What a week that was!
For some people, musicals are simply jazz hands and tap shoes – whilst I do love both of those things (mostly the latter, let’s be honest), we’ve come a long way since the early days of this particular medium. All genres of music are embraced in the making of a musical, from rap to rock and country to pop; there’s something for people of all tastes and ages – you just need to find your thing.
I started off the week at Josie Rourke’s new production of Sweet Charity at the Donmar Warehouse – it’s a slightly odd one, and more bittersweet than you might ordinarily expect, but this is an interesting reimagining of the show and I can’t wait to head back in a couple of weeks to see how it’s progressing. Tuesday was my first press engagement of the week, returning to The Hope Theatre in Islington for their new production of Thrill Me: The Leopold & Loeb Story; this was an absolute smasher (and at 80 minutes long, a nice early finish into the bargain!) – if you can get a ticket for its final week then please do. On Wednesday I took my chances with TodayTix and was ‘fastest finger first’ for Come From Away! I’ve not managed to go back since I was invited to review the show, so this felt like a good time to give it a go – and I ended up in the second row, no biggie…
My two-show day ended up on Thursday this time, as I had some events at the BFI & Radio Times TV Festival lined up for Saturday evening, which meant I had to take an afternoon off work – shame! I made a long overdue return to School of Rock for the matinée (front row!), and then trekked up to Highgate for my second press invite of the week: the UK première of The Marvelous Wonderettes. An interesting pairing, I think you’ll agree! You know by now that I try my best to champion new writing, though that mostly ends up being plays – so it was nice to head to The Other Palace for a rehearsed reading of Murder at the Gates, and sneak a preview of what I’m sure will be a fully fledged production in no time. I chanced upon an interesting sounding fringe show that’s currently playing at The Vaults as part of a tour – A Super Happy Story (About Feeling Super Sad) – and ended up having a whale of a time! Then to round things off I thought it would be nice to get a family musical in, and plumped for Where Is Peter Rabbit? at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, enticed by some beautiful looking puppets…
I enjoyed every single show, which is no mean feat, but I think my favourites had to be Thrill Me and Come From Away. Partly because they are both quality 5* productions, but also because they came at a time where I really needed to be revitalised – and thanks to them, my mind got a lovely refresh and I wasn’t quite such a pain in the arse to be around (I hope).
Given that I am so keen on variety, I didn’t know whether I’d end up enjoying the whole week or not; gone are the days of Sunny Afternoon, where I’d see it multiple times in a week (and several times I obviously did every single show in a week) – it would take something really special to get me to do anything like that again! I am absolutely looking forward to getting some more plays under my belt now this week is done & dusted, but it was great to get such an eclectic mix of shows together. Hopefully it will make those less convinced by musicals realise what choice is out there, and also open up the eyes of people who only go to mainstream West End musicals – there’s far more to musical theatre than Shaftesbury Avenue!
- Day 1: Olivier Awards reactions (musicals) and “To feel the tingle in your fingers”
- Day 2: Tina – Original London Cast Recording and Thrill Me
- Day 3: What’s Inside and “Relentlessly cheerful”
- Day 4: Favourite musicals and The Marvelous Wonderettes
- Day 5: Missed The Boat: Hadestown and Murder at the Gates
- Day 6: Cheap trick and A Super Happy Story (About Feeling Super Sad)
- Day 7: Love them, or loathe them? and Where Is Peter Rabbit?