13 May 2013

Putting On The Ritz

Saturday afternoon, I was invited to a private screening of Pedro Almodovar's new feature I'm So Excited! It had garnered a mixed collection of reviews and so I wasn't quite sure what to expect. Almodovar is best known for his films such as The Skin I Live In, Volver, and Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! and so an out-and-out comedy set on a doomed aeroplane seemed a little off-kilter.

The screening was at the BAFTA headquarters in Piccadilly and we made it just in time to slip into the second to back row, just in case we wanted to make a quick (and early) exit. And make a quick and early exit we did. We stuck it out for about an hour, giving it the benefit of the doubt, and whilst it started off quite funny in places, it seemed to disintegrate into farce and become a little clunky. Despite an amusing, very camp rendition of The Pointer Sister's I'm So Excited (giving the film its title), brief appearances from Antonio Banderas and Penelope Cruz, and some silly characters (namely the pilots and cabin crew), it just felt too Airplane. 

We left and ended up going for a conciliatory drink at The Ritz and a spin at blackjack. I'd never played before (apart from some predrinking attempts at 21) and tried to get my head into it by watching another player at the table. Once I'd plucked up the courage, I put in £10 - and ended up with two 21s (one with an Ace!) and making £15. I stopped there as beginner's luck never needs to turn into complacency, and I'm pretty pleased to be able to say I came away from The Ritz up.

The glitzy gilt drinking rooms of The Ritz Club were a little unexpected, but it was clear why it's a stalwart of London heritage. Some interesting frescos, brilliantly puffy sofas and armchairs and predictably attentive service herald the best in British hospitality. It's no surprise that tourists and locals alike flock here and I'm pleased that I've joined the ever-swelling ranks of visitors.

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