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Matthew Winn

Member Since 12 Feb 2007
Offline Last Active Today, 02:31 PM

#300496 Bad Behaviour At A Show

Posted Matthew Winn on 13 April 2014 - 08:33 PM

View Postsam22, on 13 April 2014 - 05:13 PM, said:

I don't see the problem with using the socket, see your point about electricity but in the digital age people expect to be able to use chargers in restaurants, cafes, on the train etc so why not in the theatre? The grossly inflated ticket prices in the last few years can surely cover the few people who decide to use a plug for a few minutes

There's quite a difference between making use of a socket that is explicitly advertised as being for public use and assuming that any socket you happen to see is there for your own personal purposes.

#300363 Our Esteemed Culture Secretary

Posted Matthew Winn on 13 April 2014 - 05:05 AM

I don't get it. I mean, I understand the point of giving some headline-grabbing halfwit a position in the cabinet to divert attention from the general low-level incompetence of the government as a whole, but it's not supposed to be this obvious. It's like they're not even trying.

#299789 Old Vic New Season

Posted Matthew Winn on 08 April 2014 - 09:02 PM

View PostLynette, on 08 April 2014 - 03:13 PM, said:

This kind of thing is unacceptable and if we all had the b***s [we certainly have the clout]  we should let it be known that we want easier and transparent booking systems. Let the impresarios pay for a few geeks to design better systems. Not rocket science....

As long as all the tickets are selling what do they care if people are frustrated and disappointed? Good customer service is always a cost to the business, and the only time you provide it is if the cost of not providing it is greater. When you're in a position as strong as theirs, not only do you not have to give a damn about the customer but you don't even have to hide it.

#295659 Unexpected Moments!

Posted Matthew Winn on 07 March 2014 - 05:45 PM

If we're doing to discuss assaults on the audience, when John Barrowman was playing Billy Flynn in Chicago he managed to let his cane slip out of his grasp and it hit me squarely in the nads. I missed most of the next half hour of the show.

And then there was the time in Mamma Mia when Alex Jay threw a glowstick at me.

Perhaps I should stop standing in the middle of the front row shouting "This show sucks! Why don't you get proper jobs‽"

#294735 Disney's Frozen To Be Adapted For Stage?

Posted Matthew Winn on 01 March 2014 - 06:25 AM

View PostMrBarnaby, on 01 March 2014 - 12:21 AM, said:

I think it's a one song show . Can anyone remember any song other than Let it Go? That's not to say I didn't love it.. But they'd have to write a whole load of new (great) songs.

I can remember all of them. As far as I know.

A significant number of new songs wouldn't work. Part of the reason for that is that when people go to see "X on stage" they go to see "X, but on stage", not "something loosely based on X". That's particularly important when children make up a substantial part of the audience because if there are differences they won't understand why the show isn't the one they love.

But the main reason is that a musical isn't just a play with singing in it. The music is telling the story, so if you replace the songs you're also replacing the part of the story that they're telling. In this particular case, if you get rid of "Do You Want to Build a Snowman" you're getting rid of the bond between the sisters, the link between their adulthood and childhood, and the portrayal of the continuing love between them even as they grow up apart. Either you need a new song to do the same job (but why not use the existing one?), or you have to replace a good third of the film, in which case whatever you end up with isn't really Frozen.

#294501 Stephen Ward - The Musical

Posted Matthew Winn on 27 February 2014 - 05:59 AM

View Postdjp, on 27 February 2014 - 02:56 AM, said:

Cats has a well known  source, and a great song. People also  like cats, and watching athletic dancers dressed as cats. Phantom has a classic book behind it, and high drama,  as well as a lot of great songs.  Jesus Christ has had a lot of mileage,  and  name recognition and some good songs.  People like steam trains and many were brought up on books about them, or palyed with toy trains - skates add something novel to watch.

But they're still not obvious subjects for musicals. POTO and JCS could at least be seen as conventional story ideas, but the other two? A couple of hours of cosplaying furries doing ballet and a musical about the sex life of locomotives? Even in retrospect it's difficult to understand why they ever took off.

#294075 X Factor The Musical To The Palladium

Posted Matthew Winn on 24 February 2014 - 03:36 PM

View PostMrBarnaby, on 24 February 2014 - 01:57 PM, said:

Big shows often cancel first previews.

If it happens often then perhaps they need to cut back on the unjustifiable optimism and not sell tickets for dates they're not confident of hitting in the first place. The point of previews is so they can try out things that can't be done without a real audience, not to give them a chance to start getting money from the public while they finish building sets and learning lines.

#291885 Cats 2013 Uk Tour

Posted Matthew Winn on 06 February 2014 - 03:41 PM

I think "dated" is a little overused as a criticism. I tend to reserve it for things that depend for their impact on something that is no longer relevant, not just something that has been around for a long time. If you didn't know that Cats was a third of a century old could you really say that it doesn't work as well now as it did then?

