I love the theatre. Absolutely everything about it.
The crowds at the entrance, the bustle of excitement before a show, the audience in their best outfits, the little tubs of ice cream, the folding seats and the warm up tunings of the orchestra if there is one.
The thing about theatre is it is a lottery, you never know quite what you are going to get, even treatment of some of the long-running favourites can see a well-worn formula miscalculated
When you take your seat, awkwardly clutching programme and possessions. The lottery of who you may have to sit next to.
I like the winding stairs in old theatres, the conscious trendiness of the newer ones, the feeling of history and wondering what famous names have trodden these particular boards before.
As somebody who is lucky enough to review theatre on a regular basis in all sorts of venues, I have seen many shows. Some fabulous musicals, amazing plays and mesmerising ballets. Some absolutely awful productions... Once I was in a theatre when fire broke out on stage. Not a special effect.
The thing about theatre is it is a lottery, you never know quite what you are going to get, even treatment of some of the long-running favourites can see a well-worn formula miscalculated. Timings can go horribly wrong. Lines can be forgotten by even the most audacious of thespians. Notes are not always reached. Costumes can go awry with humiliating consequences for all. Lighting tricks can be mis-timed, as the cast of the Full Monty found out on press night last year. They hadn’t actually intended to share their wares with the invited audience of journalists and random scattering of celebrities.. oops.
Only twice in my reviewing career have I left a theatre before a performance has ended. Once, the aforementioned fire. Another time, a show was just SO bad that after spending the first half playing surreptitious games on my phone, my friend and I retired to the bar to be entertained by the regalings of the frankly more entertaining bar staff.
But generally I am too English and polite to be rude. Because it is not just about the show, it is about experience and theatre mirrors life. Whatever disaster befalls us, the show must go on. And there is always ice cream.