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Watching musicals at the theatre

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  • #31
    Re: Watching musicals at the theatre

    I have just come back from my well-earned break in Bournemouth in time for my birthday, hence my absence from this forum over the past week as I had no internet access down there. Saw the annual Air Show and the planes in the sky (understudies for the Red Devils who were sitting it out this year, and were just as noisy), but the main reason was to visit the Pavilion Theatre on Westover Road to see Fame the Musical.

    I did a bit of "revision" before going, playing YouTube clips of songs and bits from the TV series, as well as looking at reviews on local newspaper websites, where I have to admit some gave some negative feedback about the show which I thought was unfair and would put people off from booking tickets - one of them even said that it was "dated" which I think was a rather pathetic thing to say considering that it was based on a film series first made in the early 1980s. Personally, I would prefer a professional publication such as The Stage for a proper review and a "tell it to me straight" synopsis rather than amateur writers on local newspapers.

    The cast had been in Darren's neck of the woods in Belfast the week before (which I would have loved to have gone there to see via the ferry one assumes), and now they have moved onto the Congress Theatre in Eastbourne this week where I happened to see a Bill Kenwright musical there five years ago.

    As you do, I turned up for the Friday (birthday) evening performance - the theatre was within walking distance from the hotel I was staying in. I had 15 minutes before the audience was invited in to the auditorium, and so I decided to take advantage of the souvenir merchandise in the foyer. A Fame mug took my fancy, along with a keyring, and of course a copy of the programme along with a couple of other things. I thought that I could pay by card, but shock horror! - they didn't have a "card machine" and only had a cash box. So, I dashed out of the theatre and ran up the road to the nearest cashpoint, getting 60 and then running back to the theatre again.

    By then the message came on the PA system that the show was to start in three minutes, and to ask us to make our way inside to the auditorium and our seats. I made my purchases at that point, but as the show was about to start, I had to wait until the interval before I could pick up the items and my change. I did suggest to the staff member in addition to accepting credit card payment that the theatres that they should also have "in-house" cashpoints in the theatres for those visitors who might not have enough cash on them for cash only purchases, (along with all other theatres around the country) - I am going to write to the Front of House manager at the theatre suggesting that as well.

    The show actually started around seven minutes after its allocated start time, probably to give people a chance to get to their seats which I felt was very considerate especially when it came to the cash problem that I had. Me and a few hundred others saw the show - Mica Paris was on top form, but my favourite actor was Keith Jack - someone who I don't know too much about as I don't usually watch those reality talent series, (and so therefore I developed the urge to go over to Wikipedia, typing is name in the search box). Still, I gave him the benefit of the doubt as I purchased a CD of his music from the foyer. I love Jack's camp style on stage (there is always room for that in a performance), and he reminds me so much of such an act which I feel to be almost like a cross between Louie Spence and Rylan Clark-Neal. Jack was very active on stage in his denims, and one can see why he also does pantomimes as well.

    The interval beckoned at around 8.40 pm - I went back to the part of the foyer where the merchandise was being sold to get my souvenirs and my change, before going to the gents. Around 15 minutes later the second half commenced and the action was a lot more livelier as it often does. Great songs and acting, and the Irene Cara did get a couple of outings including towards the end. I am still getting around who's who via my copy of the programme. The standing ovation at the end, getting too excited as you do, and it ended just before 10.00 pm. I would have liked a matinee performance, but it was a Friday of course. I had the earworm of that old Irene Cara song all weekend, but it was worth it.

    Yes, it was worth paying 38.50 to sit in the stalls - I didn't go for the balcony which is what I managed to do at the hotel I was staying in. And the weather was kind to us - what more could I possibly want for my birthday?
    Telling it almost exactly like it was so many years later - and proud of doing so!

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    • #32
      Re: Watching musicals at the theatre

      Glad you enjoyed yourself George, a belated happy birthday to you
      Ejector seat?...your jokin!

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      • #33
        Re: Watching musicals at the theatre

        Originally posted by tex View Post
        Glad you enjoyed yourself George, a belated happy birthday to you
        Cheers mate.
        Telling it almost exactly like it was so many years later - and proud of doing so!

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        • #34
          Re: Watching musicals at the theatre

          Not my cuppa but I'd probably quite enjoy seeing it done live. Glad you had a good time!

          Attached Files
          Time flies like the wind, fruit flies like bananas - go figure!

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          • #35
            Re: Watching musicals at the theatre

            Jo Whiley played the song on her Radio 2 programme on Monday evening, although for some reason, it isn't listed on the Music Played list on the website.
            Telling it almost exactly like it was so many years later - and proud of doing so!

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            • #36
              Re: Watching musicals at the theatre

              I enjoyed Fame in Bournemouth so much that I have I have booked to see Grease at the Curve Theatre in Leicester on Thursday - Leicester is the nearest town or city to Nottingham on their tour, and it's only a couple of bus rides from where I am as well.

              Managed to get the autographs of the Fame cast when I wrote to them as well...
              Telling it almost exactly like it was so many years later - and proud of doing so!

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              • #37
                Re: Watching musicals at the theatre

                Went to Leicester Curve today to see the Grease the Musical matinee - I only booked the tickets last weekend, hence a "printed out" version from my computer. The theatre is actually a building which was only built in around 2007 and was opened for business in 2008. The architecture obviously has comparisons with London's City Hall, and it was probably the same person who designed it as well. I have been to Leicester a few times, with my first visit being 1991 when the local bus company there enticed Nottingham people to shop there for Christmas that year, and in particular the Highcross Shopping Centre when it was previously known as The Shires. (And as Grease was obviously a 1978 thing originally because of the original film, it does fit within the scope of this forum, just about).

                It was a great performance by the cast - most of the male "Hollyoaks circa 1959, or indeed 1978"-alike twenty-something actors in identical jeans and black leather jackets not surprisingly, while the females wore dresses that went all over the place like cheesecloth parachutes. Practically everyone enjoyed Peter Andre appear as Teen Angel - cue the audience going "ooh" ironically as Andre appeared on stage in a rather camp fashion in an almost sub-Julian Clary way - I didn't even know who played that part in 2017 until the night of the show when I got a copy of the programme. If the production were at the other end of the country to where I am, then I wouldn't have bothered booking, although as I enjoyed the 2017 Grease musical in Milton Keynes, and it was only Leicester, I decided to try the Leicester Curve as it's only a couple of hours' bus rides away from Nottingham.

                Firstly, I actually thought that as the kids were back at school, the audience was mostly pensioners and those who happened to have a day off on Thursday - I was correct that there were some elderly people there who sat with a couple of rows of where I were sitting. However, although the kids were back at school, one or two schools had arranged a theatre trip, probably as part of their Drama lesson - something that I didn't think of as I would thought it would have been adult only during a weekday afternoon term time. Especially as the characters used words that one would find on an 15 certificate film if it was seen in the cinema or released on video or DVD - it was a general viewing performance and not a children's one after all.

                Secondly, compared to the Tom Parker and Danielle Hope version from a couple of years ago, this version felt more traditional and from the publicity on the internet and in the theatre booklets, the 2017 version felt like a lot more "comedy drama" to it. In addition to that, I suppose it also makes the difference with regards to the type of theatre it is performed in - each theatre is unique and so the capacity to host the same production can vary from theatre to theatre. This version felt more exciting in that respect, and more mainstream. The illustrations felt more sexier and not seen in an ironic comedy context as the previous version was - it was different to the previous one.

                And then we get to the second half - it was true that the performance gets better as it goes along, and that is not to say that the first half was not better. Ten minutes or a quarter of an hour before the end, we finally got "You're the One That I Want" which is the song that I associate Grease with more than any other - a signature tune, if you like. One feels that Dan Partridge (not to be confused with the late Don Partridge of "Rosie" fame of course), and Martha Kirby are obviously the sharp focus of the production as Danny and Sandy, just like other Danny and Sandy parings in previous productions.

                Warbling "I've got chills, they're multiplying" together, Kirby as Sandy in tight black trousers, black leather jacket and bunched up brown hair, putting all her effort into her part of the performance, and it did pay off. A standing ovation at the end and it was all over by a quarter to five. And then it was time to go home, and my journey was a bit longer than some of the others. I would have got a taxi back if it was an evening performance, no doubt. A matinee performance did help me save money at the end of the day...

                Oh, and I did change my avatar as a result of this - obviously we all know who they are. I will keep it there for the foreseeable future...
                Telling it almost exactly like it was so many years later - and proud of doing so!

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                • #38
                  Re: Watching musicals at the theatre

                  And of course the previous day's performance at the theatre gained publicity as a result of this:

                  https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-englan...shire-49660445
                  Telling it almost exactly like it was so many years later - and proud of doing so!

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    Re: Watching musicals at the theatre

                    glad you enjoyed grease George...this might make you giggle.
                    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_MSi0MhM_c
                    Ejector seat?...your jokin!

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                    • #40
                      Re: Watching musicals at the theatre

                      Yes, I am obviously well aware of Arthur Mullard and Hylda Baker's "parody" of You're That I Want - there is a reason that it is not played very much on radio station - I cannot put my finger on why that is so...

                      Rumour had it that record sales of Travolta and Newton-John's original version suffered a slight dip in 1978 because of the Mullard and Baker version, but I suppose that it was not much different to the Baron Knights or some satirical group like that taking it off to be honest.
                      Telling it almost exactly like it was so many years later - and proud of doing so!

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                      • #41
                        Re: Watching musicals at the theatre

                        Funnily enough, Leicester wasn't the nearest city that Grease the Musical were performing to where I am - I just found that they are also going to do the Nottingham Theatre Royal next year!
                        Telling it almost exactly like it was so many years later - and proud of doing so!

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                        • #42
                          Re: Watching musicals at the theatre

                          Originally posted by Chana468
                          I've seen a few musicals in recent years at the West End & Manchester.
                          Sounds as if that comment was meant for this thread.
                          Telling it almost exactly like it was so many years later - and proud of doing so!

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                          • #43
                            Re: Watching musicals at the theatre

                            Got the autographs of the Grease cast in Saturday's post - Brilliant.
                            Telling it almost exactly like it was so many years later - and proud of doing so!

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                            • #44
                              Re: Watching musicals at the theatre

                              As you obviously know, at the moment the theatres (and their Box Offices) are closed due to the coronavirus, and sadly it might mean that visiting the theatre on my birthday this year could be cancelled. At this time of year, I make plans, but to be honest, I don't know what life will be like in just a couple of weeks' time at the moment.

                              After looking at the contenders of: Felixstowe (Joe Pasquale down there); Southend (some "Puttin' on the Ritz"-style musical there); Bridlington (a Take That "Experience" tribute show up there); and Blackpool (Motown tribute show - no longer performing on the night - postponed until April next year).

                              I have decided to go for the great Jane McDonald, alumnus of the 1990s docusoap The Cruise (Jeremy Spake or Maureen Rees, anyone?) who will (hopefully if it things get better) be at the Leeds Grand Theatre - as she's from Wakefield, she will be performing again on her home soil. However, just 28 seats left in the entire place, and things are in limbo because of the virus, so I am not counting my chickens until they have hatched. No point in booking at this moment in time in other words, but I hope that there will be light at the end of the tunnel between now and August...
                              Telling it almost exactly like it was so many years later - and proud of doing so!

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                              • #45
                                Re: Watching musicals at the theatre

                                Didn't get to see have my annual birthday sabbatical due to the coronavirus and all the theatres were obvious closed with performances of shows cancelled (would have chosen wither Southend or Leeds) - stayed at home for the first time in years.

                                Spent the morning of my birthday last month writing an open letter on my computer about how the virus is damaging theatres and depriving people of watching shows there (including my birthday plans for this year), as well as the effect it has on performers - I sent a copy of the letter to my MP (who responded by email), as well as the PM and Oliver Dowden of the DCMS. Other recipients include Equity (who invited me to sign a .gov.uk petition regarding connected to the subject of theatres and actors); Spotlight; The Stage newspaper; local theatres (Nottingham Playhouse responded by email); dignitaries such as Lloyd-Webber (Really Useful Group responded), C Macintosh, Kenwright, and others. Anyone I could think of in connection to the theatre, musicals, drama and acting. I hope that we can see theatres reopening as normal not too long into the future.

                                Next year, Chicago the Musical is starting a run in March 2021 (although the second wave might put that back on the back burner). I might book tickets in lieu of this year, but considering the situations that have happened in Birmingham over the last few weeks, I might try the Sunderland Empire or even Liverpool. We will just have to wait and see...
                                Telling it almost exactly like it was so many years later - and proud of doing so!

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