Sydney. The first Australian stop on our epic honeymoon adventure. With 3 countries, 5 cities and 8 flights on our itinerary, Sydney Opera House undoubtedly took top spot when considering the places to visit during our stay in Australia. Of course it was. It’s the Australian icon; you cannot think of Sydney without envisaging the white, sail-like waves of its famous roof. The marvel of the oceanic waters, Harbour Bridge and the hoards of people flocking to Circular Quay; its such an exciting image. Everybody who has ever visited Sydney since the ’70s has photographed this man made marvel. We went one better. Or at least we tried…
Being the thoughtful, smooth, romantic husband that I am I decided it would be a wonderful idea to book the wife and I tickets to see a show at the Sydney Opera House during our stay. We can then look back at the Sydney Opera House for the rest of our lives with our smug “seen it, done it” faces on. However, we now remember the Sydney Opera House for a different, albeit equally spectacular, reason.
Our matinee show was on the day of the marathon in September 2015. The journey was a struggle as our Taxi fought against the blockades and eventually left us walking the final stretch of the harbour. Looking at the marvelous building in awe we began proudly marching up the endless steps towards the main entrance, stopping for a few photo opportunities on the way, whilst swinging our show tickets in the air for all to see. We were on the other side of the world seeing a show at the Sydney Opera House! On our honeymoon! We were on a high.
Inside, we found the Opera House to be a bit like a football stadium, all brick and concrete; a disappointment when compared to our Royal Albert Hall at home. We found a ticket desk and asked for directions to our show; “Carnival of the Animals” – a local cirque-du-soleil-esque show involving acrobatics, dance and music with a touch of tasteful humour. The adverts were dark, moody and mysterious. We were in for a treat. The lady at the desk pointed to the furthest, darkest, corner where we would find an elevator back to the ground floor. We were then told to follow the building around the back to a rear entrance signposted ‘The Playhouse’. Fine we thought, it’s a matinée and not a massive show- it must be a smaller venue round back. We entered the lift and took the ride down.
When the door opened we soon realised why they called it The Playhouse. The walls were multi coloured, the clientèle were young, affluent Aussie Mothers and the bar was… well… a coffee shop. A playful lady covered in Lego quickly approached us followed closely by a swarm of children. We ran for it, dodging the pre-schoolers on the floor and knocking over a few alphabet bricks and toy train sets along the way. We had made it to the theatre door unscathed.
“Two for the show” I said to the ticket boy, waving my tickets in front of him. “Just…. just the two of you?” he hesitated. But… Of course. Was it mandatory to bring an odd number of people to this show? Was this an Aussie requirement we didn’t know about? We were, after all, from the other side of the world. Confused, we continued towards our seats on the front row. The front row at the Sydney Opera House! Wow.
As we entered the theatre, past the ticket boy we soon understood his confusion. This theatre was pretty full. There were certainly lots of couples. It was, in fact full of couples.
And their children. Lots and lots of children. There were children jumping on seats, children screaming on laps, children running across the makeshift stage. The Carnival of The Animals, it transpires, is a children’s show. A cirque-du-soleil of funny animal impressions. We watched the acrobatic troupe roar like lions, soar through the air like birds and swing from ropes like monkeys. My personal highlight was when they took to the audience with blow up sharks and pretended to attack the children…. one poor actress ran up to this pair of mystified travellers and quickly realised we didn’t have any children children to attack. I’m not too sure who was more confused about it all, her or us.
Anyways, as it goes it was a really enjoyable show (The Wife is shaking her head). Such physical strength and stamina went into the show from the 6-or-so cast members. All for it to be taken for granted by the rawcus 5-7 year old crowd. “Fish!” they would all distractedly shout when the actors pretended to be swimming across the stage. “Cat! Cat! Meeeoowwww!” was the annoying cry from the child-audience when the cast transformed into jazz-loving alley cats. “I need a wine, NOW!” was the desperate whisper from my embarrassed wife, clinging to my side as soon as the cast bowed for their final encore.
And that, people, has probably has ruined the iconic image of the Sydney Opera House in my mind forever. The thought makes me smile, but the experience still sends shivers down my spine. Pass the beer.
Check out my other Travel Fails HERE. When you’re me this kind of thing happens regularly, obviously….
WITH THANKS TO
NICKI MANNIX (MAIN IMAGE)
Do you have any embarrassing stories from Down Under that you can’t wait to share? Ever accidentally booked onto the wrong show or transport? I’d love to hear your stories. Comment below or get in touch via email.