Tag Archives: theatre

F**k The Polar Bears @ Bush Theatre, 19 September 2015

Whoever is in charge of choosing the plays for the Bush Theatre certainly has a social concussion. So far this year they’ve covered themes from racism to legal aids cuts, and tonight, we come upon global warming. One thing they can never be accused of is not tackling some meaty topics.

Knowing the theme of the play, the title does sort of speak for itself really, but the polar bear also takes physical form in the young daughter’s stuffed toy, lost somewhere in the home that the parents are trying to sell in order to move to somewhere nicer by the river, a move being made possible by the father’s high powered job in an energy company and who is working on a deal that will make the move even more possible.

Added to the stress of the lost toy and father’s job, we have the wife, stressed about everything in life and desperate to give her daughter everything she can to make sure she has the best start in life, then the energy conscious au pair from Iceland who is stressed about the tiniest little piece of silver foil in the bin rather than it being in the recycling, and finally the ex-drug addict brother, happy with his simple life and girlfriend who “isn’t a looker but she makes me happy” but stressed about making amends with the brother who he admires. Oh and there is also the hamster that needs its twice daily exercise. There is a lot of stress in this household.

And as ever with the Bush Theatre, it’s all played out on a stage that has been so well thought out. One of the joys of attending a new play here is in seeing how the space has been laid out; this time around they return to a centre stage, with seating around the outside. And with just 144 seats its always intimate, no matter where you sit. You’re so close to the action at times you could almost reach out and touch the actors; in fact tonight I was sitting alongside one of the four entrances into the stage and at a rather dramatic point between young daughter and father, was almost face to face with him as he raved and slowly lost his mind. It was slightly disturbing to say the least. The knife in his hand didn’t help much either.

f the polar bears stage

The set is as simple as always here; one room, a few items of furniture, walls defined by strips of lights, which are used for great effect as the play progresses, and almost everything else is left to the imagination and aided by sound and light effects. The four exits off stage and between the seated audience become the rest of the house; through one door you know it’s the kitchen, you can even hear the tumble dryer, much to the dismay of the au pair who feels they could hang clothes out to dry!

It’s played out at a fast, at times hectic, pace, and over and done in 90 minutes flat without a break, just to add to the stress that is building. And to drum home the central message of global warming, there is a lot of talk of energy consumption, mobile phones are constantly plugged in, the aforementioned tumble dryer comes on and off, lights flicker, and we see family life on the edge for the first hour as mum and dad rush around with their busy important lives, while brother and au pair try to stay calm and enjoy the simpler life. And at the same time, they all seek the lost polar bear.

The play is certainly funny, the writing keeps it moving along nicely and the staging keeps your eyes focused and your mind engaged. It’s not until the last half hour that the play starts to really preach it’s message, but in a way that isn’t as clear cut as you might expect. Yes the message is that we are killing the planet, but the central argument becomes one of whether one person can make a difference, or even whether many people can change things. And if I was to be critical at all, I’d say here it slightly fails, as over a short space of time we go through too many options and thoughts, although it is probably the intention to show how things cannot be as black or white as we would wish. But this one issue aside, it’s a play worth an evening out.

And as ever with anything I’ve seen at Bush Theatre, you do walk out knowing you have not only enjoyed an evening out seeing a great play as well as knowing that you will be discussing this for the rest of the evening afterwards with whoever you may have seen it with.

Advertisements

The Woman In Black @ Fortune Theatre, 31 March 2015

What is so great about theatre is that every experience can be so different. Obviously a big part of that is simply in seeing a new play, but it is also much more. It can be the experience of discovering a new venue; or the way a theatre already known has been adapted for a new play; or because of a totally different type of audience.   Or, like my visit to see Woman In Black, it can be because of who you go with. But more of that later…

Considering how long The Woman In Black has been playing on the West End and that it had spawned two films, it had never really crossed my mind to see it. Not until the evenings company, Jenna, had suggested it as she had just recently watched the second of those films. For a play that has been running for so long, I was as innocent to the story as Jenna was to the theatre, my only knowledge coming from a vague remembrance of the film trailer a few years back; a big house, a solicitor, a ghost, a bit scary.

Thankfully there is so much more to the play than that, as I was to find out from Jenna. The play and the film are poles apart in how they tell the story, and both in themselves far from the original book the play was based on.

The play begins with our solicitor, Arthur Kipps, now an elderly man, dryly reading out his story, so carefully written down due to his desire to finally tell his family the horrors of his youth. It’s mumbled and hard to hear, and when he is interrupted from the back of the theatre, for a moment you actually worry someone in the audience is already annoyed at the lack of clarity. Thankfully not though, and you soon discover that he has sought out the assistance of an actor to better tell his story.

