The Youngest of the Darling Daughters arrives for our latest Theatre Date. Usually we enjoy lunch before we take our seats in our Theatre of Choice but this time we have booked an evening performance at Brighton’s
historic Theatre Royal - so instead we enjoy a home- cooked sausage casserole, prepared with my own fair hands (though my daughter did chop the onions, so sparing my tears.)
We consult Google Maps and synchronise our watches. We need to leave just after 6 p.m. we agree. Mr B says he will be perfectly happy in our absence, given that he will be able to watch the latest instalment of Doctor Foster without me interrupting
with what I would call pertinent, but he would describe as ridiculous comments on who is doing what, to whom and why. If you have ever watched Doctor Foster (she never seems to actually examine a patient - honestly, it really is that realistic) you will understand
what I mean.
We are off to see Driving Miss Daisy starring the legends that are Dame Siân Phillips and Derek Griffiths. The Youngest of the Darling Daughters
remembers the latter from Play School - he has such a lot to live up to…
However, my dear daughter has first to drive me to our destination. Honestly, Driving
Miss Daisy was an absolute doddle compared with driving me through the congested streets of Brighton. “I really don't like this!” she despairs, as we find ourselves trapped behind yet another bus or lorry, trying to follow the instructions meted
out by a dispassionate voice on Google Maps who never once apologises for leading us astray.
Mr B, at his most righteous, will tell us later that he told
us to take the seafront route, on the basis that we will, at least, know where we are going. I can't remember this helpful advice but that's not to say he didn't proffer it. Why, oh why, didn't I hear him?
One torrid drive later we park up in a nearly empty car park where a notice tells us that three hours’ parking will cost us £15. We are too weary - and too grateful to have arrived in time - to protest too much.
The theatre is just around the corner and we have superb seats - third row back and centrally placed. It is sad, we feel, that the theatre is only about a third full - we contemplate, silently, that we could have
turned up on the night and claimed tickets for half the price we paid.
The Youngest of the Darling Daughters has a preference for musical theatre but is perfectly
happy to watch a play - though she admits she can't quite get used to the fact that nobody bursts into song at important moments. Driving Miss Daisy is funny, thought-provoking and deeply poignant, especially in the final scene where I sit in Row C, seat 6,
grizzling away, the Usher Gene in full flow. I hope if I ever live to be 92, someone will feed me Thanksgiving Pie (or its British equivalent) with just as much love as one-time chauffeur Hoke showed Miss Daisy.
Returning to the car park, we are delighted to discover that the evening charge is just £5. Fantastic! We will return home via the sea-front, we say - but Fate (aka Google Maps) intervenes and we find ourselves, to paraphrase
Robert Frost, on the Road Most Travelled By. Which makes all the difference, as Mr Frost would rightly say. My daughter introduces me, courtesy of the car’s CD player, to the song which closes the first half of the musical Dear Evan Hansen. So very uplifting,
we agree. We almost always agree on such important issues, my youngest daughter and I. Not to mention the little issues…
I love driving with this daughter
of mine. In Days Past, with two littl’uns (now all grown up) in the back seat, we progressed through animal songs, to the hits of McFly, to the Best of the Musicals. We have driven to ballet exams, swimming lessons and various exciting Days Out. I will
always be grateful and glad to be invited to sit there in her front passenger seat.
But next time, we'll take the seafront route..