Cirque de Soleil – Totem

Royal Albert Hall
Main Poster

A welcome return to the Royal Albert Hall today! After my last visit for Prog Rockers, Camel, back in September, last year, today was a complete contrast – Cirque du Soleil‘s Totem.

We picked up Janet, Jo and Carol and headed for Kettering Station and the 12.51. An hour-and-a-half later, we were taking our seats in the Hall. 

 Great Seats…great view!

Ann and I had not seen anything by Cirque du Soleil before, but Janet, Jo and Carol were ‘old hands’ – and everyone else we had spoken to had said we should be prepared to be amazed!

Unfortunately, no photos were allowed of the actual performance, but take it from us –  it was amazing... jaw-droppingly amazing! An absolute must-see. From trapeze work that will leave you breathless; bowl-catching in a way you’ll never see again, and a woman so ‘elastic-like’ it made your back hurt just watching her – every individual performance left us with with our jaws in our laps! Add to that an innovative triple projector system that bathed the stage in various ‘scenes’, a live band and a series of vocalists who accompanied the acts, and it all added up to the most creative performance of anything we’ve ever seen anywhere.

So, be prepared for lost of surprises, a few laughs, plenty of gasps of amazement – oh, and Hiawatha on roller-skates, and a monkey in a lab coat! 

Just another typical Saturday night in Kensington then!

Two hours and twenty minutes later, it was all over – and then the fun began! What felt like half the population of the UK all heading for South Ken Tube! Wow! I’ve seen the Tube busy in my life but this was something else!

We narrowly missed our preferred Train at St Pancras, but grabbing the one just after 7pm meant we were still back in Kettering by 8pm. And that was packed too!


Jo and Janet had thoughtfully slow-cooked a chilli – and it all went down a treat whilst we reflected on all that we’d seen during the performance.

The Sound of… Bookends

After picking up Jo, Janet & Carol, we headed off to Kilworth House this evening for a spot of nosebag and evening with the Simon & Garfunkel tribute act – Dan Haynes & Pete Richards aka ‘Bookends’.

Simon & Garfunkel at Kilworth
We haven’t been to Kilworth for over a year – last time was in September 2017, to see Top Hat and of course before that, in December, 2011, at the Hotel itself for our pre-Oz Honeymoon.

Well, Kilworth’s legendary Christmas ‘decs’ looked fantastic and the event was certainly well supported with around 150 all sitting down to enjoy the pre-event Dinner in the Orangery. Our Table of eight was shared with Paul and his wife Lynda plus their friend (who was seated a bit too far away for me to chat with her much).

Food was well-presented and tasty – and to make the evening’s logistics work, they served Starters and Mains before the event with Desserts and Beverages after the Boys had finished their performance.

Back to the main event…

After an easy-to-miss low-key stage entrance at just before 9pm, Bookends were straight into their repertoire – and wow!, from the off, they certainly sounded just like Simon & Garfunkel! –  fantastic!! But you didn’t need to have 20/20 vision to spot that they didn’t look like them at all – and they made light of that in their intro (pointing-out their collective lack of hair!) explaining that their focus was on S & G’s music itself.

Luckily our Table was closest to the the Boys and we got to enjoy their great sound (with a great view!). I can’t emphasise enough how good the harmonies were and although they’d only been going around seven years, it was a very polished act.

Initially, some of the tunes were unfamiliar, but we were soon into well-known staples such as ‘The Boxer’,’ ‘The Sound of Silence’, ‘Mrs Robinson’ and of course, the piece that everyone was waiting for: ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’.

We learned later that they also tour with a Strings section too – and I found this on YouTube

After Bookends departure, a lot of people left immediately, but we hung around. In fact, we didn’t leave until just after 11pm. It had been a GREAT show and in spite of the misty/foggy driving conditions, we we were home just before midnight.