spend lots of money shopping and then shout about your love life over a small table in a rowdy cafť.

Iím not, so I was thrilled when Carl told me he had managed to bag a table for two at The Ivy, 1 West St, Covent Garden. The Ivy is an incredibly popular restaurant and Carl had booked months in advance to get a table. The appeal of the place isnít necessarily the menu but a good ambience. The staff were friendly and the restaurant cosy but buzzing. But even if you donít think the restaurant lives up to the hype, it isnít any more expensive than any other popular London restaurants so you wonít feel cheated.

After dinner Carl bundled me into a taxi and we pulled up outside the Hilton on Park Lane. In the cocktail bar, Zeta, a group of my friends were waiting to surprise me. We drank gorgeous fruity cocktails, made from fresh fruit juice. The vitamin C finally got to us and we taxied home.

Zeta Cocktails

The following day my lovely husband took me for a weekís holiday in the Canary Isles. What a fantastic birthday!

My Week - Starting 8th March: This week I started rehearsals for a project I am doing at the Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond. The Orange Tree is one of two theatres in Richmond (the other being, not surprisingly, The Richmond Theatre). The Orange Tree theatre is Londonís only permanent theatre in the round. We are taking Twelfth Night and Macbeth to schools around the Richmond area and southwest London.

Richmond is actually in Surrey but is on the tube and is not far from town. It is a very popular tourist destination; particularly in summer as the River Thames looks beautiful here. Each year we hire a rowing boat to take out on the river and then recover in one of the many pubs in the area. When the weather improves I will go horse riding in Richmond Park and look at the deer. The red and fallow deer which roam the park are descended from the herds of Henry VIIIís time.

Hen Night

But while it is still so cold there is always the rather less romantic pastime of shopping. Richmond is full of lovely shops and boutiques and also pubs and restaurants. So, as quickly as my wages go into my bank account, I am reinvesting them back into Richmond. I need a job somewhere with no retail opportunities.

After a day spent freezing to death in the cold rehearsal rooms I was happy to accept an invitation to my friend Lucilleís birthday party at the Lighthouse Bar, Essex Road in Islington. Sheíd hired the venue and arranged a couple of DJs and all in all it was an excellent night out.

My Week - Starting 15th March: After rehearsals I stayed behind to watch the current production at the Orange Tree. It was a premiere of Don Taylor's new play, The Road to the Sea. It is the story of a young woman's quest to discover her estranged father's identity, which leads her on a dangerous journey into both personal and public histories. It was a thought provoking and political play, in this day and age of musicals and comedies it was good to get the old grey matter working.

It was followed by a question and answer session with the director and a few of the actors. A few London theatres have these sessions available to audiences and I would recommend you search them out (they usually take place after a matinee, check with the box office). It is an opportunity to find out about the process that has taken place to create the performance and also to clarify anything you didnít understand.

Orange Tree Theatre

As an antidote to the culture from earlier in the week my sister in law invited me out on her hen night. This involved a group of girls old enough to know better behaving very badly in London. I joined them at Kettnerís but had a lot of catching up to do as they had spent most of the evening in the champagne bar.

Auguste Kettner, chef to Napoleon III, opened Kettnerís in 1867 and it is said that both Oscar Wilde and Edward VII ate here. It still retains the opulent surroundings but thankfully for me the menu was very reasonably priced. The things to eat at Kettnerís are the pizzas. They are generously sized and cost around £10. Loads of money left over for more champagne!

My Week - Starting 22nd March: The highlight of this week was seeing a screening of a TV comedy sketch show pilot I had filmed earlier in the year. The screening was held at a production office opposite Camden Road station called, well, Camden Road Production Offices (people in London have got far too much to do and donít have time to come up with fancy names for venues).

The show turned out to be actually quite funny, even if I do say so myself, and it was a very cool place. Though thereís not really much point in telling you about it as it is only open to people who work there and their guests. Just showing off really.

Anyway, away from the glamour of TV and back to the slog of trawling Shakespeare for teenagers round schools. Itís turning out to be hard work but very rewarding and it definitely keeps my feet on the ground!

Jenny Walters

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Re: Diary of a Young Londoner (An Aspiring Actress)

By Mark Wright 01/04/2003, (Rating: 2.9 from 13758 votes)

Fantastic great to see you back Jenny. I love your diary, makes me wish I was in London again. :-)

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Re: Diary of a Young Londoner (An Aspiring Actress)

By Peter Horwood 07/04/2003, (Rating: 2.9 from 13809 votes)

Great diary Jenny. Wish I was back in London supping the local ale. Not too much of it around here in Hong Kong. Keep up the good work.

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Re: Diary of a Young Londoner (An Aspiring Actress)

By Richard Wyland 07/04/2003, (Rating: 2.9 from 13971 votes)

Sigh...(I seem to do that a great deal here abouts). The diary accounts are such fun... Lucky Jenny to have such marvy birthday treats and to be able to tread-the-boards in London...

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Re: Diary of a Young Londoner (An Aspiring Actress)

By Removed by Moderator 12/04/2003, (Rating: 2.9 from 13831 votes)

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