As it’s Thursday today, the classic Twitter hashtag #tbt is out in full force – and I’ve got a little nostalgic, I have to say. Just for a bit of a change, I thought I’d go right back down memory lane and pick out some of my favourite moments of the past four years – none of which would have happened had I not randomly started this blog.
To think that I initially created it because I thought I was moaning too much on Twitter (that habit definitely hasn’t changed), and decided one day that I should try to write something about a show that I’d seen a few times and rather enjoyed… I blame #LDNTheatreBloggers for everything!
5. My first ever #LDNTheatreBloggers review
Back in January 2015, when my Sunny Afternoon habit was already rather entrenched, the #LDNTheatreBloggers network gave me the opportunity to get my first taste of freebies… Well, there’s no such thing as a free lunch – the ticket to the show may be free, but you definitely pay it back in time and creativity when you write your review. I was lucky enough to get to see the West End transfer of My Night With Reg at the Apollo, which really was excellent. My writing was still very much in its infancy at that point; no star rating, no set structure… So read it if you dare!
4. My first official Shakespeare’s Globe review
After practically living at the Globe in the summers of 2016 and 2017, I was quite apprehensive about heading back once Emma Rice had left the building – I was always going to give it a go, but I’d decided not to commit to reviewing anything immediately. So some other BroadwayWorld UK critics got the chance to go and review shows at the Globe for once! After not being particularly convinced by Hamlet (not helped by the police helicopter that drowned out a scene), As You Like It won me over – and when the invitation to review The Two Noble Kinsmen for Mind the Blog came… Well, I was never going to turn it down, was I?
3. New writing
I’ve met some incredibly talented theatre companies over the past few years, most of whom specialise in putting on new writing. It definitely changed my outlook on fringe theatre (and theatre in general), as there is some seriously high quality work out there if you look in the right direction! The big starting point was probably my first ‘On The Night‘, run by the brilliant Falling Pennies Theatre Company – from there I’ve not only seen several wonderful productions from them, but I’ve also linked up with other companies, actors & writers thanks to their connection with Falling Pennies or taking part in an ‘On The Night’. In particular, I’ve really enjoyed seeing as much as possible of Tom Hartwell’s subsequent work (as both writer and actor), and loved practically working with Paper Creatures Theatre to help promote their play Section 2 this year.
2. #SunnyChallenge with The Theatre Tourist
The first ‘big’ challenge week, where Jess & I were given a helping hand in heading to a week’s worth of Sunny Afternoon – and our side of the bargain was to complete a series of mini challenges (our success varied considerably across the week) and write a daily blog post. We’d timed it for the build-up to the Olivier Awards, which we were also attending (thanks to the glorious Sandie), so it was a properly exciting time in the life of Sunny Afternoon. Doing this first one definitely spurred me on to create a couple more Sunny Challenges, and then gave me the idea to do my #GlobeChallenge last year.
1. Olivier Awards 2017
So this isn’t something that I’ve done for the blog, but I wouldn’t have got the opportunity had Mind the Blog not existed. It’s definitely one of the best things I’ve ever had the privilege to do; it was absolutely exhausting, both mentally & physically, but the rewards were so worth it. I was fortunate enough to have the weather on my side, as beautiful sunshine coated the red carpet outside the Royal Albert Hall – that was definitely my favourite part of the day, helped enormously by a certain Mr John Dagleish being the first person I spoke to! The press room during the awards ceremony was absolutely bonkers, but I’m glad I got to be there and chat with some amazing people such as Tim Minchin and Billie Piper. I would leap at the chance to do it again – minus my mini-tantrum in front of the Jesus Christ Superstar cast when Charlie Stemp didn’t win Best Actor in a Musical!