2018 mid-year update

 

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Where have those six months gone? The year started off quite slow and steady, but all of a sudden things have picked up the pace again… It’s as if I never attempted to take things a little easier!

As of this evening, I’ve managed to fit in 110 different shows – plus there are the customary repeat visits to a few, so that comes to 134 shows in total! Not quite as good as this time last year, however I have been fitting in other things such as stand-up comedy, scratch nights, concerts of various kinds, film screenings… And many other things besides! More than enough to be going on with, including plenty more Emma Rice offerings; Brief Encounter is still running, plus an Old Vic run & tour of Wise Children has been officially announced now.

And it’s lovely that I now have something of a reviewing team, so I can send some Mind the Bloggers out and about to cover that little bit more. And allow them to see some (hopefully) great theatre in the process!

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Places to go

It’s not much of an exaggeration to say that I’ve been all over the place this year. You’ll remember my Flying Lovers tour diary, plus I did make it up to Liverpool on two separate occasions for Othello and The Jungle Book, meaning I could explore both the Everyman and the Playhouse. I eventually managed to see 20th Century Boy in Dartford, in spite of some technological dramas at Bromley…

I never ever thought I’d make a day trip to Hull, especially just for a bit of theatre, but it was actually a rather nice experience on the whole – the Hull Truck is a fantastic venue, so I think I’ll be trying to see something else there in the future. It’s always a pleasure to go to Bristol and rather neatly I managed to visit a couple of times within a few weeks, first to the Hippodrome to see Amy starring in Wicked, and then to the Bristol Old Vic to see the wonderful Kirsty Bushell in The Cherry Orchard. I was thrilled to head up to Stratford-upon-Avon for an RSC press night, especially as it was an opportunity to stay in the beautiful Shakespeare Hotel (in the Twelfth Night room, no less!) and see Tam onstage again. And most recently I hopped up to Coventry to make sure I caught Sunshine on Leith before it returned to Scotland, which is one of the best decisions I’ve made all year! I really do wish that either the tour was a bit more extensive, or that it just transferred to the West End… Or both…

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Shows to see

Just like last year, I’ve been pretty efficient in ticking off the shows I really want to see. I was lucky enough to take in almost all of The Winter Selection for BroadwayWorld UK (and of course I booked myself a ticket for the very last show, The Little Matchgirl, where Emma made us sing Days at the end – I really can’t escape The Kinks!), and I ended up seeing Mood Music (sans Rhys Ifans) twice. Of my list of six London shows, I just missed out Mary Stuart – as I’d seen it during the original Almeida run I decided to prioritise other things that were playing at the same time. And I did finally get to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, after booking just over a year before the performances!

So that now means I look to what else is coming up… Some things that I’ve booked to see are:

  • As You Like It & Little Shop of Horrors, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
  • A Monster Calls Sylvia, Old Vic
  • The One, Soho Theatre
  • Emilia, Shakespeare’s Globe
  • Misty, Trafalgar Studios
  • Measure for Measure, Donmar Warehouse
  • Summer and Smoke, Duke of York’s Theatre

Plus I’m due to review a few big shows for BroadwayWorld UK, including The Jungle, The King and I, Troilus and Cressida (at the RSC again), True West and Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope in concert.

I also have a few more trips out of town on the horizon (and some in the planning stages still), including Me and My Girl at Chichester, Miss Littlewood at the RSC, and Let It Be. Plus Kwame Kwei-Armah’s inaugural season at the Young Vic looks very enticing, particularly Twelfth Night – and the latest Company casting is very good indeed.

And I have some more trips to Hamilton already booked in.

 

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Theatrical new year’s resolutions

Well. Not had a great deal of opportunity to tick many of these off as yet, but I am sticking with the monthly preview posts – and I have at least booked the practical side of Edinburgh, even if I haven’t planned my week yet… There are some interesting things coming up at RADA, so I still have a chance to keep to that resolution (annoyingly their scheduling of The Two Gentlemen of Verona doesn’t fit with my pre-exisiting commitments, as that would also allow me to tick off another Shakespeare from the list!). I’m waiting desperately for something (anything) that I’d be happy to watch in the Lyric – you will not catch me at Thriller Live unless I’m dragged there – and steeling myself to maybe see Mamma Mia! again, if I can find someone to get a bit tipsy with while we watch it…

I’ve been trying really hard to think of a decent challenge week theme (to be honest, Edinburgh may end up falling under that category), as I do want to do something like that again this year. If you have any ideas, please do get in touch!

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One thing that I’ve really enjoyed so far this year is doing interviews and as many news & preview posts that I can. Obviously what stands out for me here is the months of Paper Creatures Theatre promo, with several interviews relating to their new play Section 2 – as well as taking part in their fundraising quiz, and then eventually reviewing the show as well. I’d definitely like to keep working with companies like that; for one thing, it’s great to get an insight into how they’re working, but also it’s just really nice to help each other out in whatever way we can.

Stay tuned over the next few months to see what else happens…

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