Why I Love The Theatre
I love the theatre. Be it play, opera or ballet, I find the way the theatre makes me feel addictive. Scene after scene, act after act, I need to see more!
It is for this reason that I don’t understand why the West End Theatre scene is in decline. Maybe the newest generation has never been taught how to appreciate the theatre? Maybe folk can’t afford it anymore? Either way, I would hate to think that the decline in number of ‘bums on seats’ is due the decline of the talent on stage.
Nevertheless, at all recent shows, I have noticed that there are more and more empty seats. Mainly in what are usually referred to as ‘the cheap seats’. Could this be an indicator that there is nothing to tickle the ‘fairweather’ theatre goings taste buds?… Viva Forever anyone?
If Iago’s soliloquy in act two of Othello doesn’t make me hold my breath or if my heart doesn’t stop for just a second when Mickey shoots Eddie in Blood Brothers, then the show just wasn’t worth sitting through. I can in complete confidence tell you that any disappointment of the sort has never washed over me during a West End Show, regardless of how many times I have seen it.
I have been extremely privileged to have been both born and married into a family that loves the theatre. I have been lucky enough to see shows in Manchester, Liverpool, London, Paris and Hollywood (not New York… I just couldn’t face that queue).
The set of The Phantom of the Opera has always been immense. The story line of Twopence to Cross the Mersey has always broken my heart to the point of tears. And I found the music in King Cotton was nothing less than mellifluous. Every production is emotive in its own way and brings its own message. This is the thing that I love most of all about theatre, and what has always made me want to be part of it as more than just a spectatorial critic.
It was the 90’s West End Show that celebrated its 20th anniversary last year and that instills the message ‘take me or leave me’ that spoke to me most, however.
I have watched this musical a handful of times throughout my teenaged years (when it was touring the UK), and it was when I was going through a particularly difficult time that I went to watch a showing of just the catalogue of music from the show that spoke to me in particular.
I learned a valuable lesson about how to grow a thick skin, I kept my chin up and I got on with it. I am so thankful that my sixteen year old self went to see RENT. Its rocky renditions and beautiful song lyrics ensure its safety on my spotify playlist to date. It was the immaculate acting and simple, yet effective, set that won me over the first time that I saw it at the Manchester Opera House in 2002.
If people only knew the power that seeing a show that you can fall in love with has. To come out into the fresh air with a smile on your face and positive new attitude is divine.