#289478 Bad Behaviour At A Show

Posted Matthew Winn on 14 January 2014 - 04:19 PM

View PostIan, on 14 January 2014 - 12:23 PM, said:

A bit extreme perhaps ....

What gets me about things like this is...

"The victim had explained that he was texting his three-year-old daughter"

...as if having a reason that is important to you will magically transform what you're doing into something that won't be annoying or disruptive.

#287438 Has There Been An Accident Tonight In A West End Theatre?

Posted Matthew Winn on 20 December 2013 - 09:49 PM

View PostJon, on 20 December 2013 - 04:12 PM, said:

According to West End Producer, there are two shows that were planning to transfer to the West End but may not do so due to this incident which to me seems like a overreaction as I imagine theatre owners will be ensuring that their theatres are in good condition to settle any fears by theatregoers and producers although I wonder what the two shows were.

Colour me cynical but I can't help suspecting that there may be a certain amount of opportunistic seizing on this as an excuse for dropping plans that were running into trouble anyway. There's a similar effect whenever there's a terrorist attack anywhere, or when the Olympics were on: suddenly every closure is attributed to the events of the time and has absolutely nothing to do with lack of popularity.

#286919 Stephen Ward - The Musical

Posted Matthew Winn on 15 December 2013 - 06:59 PM

View PostSjh13, on 15 December 2013 - 05:38 PM, said:

It's hard to muster much sympathy for....Eva Peron, the Phantom, Norma Desmond - even JC himself.... ALW specialises in these sorts of characters - which is why I find the whole myth of him being "safe" so absurd.

I remember many years ago an American composer on rec.arts.theatre.musicals claiming that ALW was a populist writer who never took risks, the success of his shows being proof that he only ever opted for the obvious hits. Because clearly the public had spent years calling out for shows about dancing cats and the sex life of trains.

Mind you, this was around the time that Cats overtook A Chorus Line as the longest-running show in Broadway history, so there was an element of "how dare a foreigner think he has the right to set a record in the heart of US theatre" about it.

#284859 Bad Behaviour At A Show

Posted Matthew Winn on 26 November 2013 - 06:06 AM

View PostZippy, on 25 November 2013 - 11:26 PM, said:

If there's such a device in existence that can detect a mobile phone (presumably it needs to check it's transmitting a signal?) without transmitting any interfering signal, then why can it not jam said device without transmitting any interfering signal?

Jamming is transmitting an interfering signal. There are only three ways to prevent radio transmissions from working:

(1) Broadcast a more powerful signal that drowns out the original one.
(2) Wrap the entire area in a screen that stops radio waves getting in and out.
(3) Baseball-bat the transceiver or the person using it.

#283140 Eprogrammes - Great Idea Or Heresy?

Posted Matthew Winn on 06 November 2013 - 03:40 PM

Give people an excuse to sit there in a theatre and use tablets and stupidly oversized phones during the performance? Nope, can't see anything wrong there.

#279724 The Commitments (West End)

Posted Matthew Winn on 04 October 2013 - 05:01 AM

View PostTitan, on 04 October 2013 - 04:54 AM, said:

Shows dont close to make way for other shows. They close if they have stopped making money

Yes, but it has the effect of making way for other shows. Too many people - usually fans of the show that is closing - treat a closure as a permanent loss of jobs, but with new shows replacing the old ones not only does the overall number of acting jobs remain the same but also it provides opportunities for work for all the people who are involved in the setting up rather than the running of a show.

#279661 From Here To Eternity, Shaftesbury Theatre

Posted Matthew Winn on 03 October 2013 - 02:54 PM

View Postchess, on 03 October 2013 - 01:06 PM, said:

I agree. I have the feeling this is going to be great show, but previews are important for the creative team to change and test things. I have booked my ticket for dec. It will be in fine shape by then.

If productions would uphold their end of the preview bargain then so would audiences. That's how it was, even on the Internet.

It used to be that when you saw a preview you'd see a show that was as ready as it could be, subject to the condition that there are some things that can only be tried out in front of a live audience. When you've been working on a show for months it's difficult to step back and see it as an outsider would see it, and often something that reads brilliantly on paper drags in performance. You can never be sure how the material will work until you do it for real, and you reward the audience for being your guinea pigs by offering them a substantial discount.

But these days preview audiences are not only paying full price, they're also getting a less finished show. Previews are being treated as rehearsals. The preview period is for polishing the script; it's not there to give the crew a couple of extra weeks to build the set and the cast a couple of extra weeks to learn their lines. Those things do not require an audience and they should be complete ready for the first preview, not press night. If audiences are charged full price to watch a technical then they're going to comment on it, and so they should.

If productions want the public to respect the preview period then they should treat it as a preview period rather than a chance to start raking in the money during rehearsals. I saw one show where I wasn't even informed it was a preview until one of the cast had to take several runs at a song and commented "That's what previews are for". No, that's what being sent the script weeks ago was for.