Lord preserve me from going to the West End on a weekend.
With its hoards rampaging through Leicester Square tube station, disgorging themselves out onto Cranbourn Street and cluttering up the pavement with their... you know... presence.
They were everywhere. A gaggle of pink-hatted girls surrounded the Gillian Lynne Theatre. From a distance they looked like they were on their way to a protest, but as I got closer I realised the only thing these kids were demonstrating was a lack of spacial awareness, as they had to be corralled into one corner to allow other people through.
"Get your tickets out and your bags ready for inspection," became the battle cry of the ushers.
Folded up pieces of A4 flapped in the breeze as everyone brought out their printed-at-home print-at-home tickets.
I didn't yet have my ticket. I was relying on the Gillian Lynne box office to print it for me.
I explained the situation to the nearest usher.
"You can go through, but I'll still need to check you bag though."
I opened it for him.
The corner of his lips twitched. "Right then," he said, after the merest fraction of a pause before waving me through.
In the safety of the foyer I peered into my own bag, wondering what it was that had caused his slick manner to stumble.
Sitting on top of the deep heap of items that I felt the need to drag with me everywhere, there was a massive bag of tea. Tetley. 240 teabags.
Now, here's the thing: we had run out at home. And it was a Sunday. The shops would be shut by the time I got out of the theatre.
In those circumstances, carrying around a great big bag of tea is totally reasonable, right? And if your list of things-that-need-to-get-done involve going to the theatre, while said bag of tea is on your person... well, so be it.
I don't know why I'm explaining this all to you. You've hefted around worse.
I've seen the table of shame at the Coli. I known what you weirdos get confiscated trying to get into the theatre... never a bag of Tetley though, I must admit. Perhaps the bag-checkers at the Coli have a more relaxed take on teabags.
I should test this out. If I can get them in, I might do a roaring trade undercutting the bar prices. Just need to find out a way of sneaking in a kettle and fortunes will be mine for the making.
Anyway, enough of that. I got in, with the tea, picked up my ticket, and headed for the escalator.
Even having bumbled up and down the twin-pair at the ROH hundreds of times over the years, the presence of an escalator in a theatre still manages to make me feel like I have taken a wrong turn and ended up in Brent Cross.
Although, given the brutalist concrete aesthetic the Gillian Lynne has going on, perhaps it would be more accurate to say I felt like I ended up in the Brent Cross car park. I'll give the Gillian Lynne this though, it's easier to navigate than the usual multi-storey.
The seats are more comfortable too.
I've never sat up in the balcony, but as far as I can tell, there simply isn't such a thing as a bad view in this theatre.
I was off to the far right (geographically-speaking...) and didn't miss a thing. If anything, I benefited from glimpses of those things that are usually hidden to those in the more prime locations - such as the screens bolted to the front of the balcony.
"That's the director," said a small child to the even smaller child sitting next to him. Small child pointed authoritatively at one of the screens showing the live feed of the conductor. The smaller child must have demonstrated some level of incredulity because small child was soon backtracking. "He works for the show anyway."
Despite this stumble, small child was clearly a practised theatre-goer, because as soon as the lights rose for the interval he was ready with his demands. "Can I get an ice cream?"
His mum ummed and ah he'd while he begged and pleaded. Things weren't looking good on the ice-cream front.
Thankfully the interval was saved by the magnanimous presence of dad. "Of course you can," he declared. "What else is there to look forward to at the theatre?"
The two boys ran off to join the impossibly long ice-cream queue. I stayed in my seat during to interval. Worn out, worn down, and quite frankly, just plain warm. I curled up and allowed the sound of childish chatter to wash over me, soothed by the scent of Haagan Daaz being rubbed into the seats by sticky fingers.
I began to suspect that the over-heating of the auditorium might be a ploy to increase ice-cream sales. The theatrical equivalent of a pub offering salted peanuts.
But I wasn't complaining. I was too sleepy to complain.
So sleepy that it took me a while to notice the jostling presence of someone trying to clamber over my knees.
The boys had returned with their School of Rock branded ice creams.
I almost wanted to get one for myself then, but I had already decided that the School of Rock official drumsticks would be my purchase of choice if I were to allow my self to buy anything at the theatre. I mean... to get something other than the programme, of course. Programmes don't count as a purchase. They're an essential. Like loo roll and hobnobs.
I will say that School of Rock is an excellent show to see if you have a cold. The music is so loud that if you can time things properly, a cough will be lost in the raging Stick it to the Man atmosphere.
I can even forgive them for making me clap in time with the finale. I was doing quite well until they busted out the aria from The Magic Flute, at which point I totally lost the rhythm and ended up just flapping my hands about in shame.
Still, the atmosphere is infectious. Even the Grown-Up Band (written in title case as that's how they are referred to in the programme) put down their instruments in order to rock out to the kids' playing.
As we all filed out, more than one parent caused permanent psychological damage to their offspring by humming a few of the tunes.
As for me, I never hum.
Except in the privacy of my own home. With the kettle’s whistling to cover my shame.