Unless you live smack dab in the middle of downtown Seattle, getting to events in Seattle can quite often be a major concern. Just glancing at the Saturday Seattle Times, I noticed information about construction, road closures, and sporting events. We had matinee tickets for the Taproot Theatre. I mentally adjusted our timeline. I gave myself two hours travel time from North Tacoma to the Green Lake area just north of downtown Seattle.
I had talked with my friend John West, who is a consultant for Taproot Theatre helping them identify and raise the remaining funds necessary to reach their current capital campaign goal. He suggested a few restaurants near the theater. Both sounded like good choices. Once we arrived in the Phinney Ridge area we counted at least ten restaurants within blocks of the theater. There is construction every where. Taproot itself is building a new addition and with other building projects in the area, parking would be at a premium.
Peg and I were considering dining afterwards at the Berliner Pub in Renton with perhaps a snack near Taproot if we arrived with time to spare before curtain time. Between Federal Way and Kent a freeway traffic read-a-board gave us the bad news of a two mile back-up in Seattle. We opted for an eastside drive. We took the 405 through Bellevue and then took the 520 floating bridge past UW and continued on to I-5 and the North 85th exit. Over the previous week I had driven south on I-5 twice and saw the Washington State Patrol building the state budget, so I was watching my speedometer apprehensively. The speed limit on the bridge was 50 MPH, I was doing just over sixty, and cars were wizzing by me going seventy. Of course there were WSP cars in sight.
We had good location instructions. We drove past Taproot and circled the block where we found Razzi’s Pizza. We parked behind the restaurant and went inside at about 12:50pm. Peg ordered the split pea soup, while I ordered a meatball grinder. The split pea soup was wonderful. I wasn’t all the hungry, but managed to eat all my meatballs, but left the roll. They were very tasty. John and his wife, Dianne, joined us. Dianne and Peg chatted about children, hobbies and Edmonds while John and I talked a bit about the theater. They have been season ticket holders for years. Razzi’s did a great job of taking our order, serving us, and delivering the check so we could get to the theater with time to spare.
The Taproot Theatre was just around the corner from Razzi’s and just across the street from Gordito’s, a Mexican restaurant where Dianne and John had dined for lunch. Once we had our tickets John took me upstairs and showed me the model of what the new Taproot would look like.
It will have a new black box theater in the new building. A black box theater is as simple at that or sometimes a little more elaborate than black walls and black curtains. Typical black box productions are new plays that can be produced with a minimum of sets and props. The Seattle Fringe Festival is a good example of quick changes done between plays run every hour.
John and Dianne had already seen the play but were not seeing it a second time. The run is sold out. John arranged good seats for us in the second row, but in reality we scored front row seats. Yowser! Front row at the Taproot means you are virtually on stage.
Jeeves in Bloom was hilarious. We laughed and laughed. We howled. The actors did a fantastic job. The costumes were excellent. Peg and I loved the PBS series Jeeves and Wooster staring Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie. We have both VHS tapes and DVDs from the original production.
The play combined elements of several of the P.G. Wodehouse novels. The main plot centered around Bertie Wooster’s friend Gussie Fink-Nottle, a noted newt expert, and his inability to talk to Madeline Basset, the woman he loves. Bertie and his pals are silly, the young women fickle, the aunts stern, and Jeeves, the butler, all knowing and apparently the only one who can actually come up with successful plans. Bertie has wild schemes which would never reach fruition if not for Jeeves’ deft hand pulling everyone’s bacon out of the fire.
This is the kind of play I would normally see two or three times, while bringing friends and relatives to join me each time.
After the play, we decided to return to Razzi’s and have dinner. We arrived just before the dinner rush. Again, we received excellent service. Soon the dozen or so chairs under the front window had people sitting in them and waiting for tables.
From the diningroom next door I saw several people leaving with hard-sided briefcases. My guess is that they were comic book collectors fresh from visiting the Seattle Comic Con. Other events going on were a Sounders game (they lost), and the high school basketball championships. It was a busy weekend in the Pacific Northwest.
Two things stand out about the service at Razzi’s. Not only did they listen to our requests, but they went beyond our requests. I ordered a Shirley Temple, which is a Sprite or 7-Up mixed with some maraschino cherry "juice" and generally one maraschino cherry. My glass came with two AND when they refilled it later there were two more cherries. I’ve never seen that before. That’s good service.
Also, when the waiter brought the bill he noticed our Taproot Theatre program, and said, “Oh, I didn’t add in a Taproot discount.” We didn’t know there was a special discount. That’s really good service. We will return.
After dinner we chose to drive the freeway though Seattle instead of going the 520 back to Bellevue and down. As soon as we hit the freeway it was bumper to bumper, but when we pulled near the 520 exit, traffic was moving quite a bit better, so we took the chance.
Driving north Peg and I were dead tired. I had to keep asking her to talk to me. That way we both kept awake. On the return trip, we discussed dinner, the play, the actors, and Taproot. We laughed again as we talked about our favorite scenes. Our friends, family and especially our grandkids would have loved the play. It was a well-timed farce. The anctics were over-the-top, but not too far over. It was well directed. There was a “spit take,” a fart limerick, and ungainly wrestling, too, too, too dramatic gestures of "sensitive" young love and romance. Madeline Basset said, "When a fairy cries, there appears another star in heaven." Wodehouse is very good at skewering pretention. With plenty of pratfalls, shtick and physical comedy, what’s not to love?