As a theatre lover, I’ve been to see many shows, mainly in my home town and on the West End. Unfortunately, I’ve experienced some behaviour within the theatre which I and/or the performers on stage have been upset by. Below I’ve listed some of the moments that have occurred whilst I’ve been to the theatre.
I’m sure I’m not the only one to have experienced mobile phone related issues at the theatre. The common one is a phone ringing during the show. This has happened on several occasions when I’ve visited the theatre, and takes audience members attention away from the stage as well as putting the actors off. I appreciate people may need to keep phones on for emergency contact, but they should be put on silent during the performance.
When I went to see Miss Saigon, someone’s Siri went off at the end of the show (if you’ve seen this musical you will understand what the significant moment on stage was when it happened!) I actually ended up missing a major plot line because I was distracted.
When I went to see a production of Sister Act at the Mayflower Theatre, a few rows in front there was a boy probably about ten years old sat with his mother. When certain songs were being performed, he held up a large sign above his head. This obstructed the view of some of the audience members, as well as putting the audience on edge. On multiple occasions ushers had to come down and ask him to stop, further disrupting the show. I understand the boy was young and may not have known better, but his mother should have. Being in the theatre is very different to being at a concert.
I mentioned this in a previous blog post, but when I went to see Dreamgirls in London, audience members shouted out during the show. It was during an intense breakup scene, with purposeful dramatic pauses for effect, and people were jokingly calling out to the actors on stage. This clearly put them off, at moments they went to speak and had to stop because of audience members. I found this rude and frustrating, as well as unnecessary. Audience members should be able to control their excitement in the theatre.
These are just a few of the things I’ve experienced in the theatre. It’s a shame that certain people act out of turn but hopefully, with a bit of clarification, these things will happen less often. Thanks for reading, if you have had any other experiences on or off stage let me know in the comments!
On Friday 4th I went to see Dreamgirls at the Savoy Theatre in London. Being a fan of the film, I had high hopes before sitting down to watch the musical. I was lucky enough to see Amber Riley playing Effie, who put on a phenomenal performance of compelling acting, snappy dancing and mind blowing singing. All the actors were incredible, and no one appeared to be a weak link within the cast. In fact, it was a joy to see the actors laughing and dancing together during the curtain call, clearly bonded as friends not just acquaintances.
I know a few people who watched the performance before me, and every one of them commented on how talented Adam J Bernard (Jimmy) was. His vocal range and impressive dance moves exceeded my expectations and did the character ultimate justice. I also felt the character relationship between Jimmy and Lorell (Asmeret Ghebremichael) was perfect, leaving the audience wanting the best for both characters. Ghebremichael’s voice was outstanding, providing smooth soprano harmonies and roof raising solos.
The staging was simple and effective, with sections of the floor moving to slickly bring staging and characters on and off stage. The lighting helped create the club atmosphere for certain scenes, and the split staging to create the front of stage and back stage was inventive. Acts ‘performed’ to the back of the stage, whilst characters who were talking back stage faced the audience. This worked well, avoiding cutting overly often to new scenes. A sense of comfortability was created through the intimate atmosphere, which was generally good however there were moments this didn’t work so well. During Riley’s songs, audience members often clapped and cheered over her before she had finished her notes, which she may not have minded but I felt it was a shame for her top notes to sometimes be unheard due to cheering. There was also a tense scene between Deena (Liisi LaFontaine) and Curtis (Joe Aaron Reid) where Deena is leaving Curtis for good. Audience members were shouting out to her and laughing, causing the actors to have to wait for silence to say their lines, and also disturbed the flow of the scene. I found this extremely rude, as audience members could have contained their excitement until the end of the scene when there was an opportunity to applaud.
As I saw the film adaption before the musical, I missed the added songs including ‘Love You I Do’ and ‘Patience’, however, I appreciate these are adaptions which don’t belong on the stage performance. In 2009, a duet version of ‘Listen’, sung by Deena and Effie was added to the stage production and therefore was performed when I watched the musical. I felt the duet was an amazing addition to the show and was my favourite song performed. Not only did it showcase Riley’s voice once more (after ‘And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going in Act One) but it also gave LaFontaine a chance to show off the power of her voice. Together, both of the women brought out the best in each other, their voices resonating in the theatre beautifully. I was left with goosebumps.
At the end of the performance, I was able to meet LaFontaine, Reid and Liburd (who played C.C.) at the stage door. I never expect actors to come out and interact with audience members, as this is not a requirement of them. However, all the actors were so lovely, taking photos and talking to me about performing. I was even lucky enough to get LaFontaine to sign my programme. I feel this shows the passion and love the actors have for their show, which is reflected on and offstage.
If you were face to face with his new girlfriend what would you do?
Would you cry, talk, smile
It’s not her fault he moved on too fast
She’s caught in the trap just like you were
You could free her, tell her the deepest darkest secrets of your relationship which unlock the truth of how cruel he can be
Or would you question her, try to decipher if her love for him is as strong as yours was
Would feelings of jealousy course through your veins?
Or a tight knot in your stomach, created with ropes of regret, sadness
Sadness for you or her
Would you find yourself making comparisons?
He left you a shell of yourself
And you’re too self-conscious to see yourself as equal to her
Because the person you once loved now loves another
And you’ll never truly know how his feelings for you were so easily reassigned to another.
My fingers are rested on the keyboard but no keys are pressed. It’s like there’s a broken link between my brain and my hands, as I struggle to think of a mere word to write. Is it that I don’t have anything to say? Or do I simply not know how to express my thoughts into words? I can’t be sure. Stretching my fingers and squinting my eyes, I attempt to focus harder, to engage my whole body and force a story to be written. But it doesn’t work that way. It feels like days go by before I find a single word to write. Rereading a finally completed sentence, my index finger presses a familiar key. Backspace. The sentence I’ve slaved over is sloppy and doesn’t flow how I wanted it too. If your pen doesn’t fluently scrawl across the page the words don’t seem to flow. They fit, but almost robotically. It’s frustrating that when I’m in this state I can’t get my message across. Maybe I’m not meant to. It’s easy to feel like a failure who will never complete a novel or poem. But eventually, I’ll find ideas which will allow my creativity to blossom. I’ll get there.