It’s a clever way to tell the story, allowing for the whole performance to be done by just the two actors; elderly Kipps and young actor. Even as they interchange roles, not for one moment is there any worry about why Kipps has suddenly become someone else and the actor has suddenly become the young Kipps.

It’s also a device that allows for massive liberties with the simple staging. When Kipps asks how they can possibly demonstrate being on a carriage, the young actor pulls a large chest out and sits on it, bouncing up and down, “like this, this is our carriage.” Even more of a liberty, the need for a dog is foregone as they simply pretend it is there, the actors eyes following the dog across the stage, leaning down to stroke it. It’s done so well you do feel as if there is a dog present.

As the story unfolds, it is the classic ghost story; unfortunate death leading to a sorrowful ghost seeking revenge. But even with its simplicity, both in story and staging, the way it is portrayed is enjoyable, and the way the tension is pushed up makes the moments of horror more effective. It’s also interesting to see that some tricks are ageless; the use of a torch to allow something to be momentarily glimpsed is used here in almost the same way as in Ghost Stories, a much more recent show.

But all this is not why seeing this was so enjoyable. It was, as I have said, the company kept. At the interval we spoke about the play, and Jenna was eager to explain how it differs from the film; “in the film…” she begins, explaining parts of the plot that were not in the play, at least not in the first act. Possible spoilers for what was to come, as I tried to tell her, “yeah, and in the film…” she continued to tell me what happened, clearly not having noticed the subtle hint of me pointing out I didn’t know what was going to happen as I hadn’t seen the film. Maybe I should have kept to my original suggestion of bringing a gag along for the evening for her?

Annoying?   Not at all. Funny and entertaining and adding to the pleasure of the evening? Oh yes indeed.

And as the second act played out in front of us, I realised why every theatre experience can be so different. Because there is no greater theatre experience than seeing someone so clearly taken in by the drama unfolding in front of them. A glance to my side gave me the view of Jenna perched right on the edge of her seat, head resting on hands, leaning forward. For someone who already knew the story, she was still so taken in, completely immersed in the live performance. As was I, her possible spoilers at the interval not in fact being such.

This is why theatre is so good, why I go again and again, because every time it’s a different experience, because something new can happen to make it so memorable. The play in front of you doesn’t have to be the greatest thing ever to be put on stage, it just needs to be something that gives a new experience in one way or another.

Tonight that new experience was the company, her enthusiasm, her ability to almost tell me the story without realising it, and the sight of her totally engaged with the two actors on the almost bare stage riding a wooden chest and stroking an invisible dog.

How To Hold Your Breath

At The Royal Court, 27 February 2015

So it’s now two days since I saw How To Hold Your Breath, and to be honest, I’m still trying to decide what it was all about. It is certainly an ambitious piece of work; so ambitious that after sitting through it for nearly two hours, I then spent my tube journey home thinking about it, followed by a 90 minute drive down to Kent still discussing it, waking up the following morning trying to work it out further, and since then going online to read how others have interrupted it all.

Is this a problem or a criticism though? Of course not, because the one thing I was sure about was that on Friday evening at about 9.30pm as the play finished, I knew I had spent two hours enjoying what was in front of me. The questions I had were simply “why did I enjoy it?” and “what the hell did that all just mean?”

“Why” is the simple question. Great performances, witty dialogue and thought provoking. Maxine Peake as Dana dominates the stage, but is well supported from all sides, especially with the Liberian who has the best lines of them all. All the ingredients are there to pass two hours in confused enjoyment. The meaning though, well, that is much more complicated.

A few minutes into the play, and the idea behind the play seemed so obvious. Girl chats up man and invites him back for the night. The next morning he tries to pay her, assuming she was a prostitute because “girls don’t just come on to me like that normally”. When she takes offence and refuses payment, he turns nasty, declares himself as a demon, that he will not be in her debt and she will regret this so much that she will be begging to take the money within two weeks.

It’s a brilliant opening scene, seemingly setting the story up perfectly as Dana soon discovers a mark on her body that is questionable, and has a disastrous interview, all adding to her belief that maybe she has been cursed by a demon. She even visits the local library to try to research this with the aid of a very amicable librarian who offers advice along the way by suggesting suitable books, the titles of which get more and more direct as things progress.

