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Member Since 12 Feb 2007
Offline Last Active Apr 16 2014 10:31 AM

#300896 Bad Behaviour At A Show

Posted Ian on 16 April 2014 - 10:29 AM

View Posttheatremonkey.com, on 16 April 2014 - 08:10 AM, said:

LOL Steve10068.

A sheesh kebab? Well, if we go for a hog roast, then if we use a long enough spit, it should be possible to do...

... the only question is, how do we politely ask the orchestra not to use the pit during act 1 so that we can get a decent fire going in there and start cooking?

May I suggest two alternatives:-
#1 Quietly lean over the orchestra rail and inform the band that management are about to switch to recorded music for this show.

#2 Invite them to join in - musicians are invariably starving and travel vast distances for free food. Only trouble is there may not be much of the hog left for you.

#292236 Oh What A Lovely War!

Posted Ian on 09 February 2014 - 07:37 PM

Wonderful production - very theatrical, very moving, many laughs too. Several of these added for this production - the Scottish names shouted out by the Gillie for example. All-round excellent performances, beautiful design (by Lez Brotherston). Packed house, very appreciative response, many standing for curtain call.

Highly recommended - fully deserving of a transfer.

#288701 Blithe Spirit, Gielgud Theatre

Posted Ian on 07 January 2014 - 01:44 PM

View Postmusicalmadness, on 07 January 2014 - 12:17 PM, said:

Would people recommend those £27 slip seats in the Dress Circle, if anyone has had experience of them? They've had quite good reviews on TheatreMonkey (and they are usually quite a very reliable source)! I wouldn't mind paying top price for a ticket to see Angela Lansbury, but knowing that there may be perfectly fine seats at under half the price is very tempting! Also, are we assuming that Angela is fit enough to complete her entire run without days off etc? Thanks in advance! :)

I have sat there several times and in general they are OK - albeit leg room is tight, and you miss whichever side of the side of the stage you are sat on. This might be crucial in BS as the set plays such a part in the proceedings, but until it opens you are not likely to find out which side is best. You are however very close to the stage if you like to observe the slightest tic on an actors face.

#288690 Cancelled Performances/no Understudies..

Posted Ian on 07 January 2014 - 12:10 PM

I am usually pleased that the performance goes ahead as I most likely would have travelled some distance.

I once saw an author - John Godber - go on with a book in place of an actress in one of his own plays. Was certainly a unique event and quite possibly got more laughs than usual!

It is also IMO worse to see part of a performance that you are really enjoying and then have it cancelled part way through, which has happened to me on several occasions. To absolutely know that that you are missing something special and be wayyyy to late to find another show to see, really is the pits.

#287481 Has There Been An Accident Tonight In A West End Theatre?

Posted Ian on 21 December 2013 - 12:07 PM

View PostFront Row Dress, on 21 December 2013 - 09:44 AM, said:

Interesting that only last year Nica Burns stated that the Apollo had suffered from years of neglect, ALW had wanted to knock it down and replace it http://news.sky.com/...venue-neglected

The operative word in that selective quote by Sky is "HAD" (past tense) - Nimax bought theatres from RUT, part of the former Stoll Moss group in a poor state of repair and have spent serious money on their venues in the past few years, much of it not visible to the public. Included in this was "On the roofs, dilapidated metal gutters, dislodged stone coping and rusting steel beams all have had to be renewed." {Quote from Theatres Magazine Spring 2012}. This was particularly the case at the Duchess and Apollo theatres both of which had extensive roof repairs.

I wish the media would get the - basic - terminology correct instead of exaggerating for effect. It was the ceiling that collapsed, not the roof. A collapse of a roof would have had far worse consequences (as demonstrated at the supermarket in Riga last month where 52 people died). As has been stated this is a rare event - the last time a theatre ceiling collapsed was, I think, the Shaftesbury 40 years ago. This does not make the experience any less horrific for those inside, but on the positive side all seem to have agreed that the Apollo's safety systems operated correctly, the Apollo staff worked hard to ensure that the theatre was evacuated quickly, and the emergency services gave a rapid and exemplary response. Compare this to other tragic situations where nightclubs had locked or blocked emergency exits or where flats had breached basic fire containment measures and the Apollo (so far) comes out well. As for the ludicrous suggestion that old theatres are death traps (as many comments on various messageboards have done) people are far more like to come to grief in transportation to and from the venue than they are in their theatre seat. Can anyone recall the last time a member of the audience was killed in a theatre?

Nimax don't have the private funds which have enabled the fantastic transformation of the Delfont Mackintosh theatres, but it is incorrect to suggest that the buildings had not been maintained.

