EXPERIENCES OF A THEATRE LOVER

I love going to the theatre and go as much as my budget and time allows.  I like to experience all types of shows,  whether it is a musical, play, classical music or just a performer singing.  I also believe that there is a show/production for everyone.

For every 4-5 shows I go to, I am going to produce a Theatre Roundup post of my experiences.  I am not a theatre critic and I am not going to try to be one.  My Theatre Roundup will be more about the noteworthy parts of that particular theatre experience.  I will of course tell you a little bit about the show and whether I thought it was any good.  What I want more to do is give a review of my theatre experience. This could mean the cost of the ticket and whether it was value for money.  Also, where I sat, the ambiance in the theatre, the facilities and the service from the front of the house staff.

My Last six theatre outings have ranged from listening to some lighthearted singing to a thought-provoking play.

Samantha Barks at The Churchill Theatre, Bromley

Samantha came third in the BBC talent show I’d Do Anything in 2008 (in a bid to become Nancy in Oliver in the West End) and I have since followed her progress. Samantha then went onto to play Eponine in the film version of the musical Les Miserables. Samantha, Accompanied by her four piece band sang a mixture of songs including some from her new album. For the encore Samantha sang On My Own from Les Miserables and it was truly spine tingling.

My only disappointment was that the theatre was not full so there was very little atmosphere.  I sat about 8 rows from the front slightly off centre and my ticket was under £25.00.  For watching one performer on stage the seats were perfect.  The Churchill Theatre is a modern theatre with plenty of bar areas and the staff were more than helpful.  As with most theatres there is always a queue for the ladies.

BBC Radio 2 Friday Night is Music Night at The Hackney Empire

This was a special show for HM Queen’s 90th Birthday Celebrations.  Ken Bruce hosted the show which featured music from HM Queen’s lifetime with Sir Willard White performing songs from South Pacific, Fiddler on the Roof and Showboat.  Soprano Sarah Fox and Downton Abbey star Julian Ovenden also performed.  The concert featured the Fanfare Trumpet team of the RAF college.  In my opinion you can not beat a live orchestra and Sir Willard White outshone all my expectations.

On this occasion the tickets were free (I had to apply to be in a random draw).  However I did have to queue for over an hour and wait in our seats for over 30 minutes, but it was definitely worth it.  Although Hackney Empire is an old building and in need of attention this did not dampen the evening or occasion.

Aladdin at Prince Edward Theatre, London

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This is at the entrance to the Prince Edward Theatre and lots of people were having their photo taken with it.

I expected this to be a magical experience and I was not wrong.  I don’t want to spoil it for you but what I will say is that the show has many magical moments.  I think the building has had a makeover, as everywhere was fresh and clean from the auditorium and seats to the bar and toilets.  From the moment I walked into the theatre I did not feel I was in a London theatre.  I am not saying that it was a bad feeling, just did not feel like traditional theatre.  I could have quite easily been in one of the theatres in the Disney Parks.  I will add that the Genie was amazing and stole the show from the moment he walked on stage.

As long as they are at an appropriate age and will sit and watch, this would be the perfect show to introduce children to the theatre.  Similarly this would be the perfect theatre experience for any non-theatregoers but who are Disney fans.

Guys and Dolls at the Phoenix Theatre, London

If you enjoy a traditional musical then this is for you.  Set in New York City the show moves at quite a fast pace. So much so that due to constant interruptions around me, it was difficult to keep up with the story.  That said from what I saw and heard was very good with some entertaining song and dance routines.  On this occasion I sat in the Upper Circle and to be honest the seats were not that comfortable.  However, I think I was fidgety due to the goings on around me.  I was so annoyed and upset that my afternoon’s entertainment had been spoilt.  So much  that I was spurred on to write a post about it.  You can read my post about Theatre Etiquette here

Kinky Boots at The Adelphi Theatre, London

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The front of the Adelphi Theatre

I knew nothing about this show (only that it had won several awards both here and in the US).  However,  this has become my favourite new musical of the year to date.  It is a light-hearted comedy/musical with lyrics by Cyndi Lauper and a book by Harvey Fierstein.   The choreography and timing are outstanding and in one scene they are dancing and jumping on four moving travelators.  Cyndi Lauper’s musical influence can be heard throughout and there are some moving songs such as Hold me in your Heart and Not my Father’s Son.  One of my favourite actors Killian Donnelly (I saw him in Memphis and The Commitments) played Charlie Price, one of the lead roles.  The other lead role was played by Matt Henry as Lola, you may remember Matt as a finalist on The Voice.

The Adelphi is the perfect theatre to watch any show.  I have seen quite a few shows here ranging from Evita to Made in Dagenham.  I have sat in the stalls, dress circle and upper circle and can not remember having a bad view.  I found the front of house staff to be very upbeat and amicable just like the show.  In my opinion this show has it all, music, dance, laughter and tears.  Would I go again, yes most definitely!

The Rise and Fall of Little Voice at The Union Theatre, Southwark

I wanted to see this a few years ago when it was revived by Diana Vickers but never got the chance. This was a sad occasion for me as this was to be the last show at The Union Theatre before they moved to new premises.  I went on a Sunday afternoon and there was not a spare seat in the house.  This is not my normal time for going to the theatre but I was already seeing shows on the Friday, Saturday & Monday so thought why not have a theatrical long weekend.

I love the uniqueness of the Union Theatre which is a small fringe theatre and only has approximately 40-50  seats (depending on the production).  There are only a few props and costumes and the stage is the floor at your feet.  At times the actors are inches away from you.  I love this up and close and personal  experience.  You get to see true acting without all the add-ons.  The play is about a young girl neglected by her mother who plays and sings to her dead father’s records, hence the name Little Voice.  The play is very poignant and thought provoking and may not appeal to everyone.

The Union Theatre opens again this month (July 2016) in their new premises and I can not wait to visit.  My only hope is that the theatre retains the charm and uniqueness previously experienced at their old premises.  Watch this space as I will definitely reporting on my experience in the future.

I hope I have given you an idea of the different types of entertainment that can be experienced at the theatre.

Have you seen anything lately, if so please do let me know.  I am always reading reviews and love recommendations.

 

 

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