How About a Round of Applause?

Post length: 621 words, almost 3 minutes.

Am I the only London theatregoer left who thinks that a standing ovation should be reserved for only the very special — for time when you really have been blown away by a performer or cast — and not for West End productions which are the same day-in, day-out? Of course there will always be special cases, and everyone has a different opinion of what is good and what is astounding, but why is it increasingly the case that the whole audience feels the need to leap to their feet?

Monica and I went to two West End musicals last weekend as an Easter treat. First The Phantom of the Opera, and second Cats. Both very different, and both good professional productions, well executed and totally immersive. There is no doubt that we enjoyed them both and that the skills of all involved were excellent, but they weren’t, for me at least, anything groundbreaking.

That opinion was not, apparently, shared by the majority of the audience. As the curtain came down large swathes of the audience jumped up. More followed as leading actors took their curtain call. I suppose both audiences must have regarded the performances they had just seen as the best piece of theatre they had ever experienced. Or was it something else? [read more]

Posted on Tuesday 14th April, 2015 at 8:58 am in Obiter dicta, Theatre.
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Stephen Ward The Musical

Post length: 268 words, just over 1 minute.

It may have recently closed on London’s West End, but I’ve just caught up with Andrew Lloyd Webber’s newest musical, Stephen Ward The Musical. At least the music. Having been to see the closing throws of Tim Rice’s version of From Here to Eternity recently, and having been quite impressed, I was hoping for much more from the Stephen Ward soundtrack.

I’ve listened through the musical a few times now on my daily cycle and just can’t get past how it sounds very much much like Lloyd Webber’s 1979 musical Tell Me on a Sunday. While this in itself is not necessarily a bad thing it does make what should be a fresh new piece feel tired and, at least as a stand-alone soundtrack, remarkably dated. While I appreciate that the subject of the show — the Profumo affair — happened at the start of the 1960s, and that the writers may well have been trying to reflect that in the sound of the musical numbers, at a time when musicals such as The Book of Mormon are commanding upwards of £150 for premium West End seats and selling out months in advance, Lloyd Webber’s score sounds as if it is aimed at audiences from another time. [read more]

Posted on Tuesday 22nd April, 2014 at 5:45 pm in Theatre.
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Post length: 1,151 words, just over 5 minutes.

So I’m heading back from another Grim North production, ‘Anaesthesia’.  This year’s production was earlier than normal, sparking suspicion that there might be another before the end of the year.  I’ll wait and see.

The production came together really well this year for me, with the biggest bonus being the time we were able to get into the theatre.  It’s the third time we have used the Hebden Bridge Little Theatre and clearly they are starting to trust us more than previous years.  In the past we have had to arrange with them to be there to let us in each time we needed to be in the theatre, and to stay until we had finished so that they could lock up again afterwards.  This proved a real restriction on the time we had to do our get in.

For me this is of course a real problem – it takes time to rig and focus the lights, as well to work out a dimmer patch and do any programming I wanted to do.  In fact, in previous years, I haven’t had time to do much programming at all – I’d just run the show of some hastily put together scenes on submasters and busked through each night.  This year I was able to do much more and the difference was noticeable.

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Posted on Sunday 30th January, 2011 at 3:23 pm in Theatre.
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ISTA High School Festival, Calderdale, 2010

Post length: 1,274 words, about 5 and a half minutes.

So that’s it, it’s all over. It’s been hard work, but great fun. I’ve met a great bunch of people, and never seen such a dedicated group of young people working towards a common goal before. If anyone feels the need to do down young people I’d invite them to spend the week at one of the ISTA festivals and then re-evaluate their opinion.

I did discover one thing though – I’m no good at networking. This causes something of a problem in my industry.

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Posted on Tuesday 2nd November, 2010 at 12:40 pm in Arts & Ents, Photography, Theatre, Work & Career.
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West End Live

Post length: 94 words, about 0 and a half minutes.

Information stand at the 2010 West End Live event

In the spirit of my previous post, and because I’ve already released a couple of these photos under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 licence, I’ve decided to post a few of photos I took at the West End Live event last weekend.  I’ll try to do this more often when I take my camera out just for fun.

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Posted on Friday 25th June, 2010 at 2:17 am in Photos, Theatre.
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A Week in the Grim North

Post length: 2,456 words, almost 11 minutes.

It all went off pretty well really, all in all.  And, as I said in a slightly drunken state at the time, “New friends, that’s what it’s all about. There was a play in there somewhere too, but that’s what I’ll come away with in the end.”

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Posted on Monday 12th April, 2010 at 12:52 pm in People, Theatre.
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Post length: 640 words, almost 3 minutes.

I’m currently on a train heading towards Leeds.  We just left Retford.  I’m going to stay with my parents for a couple of weeks, for a number of reasons.  Firstly next weekend sees the first Grim North’s productions for this year, ‘Stranded’, and I hear on the grapevine that there will be more than one this year, possibly some kind of pantomime around Christmas.  Secondly this weekend sees Calderdale Theatre School’s production of Coram Boy and as an ex-member of the school as well as being their webmaster, I said I’d go and see it.

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Posted on Friday 19th March, 2010 at 3:22 pm in Theatre.
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A quick catch up

Post length: 912 words, just over 4 minutes.

I’ve been useless at writing recently.  I’ve got lots to write about, and I’ve failed.  I think generally I’ve had a few things to do in the evening when I would normally write this which have taken precedence (although I’ve been a bit useless doing most of those things, too).  I’m going to try to catch up with a few things in one go here, but I’ll try to write in more detail about a couple of other things soon.

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Posted on Wednesday 26th August, 2009 at 12:40 am in Obiter dicta, People, Theatre.
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Sins of the Father: get in

Post length: 520 words, about 2 and a half minutes.

Thursday saw the get in for Sins of the Father.  Initially it looked like we were going to only get an hour and a half in the theatre because it was booked for rehearsals for the house’s producing company but, luckily, things had got a little mixed up somewhere along the line.

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Posted on Saturday 23rd May, 2009 at 3:00 pm in Theatre.
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Sins of the Father: rehearsal one

Post length: 468 words, just over 2 minutes.

I have a friend, Ben, who runs his own theatre company.  They are a bunch of people he’s got together through work, university, theatre school and the like, and they put on plays.  Their work is, to be honest, generally ‘challenging’.  I read but didn’t see their last work.  I’ve just come back from the first dress rehearsal of their current work. [read more]