#286105 What Are Your Top 5 Coup De Théâtre's?

Posted Ian on 07 December 2013 - 04:15 PM

View PostDeal J, on 07 December 2013 - 03:09 PM, said:

I'm intrigued - how did they stage it? I love that cast recording, I wish I'd seen that version.

I have only seen the Broadway production on video (which is not quite the same) but IMO the London staging was far superior - if you could have mixed the cast up a little and then used the Phoenix production it would have been stunning.

The set was a vast curved wall filling the stage from each side of the pros to the rear in a semi-circle with lots (nine or more?) of arched double doors set into it, with a design of branches above the doors and a vast clock at the rear. The doors could be opened mechanically. Julia McKenzie (as the witch dressed in black, hooked-nose, warts and all) ate the items collected by the baker, started to convulse, and then ran screaming through the downstage door on the left, around the semi circle seen by the audience as she passed each open door. There was a small puff of smoke as she entered the left door which blurred rather than obscured her and as she reached the downstage right doors she cast off the black cloak and emerged through another small puff dolled-up to the nines, bejewelled and dressed in white. I saw the production three times and each time this got an enthusiastic round of applause.

In truth this was a very simple deception, but done so well that jaws hit the floor. Kovari was the consultant for the magic and certainly delivered the goods - no other production (that I have seen) has lived up to the sparkle that the original London production had, and some (yes Kerryson I am talking of your limp Leicester version) have failed miserably.

#281500 Queen At National Theatre

Posted Ian on 21 October 2013 - 05:59 PM

I suspect - know - that HM is not the only Queen at the NT tomorrow.

I shall be attending the platform and Light Princess, but doubt that I will have to budge up to accommodate the Royals.

I think they are going during the day, and are being given a tour of the building - be nice if she tweeted on the progress of the Dorfman transformation.

I have heard that there are fireworks in the evening - though the weather forecast is dire.

#281419 This Is My Family - Sheffield

Posted Ian on 20 October 2013 - 07:06 PM

Winner of the UK Theatre Awards "Best Musical" so that should spur on a revival somewhere. Also Sian Phillips got "Best Supporting Performance" award for the show. Well deserved victory.

Sheffield Theatres really on a high at present.

#278771 Is A Theatre Trip Affordable To The Masses?

Posted Ian on 21 September 2013 - 07:15 AM

View PostJME52K, on 20 September 2013 - 10:47 PM, said:

Would you share with us how you did it? I'm in London on Sunday 6th and got tickets for Let it Be through a lastminute.com offer for £27.50 each including booking fee.

Lucky with the lottery (5th attempt) for BoM - £20, dayticket (joined queue at 9:35am) upgraded by ATG for The Pride - £10, normal price purchased on the door at Southwark Playhouse which is unreserved seating - £16. I had been tracking seat availability for Trafalgar Studios and thought there would be a good chance that at the matinee there would be empty seats. I tend to have a £25 notional ceiling for a ticket - it has to be really special to exceed that.

Back in town next month for The Light Princess (circle £26, but it is the 50th NT anniversary with loads of extra events), The Herd at the Bush (£15 matinee unreserved seat), and The Scotsboro Boys at the Young Vic (3rd row stalls £15).

#278746 Is A Theatre Trip Affordable To The Masses?

Posted Ian on 20 September 2013 - 07:17 PM

Three shows this week, all front row seats, none booked in advance - Book Of Mormon, Farragut North, The Pride. TOTAL ticket price £46.

#275937 The Pride (Trafalgar)

Posted Ian on 22 August 2013 - 04:50 PM

What I find reprehensible - *IF* it is true – is the paragraph from the Sunday Telegraph:-
Shooting schedules are prone to run over and Miss Atwell announced yesterday that she was going to have to absent herself from the play for the night, possibly two. Trouper that she is, she made it all work out at the eleventh hour, even though the play’s publicist had initially said it would be impossible. Why? The Sunday Telegraph was in to review it.” The paying audience don't matter but Hey! A Critic? Get me to the theatre! Why could the Sunday Telegraph not have reviewed Nicolas performance?

I agree that there are times that advertised cast cannot appear, but it is my opinion that publicity has gone into overdrive over performers recently whereby, and this does not necessarily involve The Pride, the “star” IS the attraction, not the piece (Connie Fisher in SoM, or Elena Rodger (Roger?) in Evita). In these cases why cannot the named regular understudy undertake some of the major publicity appearances? Or have a double press night so each get reviewed.

