I have always been slightly put off the the overproduced bigness of musicals. Yes they are loud, impressive and manage to rhyme almost every line; but they are not the most authentic of theatre experiences.
Once totally changed this for me. Set in an Irish pub, with all the players on the stage the entire time – there were none of the brightly coloured spinning sets I was dreading.
It is a subtle and never completed love story between a recently dumped Irish musician and a new in town Czech immigrant. There were no barricades, wilderbeast or green witches but it hit all the right notes of tension, drama and love. In a way I think it is more suited to those who normally enjoy plays rather than the usual musical groupies.
I would recommend getting there early, the cast starts playing Irish jigs on the stage before the start time. And make sure to get down to the stage at half time to enjoy the unique experience of the set turning into a working bar.
Due to a slight technical issue I am actually writing this post on Sunday. Which means that I can predict the future and tell you all about the play I am going to see tonight and the actor I fell in love with. Confused? Me to.
I was lucky enough to be given tickets to Taming of the Shrew at the Hampstead theatre for my birthday. Or, more specifically I was given the tickets and told that I was being taken to a play I would really identify with (I subsequently punched the gift giver in the arm).
The play was the best Shakespeare performance I had ever seen. It was fast, funny, and outrageous. You know the actors are talented with they can make you laugh even when you don’t fully comprehend the words. The guys (all guys) preforming it were the Propeller Shakespeare company & they were the definition of slick.
Every word was effortless and every move was as exciting as opening night (this was the last show). The costumes were a brilliant mix which looked slightly like a charity shop threw up over them – which lead to a Shrew in punk, mousey sister in flapper and the men veering wildly between Russell Brand and 1970’s librarian.
I had totally forgotten how violent this play was, and it was testament to the talented players that I was laughing and applauding not calling a domestic violence helpline. That Shakespeare dude was seriously messed up in the head.
Oh and the falling in love? The actor in the blue trousers & marching band jacket had me swooning in my seat. He had the face the moves and the talented tongue (by this I mean he delivered a speedy monologue, get your mind out of the gutter). So, nameless actor in the blue trousers – comment below and I will have your babies.
One of the first things I booked through YPlan is the Edinburgh Fringe preview of “I Need a Doctor, an unauthorised Whosical adventure”, i.e. a Dr Who musical. If you hadn’t gathered by now, I am a bit of a dork. Actually, scratch that, I am a massive dork. So for me a Dr Who musical sounds like a fantastic night out.
It was in the smaller theatre at the Pleasance in Islington, which was actually quite lovely because it guaranteed that everyone in the audience was a genuine Whovian. The plot sounded promising; a super fan creates a Who musical and uses actual Who stars to put it on. Only slight problem is that all the big stars had better things to do, oh and also the pesky BBC copyright laws.
So instead it was a delightful comedy of errors, where the script was re-written and all the characters were played by two actors.
What made this such a unique show was the shared Dr Who passion. It was like seeing an end of year school show where everyone mocks the teachers – an endless inside joke.
It was a fantastic Whogasm of a show that all dorks must see.
I have a favourite new app. YPlan came into my life after I read about it on This City Life London, it intrigued me enough to try it for myself.
If you break it down to bare bones, it is an app that lists about 10 things going on in London tonight and tomorrow night. They are the smaller comedy shows, theatre performances, gigs and foodie events that you never normally hear about. Not only do you get to hear about these fun events, but the majority of them are under £10, which makes them perfect for a spontaneous night.
To add to the spontaneity, you pay for your ticket just by clicking a button on the app, so there is no time for your brain to come up with all those crap excuses (e.g. I’m really tired after a long week at work and I have about a million blog posts to write).
I think where YPlan differs to all those deal websites like Last Minute etc, is that it is really simple. There are only a few shows and only for tonight and tomorrow so you don’t get overwhelmed by all the things you should be seeing. Is is also requires active participation by YOU. You are the one who has to open the app, and if you have opened it obviously your brain is telling you to go and do something. Completely different from the hundreds of deal emails that clog up your inbox every day.
If I haven’t convinced you, download YPlan and use the rewards code “runawayk” – you will get £7 to try something out yourself.
As part of my ‘buy cheap tickets to go and see famous people’ campaign, I was lucky enough to see Peter and Alice staring Judi Dench. It was the best play I have ever seen. The play traced the lives of Peter Llewelyn Davies (aka Peter Pan) and Alice Hargreaves (aka Alice in Wonderland), and how these famous characters shadowed their every day.
What I loved so much about it was the psychological implications that it covered. These two children were focussed on by the authors to such an extent that they inspired these fantastical characters. It asked the question about if these relationships (between the young children and old authors) were entirely appropriate, and even if they were what on earth did the ‘fame’ do to these little children.
In a clever move, alongside the central characters of Peter and Alice there were also the characters they they inspired – confronting them with the larger than life opinions and stories. They also had J. M. Barrie and Lewis Carroll to provide the more sinister point of view. The combination of these six characters was absolutely spell binding.
My favourite part of the play was when Peter and Alice spoke of meeting new people, and how they were always slightly disappointed to not be meeting the book character. Such an expectation to have to meet in every new face.
I don’t know and/or care how true to life this play was, but I am very grateful to have seen it.