My All Time Favourite Theatre Moments

Friday 3 March 2017

As regular readers (or anyone that has read any other post of mine ever) will know that I'm a theatre fanatic. I work in theatre, I make theatre, I live sleep breathe theatre. But what you might not know is what type of theatre I ACTUALLY like to go and see! I steer clear of reviews of shows, for two reasons... the first being that the majority of shows I see are for work purposes and therefore it'd be unprofessional for me to publish my opinions. And the second being that as a theatre maker and programmer I don't feel comfortable reviewing other peoples work unless they have asked me too! It's very hard for me to watch a show without bringing with it all my work thoughts and personal tastes!

But what I am not against doing is shouting about the shows I have loved and you'll know if you read this post that I spend the majority of my time trying to encourage as many people as possible to try something new and take a chance on theate. So when TheatreTickets.Uk got in touch to ask me to put together a list of my all time FAVOURITE theatre moments, it seemed like a no brainer... and also a bit daft that I've never done this before!

So without further ado, in no particular order, here are my all time favourite theatre moments, and hopefully these will inspire you to book tickets to your next show!

1. When Grown Up Johnny Speaks To the Sock Puppet
Every Brilliant Thing

Every Brilliant Thing is without a doubt the best show I've seen in recent years, and if you haven't seen it yet then do (I think it is still on tour). This show is a one man look at suicide, depression and every brilliant thing that makes life worth living. Told in the round with a lot of audience interaction (but nothing scary) it's heart warming funny, and will have you crying the good kind of life affirming tears. There are so many lovely moments in this show, but the one that really sums it up for me is when grown up Johnny rings his old primary school teacher and asks to speak to his old friend the sock puppet. It sounds odd, but it is a beautiful moment that will make you remember every person that's helped you through a difficult time and remind you just how wonderful other people can be.

2. When The Old Man Relives First Meeting His Wife
Theatre Ad InFinitum - Translunar Paradise

Theatre AdInfinitum are a physical theatre company and their work is breath taking! I couldn't decide whether to use this show of theirs, or LIGHT but emotionally, Translunar Paradise made a much bigger impact on me emotionally. My best friend and I saw this show at the fringe in 2011 and we both cried our eyes out. You'll notice I like a good sob! Translunar Paradise tells the story of an ordinary couple through dance and movement. The whole show is wordless, and told in a series of flashbacks. Really the whole show deserves to be on this list, but the moment where the old man relives meeting his wife for the first time is when the tears started and I knew I was in for a truly beautiful show.

3. When The Lights Dim & The Audience Hush
Any Show, Any Time, Any Where

Ok, so this one isn't a specific moment in a specific show, so maybe I am cheating a little bit, but literally nothing gives me butterflies like that moment when the lights go down and the audience hush ready for the show to begin. Whether I'm sat in a huge auditorium, in a tiny village hall, or waiting in the wings ready to perform. For me this moment is a bit like reaching the top of the big drop on a rollercoaster.

4. Sumer Lovin'

Ok, so confession, I have never actually seen Grease on stage. In fact I've barely seen any big west end style shows or musicals. You'll notice from my list so far I'm very in to new writing and more contemporary style stuff. However, Grease is the first musical I ever saw, all be it, on a tv screen and a slightly dodgey vhs recording of the film (where my mum had stopped recording when Rizzo is in the back seat of the car with Kinikki - genuinely didn't see that scene until I was about 15). And I loved it. The song Hopelessy Devoted also holds a special place in my heart as the one and only time I've ever been any good at kareoke (and I was 9 at the time). I grew up wanting to play Sandy, unfortunately my musical abilities have since scuppered that dream, but honestly? Without seeing Grease? I may never have got into career. And seeing it live is top of my theatre bucket list!

5. The Way The Set Moves In 'The Machine'
The Machine - Manchester International Festival 2013

So as you can see from this list, I have very eclectic tastes in theatre. I studied it at university, I work in it now and although I haven't seen that many musicals I have seen a lot of shows. I'm not afraid of seeing a show that doesn't on the surface sound like something I'd be interested in. 'The Machine' for example was a show based on the true story of the chess game between the robot 'Deep Blue' and the world champion chess player 'Kasparov'. It wasn't so much the story that drew me to this one but the production itself. I saw the show, which was part of the Manchester International Festival 2013, in Campfield Market Hall (an actual market hall not a theatre!) and the minute I walked in I was completely blown away by the set. This is one of the things I love about theatre whether it's a small scale one person show or a big budget all singing and dancing musical, I'm always blown away by peoples creativity. I remember the show being really good, but what I remember more is the way the set moved around like a choreographed dance, which was the perfect mix of chess and machinery. I'm not explaining it very well, but you know when you see something and you think 'Wow, how did they come up with that?' That's the moment I love! (You can see a picture of the set here).

6. The Opening Number For Into the Woods
Into The Woods

For Christmas 2015 the young man bought us tickets to go and see Into The Woods at the Royal Exchange In Manchester. I'm very into fairy tale retellings so even though I'd never seen the musical before I was so excited! The Royal Exchange in Manchester is a gorgeous theatre (the main house is basically a big glass globe sat in the middle of the hall) and the production was staged in the round. As I've already mentioned, I have no singing ability whatsoever so any musical number is impressive to me, but when all the characters begin singing 'Into The Woods' and all manage to stay on time despite everything that is going on that just blows my mind. Not only that but spending New Years Eve at the theatre was really really special and whenever I hear a song from the Into The woods Soundtrack it brings back some very happy memories.

7. Sitting in the cupboard singing Nursery Rhymes at the end of Hotel Medea
Hotel Medea - Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2011

Probably the most unique theatre experience I've ever had was 'Hotel Medea' at Edinburgh Fringe 2011. This wasn't so much a show as an experience, which started at about 9pm at night, and finished with the sun rise! As the audience you became part of this modern retelling of the story of Medea. You're at the carnival when she meets Jason (a slimy politician), you get Medea dressed for her wedding, you drink gin with her while her heart breaks, you're kidnapped by Jason's secret service, and finally when Medea looses the plot, you become her children, and have to run around the building finding places to hide with a nursery maid leading the way. My group hid in a cupboard while Medea ran wild outside, we sang nursery songs to one another to stop us from being scared. The show finished at sunrise when we all made our way out of our hiding spots, to find some of us had been captured and were laid out asleep in front of huge windows as the sun made it's way in. It was an AMAZING experience and one that I am so glad I did!

8. The Conversation after The Show
Every Show Ever, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Ok so again, not exactly a specific theatre moment, but the conversations you have after a show are really what it's all about isn't it? Whether that's in the que to the toilets with complete strangers or retelling your friends about what you saw a couple of days after. Theatre whether its good, amazing, or downright terrible, should always leave you feeling like you have something to say afterwards! And as corny as it sounds, that's why I love it so much!

Thank you to TheatreTickets.UK for sponsoring this post. I really really enjoyed putting these moments together and remembering some of the amazing things I've seen. It has once again reitterated to me how important it is that I take some time to see shows purely because I want to and not just for work purposes. 

This year I'd really love to see some of those bigger well known shows, the Young Man is dying to see Les Miserables and I really want to see The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time or Matilda The Musical. I can feel a London trip coming on - although I would like to stress, that wherever you are in the country, good theatre is always closer than you think...sometimes you just have to look a little harder! What is your all time favourite theatre moment? And what is on your 'must see list'? I'm always looking for inspiration! x

ps. big thank you to the Young Man, Rick, for demolishing my living room and taking photos with me!

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