A couple of weeks ago, the bloke got a free ticket to see Miss Saigon through his workplace. As I was told awhile ago that Miss Saigon was an excellent show, I put it on my "to see" list. When I knew the bloke was going, I booked my own ticket so that we could watch the play at the same time. Before the show, we decided to meet up at Bubba Gump Shrimp Company. The restaurant, a chain from the USA, came to London last autumn. I've been wanting to visit since.
The theatre is only a short walk away, so I got a booth and waited for the bloke at Bubba Gump Shrimp Company.
The restaurant is decked out like a restaurant that you'd expect to find near the seaside in the states with harbour-style lighting and wooden ceilings. American-style memorabilia can be seen on the walls. These include licenses, cookie jars, tin plates, children's toys, and signage from my childhood and the childhoods of previous generations.
Bubba Gump Shrimp Company is inspired by the film Forrest Gump, of course. I remember that it came into existence a few years after the 1994 film. The film was extremely popular in the states in the mid-1990s, and it was always showing on television. The restaurant takes its name from the main character, Forrest Gump, and a man (nicknamed Bubba) that he meets while in Vietnam (which is appropriate with the play we were about to see, I guess). Bubba's dream is to buy a boat and fish for shrimp, and he and Forrest become close friends. The restaurant has many items from the film in addition to the other memorabilia.
I had never been to any of the restaurants in the chain before, but the service uses signage as a form of communication. The sign "Run, Forrest, Run" is a line in the film. Once visitors are ready to order or need service, they can flip this sign to the read sign underneath, which reads "Stop, Forrest, Stop". Once the service has been taken, the sign should be flipped back. Because of this, we never had to wait too long for service and drink refills.
For the starter, I ordered the onion strings, which came with two dips. These were delicious, and in keeping in line with the film, the 'newspaper' that they were wrapped in was titled "Greenbow" from the town in Alabama where Forrest Gump grew up.
Next, our drinks arrived. I ordered the "Fizzy Fun" cherry lemonade. This came with a light-up cup that I could keep. I still have it, and the light can be turned off and on. I'm sure I will get a little bit more use out of it. The bloke ordered an alcoholic drink that came in another free glass. This is a cocktail shaker glass, but it did not light up.
In addition to the flashing blue and red lights from my cup, the bottom leaves an image of the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company logo when picked up.
Our main meals came pretty quickly, and the bloke ordered fish and chips. Most of the menu items were seafood.
I had Mama's Southern Fried Chicken. This was battered chicken, chips, and corn on the cob. The meal came with gravy. I could have had mashed potatoes instead of chips; perhaps I should have as it would have been more traditional. The chicken was ok, but I could not finish it. I was not keen on the chips.
After I finished eating, I went to the toilets and checked out some of the items along the way. These were from the movie and featured some of the characters and events from the film.
When I returned, the dessert was waiting. I wanted to try the trio of dessert favourites (Dessert Sampler), which I anticipated to be small tasters. They were actually what I would consider full-sized desserts. They included Mama's Bread Pudding, which I was tempted to order separately. This was delicious. Second is the Mama's Best Strawberry Shortcake. It tasted a little like strawberry shortcake, but I am sorry to say that my mother makes much better strawberry shortcake, and I left missing her strawberry shortcake! This is a dish that we do not have in the UK. Last, but not least, was a sample of the Chocolate Chip Cookie Sundae. This was delicious. I love cookies; they are my weakness. I think this may have been slightly better than the bread pudding.
We left with full tummies, and I actually had some of the desserts boxed to eat the following day. We walked to Old Compton Street to Prince Edward Theatre for the show. I've previously seen 'Jersey Boys' at this theatre a few years ago.
I was not familiar with the story, but I did anticipate that it would be about the Vietnam war in the 1970s and perhaps a love story between a US soldier and Vietnamese girl. I will not spoil the rest of the play, but I will say that it is a sad play and is based on true stories. The production was brilliant, and I was told that the theatre owner was present and watching the play as he does sometimes to ensure that standards are kept up. As I was alone, I talked to the lady next to me, who was friends with the person who is in charge of the lighting and who teaches theatre to young children.
Here's a view from the front of the theatre in London's Soho area.
Overall, it was a good production, and I recommend it. I will not spoil it, but there are some excellent uses of props and spaces, and there's some good music. The bloke and I talked after the play as we walked back to the tube station, and we both thought that the engineer character was probably the best and most diverse of the characters. I cannot say any more without giving it away, but there's so much I do want to say. If you do see it, enjoy it.