Also Jamie Lloyd (and kudos to him for replying in a sensible and informative manner) seems to inadvertently inflamed the situation. By stating “I have wanted to do The Pride with Hayley Atwell since we worked on The Faith Machine together. The role of Sylvia has been promised to her since then.” and “I wouldn’t normally agree to something like this, but I didn’t want to do the play without her” he is implicitly implying that there is something unique which she – and she alone – is bringing to the role.
I have seen many understudies over the years – some I am certain gave a better performance than the actor cast, but in these circumstances I think I would feel a little cheated if I did not see Hayley.
Perhaps Trafalgar Studios should make all performances where Hayley is detained by the pre-arranged filming schedule, £10 nights like Mondays ….

#275868 Martin Guerre Is Transformed Again

Posted Ian on 22 August 2013 - 10:00 AM

Unless the title character is practically eliminated from the show it can never have a mystery element to it. As soon as you have Arnaud & Martin together on stage the who-is-Martin? element becomes redundant. Or you have to ditch the first third of the show and start with Arnaud arriving in the village - but again as soon as you get into the "back" stories you lose the surprise. Unless it is (say) Guillaume vs Martin/Arnaud-pretending-to-be-Martin fighting for Bertrandes bed there can be no identity suspense.

Neither the Prince Edward, nor the West Yorks productions were entirely satisfactory, though overall I preferred the WY one. The book would hang together much better if Martin was gay. "All a young man needs is time"?? Yeah Right!!

However if Martin is forced into marriage with his platonic friend Bertrande the sexless marriage is explained. He escapes meets and falls in love with the straight Arnaud and is again unable to consummate (though not this time his fault). Arnaud goes to Artigat to report Martins supposed death to Bertrande and they fall in love, but the only way to be together in the strictly religious community is pretend that Arnaud is Martin. Martin returns and has to choose whether to allow his wife to stay with his great love. It is not Martin and Arnaud fighting over Bertrande but Bertrande and Martin fighting over Arnaud.

The music is lovely. It was a grave mistake to ditch the "Working on the Land" number, with its peasant choreography, from the PE production, but the gains of "Without You as My Friend" and the gorgeous (misguided allegiances) "Why?" were welcome additions at Leeds. However dropping the cringeworthy "Sleeping on our own" from the PE show - sub-sub-sub "Master of the House" comedy - was something that should have been done during workshops.

#272033 This Is My Family - Sheffield

Posted Ian on 11 July 2013 - 09:18 AM

Only a week and a bit left to catch a superb new (ish) musical in Sheffield at the Crucible Studio by Tim Firth. An affectionate slice of family life as seen through the eyes of 13 year old Nicky (excellent Evelyn Hoskins), described as a musical comedy, it does exactly what it says on the tin, firing equally through both barrels.

Partly sung-through - tortology I know but you will know what I mean if you see it - it has few "numbers" but is none-the-less very tuneful. Mum Yvonne and dad Steve (Clare Burt and Bill Champion) have great chemistry both together and with other members of the family, namely gran May (Sian Phillips) who is heart-breaking - "Do I know you?" - brother Matt ( Terence Keeley) who has a big voice and a superb "attitude", and finally the racy, happy-go-lucky aunt Sian (Rachel Lumberg) who gets, and delivers on, the funniest number of the show. There is not a weak link amongst them, all beautifully directed by Daniel Evans.

Richard Kents design is also notable - for a "studio" production this holds nothing back.

I say new (ish) for what is a world premiere as Firth has recycled a fair bit from an album he created around 10 years ago called "Harmless Flirting" so if you need to hear "Last Man Standing" or "Same Thing Twice" again (and you probably will) seek it out. Slightly altered words from the album, but you will also find other references contained in the show.

Very highly recommended.

#264699 Booing

Posted Ian on 07 May 2013 - 07:26 PM

View Postjaqs, on 07 May 2013 - 03:52 PM, said:

Ive left prior to the megamix a couple of times at bad shows. Thus negating my need to boo or not clap or pitifully shake my head.

At the insistance of a minor cast member, (one of several trying to engineer a standing ovation during a Megamix after an interminable show), I did indeed rise to my feet which then rather publically marched across the front of the side stalls (I was in the centre blocks of seats) to the nearest exit. Not the reaction he was intending I think.

It felt damn good - and the production was being filmed which may have given them some additional editing to do!!

#264698 The Color Purple - The Musical

Posted Ian on 07 May 2013 - 07:17 PM

View Postmallardo, on 07 May 2013 - 06:47 PM, said:

It's a famous American book, a famous American movie, a well known and relatively successful American musical. Why would they change the spelling now?  That's parochialism in the extreme.

Personaly I think we should state that the story is "too american" for the British public, relocate the story to Liverpool, and call it "The Colour Purple" - just to get our own back for "The Full Monty".  :rolleyes: