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Watching musicals at the theatre

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  • George 1978
    replied
    Having another sabbatical, hence the absence on here...

    Anyway, saw Hairspray the Musical at the Liverpool Empire theatre on my birthday - as I was walking along Lime Street I noticed a very long queue, and it took me a few minutes that they were theatre punters, and to realise that it was because of the COVID restrictions and the theatre staff were going to allow them in one at a time. Everyone had to prove that they had both vaccines or had a negative lateral flow test within the previous 48 hours (done just after midnight on Sunday) in which I had with using a test kit with the details printed out.
    Eventually got inside, shown my ticket and the negative test to staff, and went to the stalls for the show - it started a bit later at around 7.45 pm because of the COVID checks and all that.

    Norman "Hale and..." Pace was great with an American accent, (I am certain that I have seen him in Hale and Pace sketches where he plays American Wild West-type characters), and so was the (male) actor who played the sub-Wishee Washee role as well.

    Unfortunately apart from the programmes, there were no souvenirs for sale. "We weren't given any", a staff member said when I asked at the interval. No mugs or fridge magnets, which was a pity. Because of the late start, the interval and the second half was later as well, and it didn't properly end until around 10.10 pm, some 15 or 20 minutes afterwards.

    Might try for Chicago next year if they can extend to August - I know that it has been extended to July. Mama Mia is there on that date in Canterbury, but it does mean having to go through London to get there...

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  • George 1978
    replied
    Well, most of us will spend around two and a half months of our life celebrating our birthdays, so you might as well make the most of it, and I think that milestones such as 50, 60, 70 etc, are just as important as earlier ages.

    I believe that Gareth Hale is alive and well - I just think that Hale and Pace are just doing their own things which is something that I couldn't imagine Morecambe and Wise doing. It would be nice to have them both starring in it though.

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  • tex
    replied
    Nice that you still consider birthdays "special" George, when you reach my age you stop counting the years off. Hale and Pace were very funny at the height of alternative comedy during the 80s, did Gareth hale die?

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  • George 1978
    replied
    Booked tickets to see Hairspray the Musical at the Empire Theatre in Liverpool on that "special date" in the near future - it has Norman Pace out of Hale and Pace in the cast so it should be good. As coronavirus might be almost gone by then, fingers crossed, I assume that it will go ahead as planned.

    Will let you know what I thought of it later on in the year.

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  • George 1978
    replied
    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...

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  • George 1978
    replied
    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...

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  • George 1978
    replied
    Re: Watching musicals at the theatre

    Got the autographs of the Grease cast in Saturday's post - Brilliant.

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  • George 1978
    replied
    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.

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  • George 1978
    replied
    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!

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  • George 1978
    replied
    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.

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  • tex
    replied
    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

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  • George 1978
    replied
    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

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  • George 1978
    replied
    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...

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  • George 1978
    replied
    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...

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  • George 1978
    replied
    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.

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