So at this point, it seems the play is about this, her struggles against a curse, perceived or not, and how she deals with this, first defiance but slowly turning to desperation. Great, except it really isn’t this simple. As Dana finds herself travelling through Europe trying to get to Alexandria, things quickly deteriorate. Her bank card is refused, which at first seems part of the curse on her, but then suddenly it’s the whole economy of Europe that has failed and everything becomes turmoil, and there is much more urgency in reaching Alexandria as it is a place of sanctuary.

The escalation from minor inconvenience to all-out disaster is maybe too big and fast a step. It feels as if a whole scene was removed to link these two, and this I feel didn’t help in understanding the play, as for a short period it felt disjointed. But hey, I can live with that. It’s around this point that you start to question what is going on, what the message is. Suddenly the demon curse seems a red herring, now it’s about capitalism and the economic crisis that hit us all.

And maybe it is. Except there is still more. Because this doesn’t take into account the interview that was mentioned earlier, where Dana is trying to get a grant to study the “Consumer Experience”, how every transaction should be an experience more than just the exchange of monies for goods and services. Which brings us back to the opening scene where the man thinks she must be selling sex, and doesn’t feel it is a proper experience if he doesn’t pay for it.

Confused yet? Good, because so am I.

Then we jump again, as Dana and her sister are on a boat finally heading to Alexandria. It’s clear this isn’t a legal passenger ferry, too many people crammed in tight, and concerns over safety. So they are basically refugees fleeing for a better life now? Except it’s going from Europe to Africa, a direct reversal of what normally happens. So is the play about the refugee crisis as well?

This does produce the best scene of the whole play. the stage is tilted to represent sitting on the boat, the sound of waves providing the atmosphere, the creaking noises making for slight discomfort as you waited for something to happen. And when something does happen, the visual is stunning and extremely disturbing. It is amazing what can be done without the need for expensive staging or lighting, rather just throwing in the human body and the feel of disaster and panic.

The ending is just as confusing, the demon and the librarian meeting for the first time, at least to our knowledge, but clearly they are aware of one another from their conversation. I assume this was meant to tie things together, to give meaning, but it just confused me more to be honest.

So back to the original question, what did it all mean? I still don’t think I can truly answer this even now. I would love to go along to one of the many events the Royal Court put on around their plays, often with the playwright or people involved in putting it all together, maybe that would answer some questions. But for now I have to decide for myself what I feel it means.

So, we have demons, we have capitalism, we have consumerism and we have refugees. Maybe it is about them all, everything just thrown in one big pot and stirred until something came out that felt right. And if so, that’s fine. It’s a challenge, an enjoyment to discuss and read about it later, to see if opinion of others match my own as to what it was all about, or if they have insights that would add to my understanding. It just means that on top of nearly two hours of the joy of watching, it also gives more hours of thought after the event, helps to keep the brain active if nothing else.

For me the play worked even without fully understanding it. If you like to be challenged, it’s perfect, if you don’t want to use your mind, there is plenty out there for that too, just avoid this and most other things at the Royal Court. Yes it could have been a little neater, clearer, but at the end of the day, for me it works and that is what it should all be about.

Ghost Stories @ The Art Theatre, 8 January 2015

ghost storiesThere is a blackboard in the foyer of the theatre that simply says “287,182 people have screamed at Ghost stories. And all have kept the secret.”*   The area around the number shows obvious signs of constant rubbing out, so it looks like someone has the role of updating this on a regular basis. Well, that makes it hard to write about it without giving too much away doesn’t it. But here goes…

The show is exactly what the title suggests, a collection of ghost stories all perfectly fitted together around a narrator. One of the things I enjoy with theatre is seeing how a narrator is worked into the story, and often a show will live or die on the strength of that one character. That is even more true with Ghost Stories, as the narrator, cast as a parapsychologist presenting a lecture, spends long periods alone on the stage, building the tension for the audience as he gives his talk that initially shows his disbelief in ghosts and ghouls, but as things develop you start to suspect something deeper going on in his denial.

The staging is well done. starting with just a lecture rostrum on the front of the stage with the curtain down.  As the stories unfold, the set moves around the performers. For example, the first story is set in an old warehouse type building, and the simple set is just one room, that turns as the actor moves out to walk around the building, turning into a corridor, and then another room. Simple and effective, no doubt helped by the dimmed lighting and the fact the audience isn’t really concerned with the wobbly walls as they move, too focused on waiting for something scary to happen.

Like all good ghost stories, they work best with an audience who are willing to suspend belief, who want to be scared. This is one show that just wouldn’t be the same with a polite demure audience waiting for the appropriate moment to clap and make any noise. Rather the show needs the background chatter as tension rises and falls. The writing is perfectly crafted for this, but what would you expect from a duo whose credits include The League of Gentlemen (Jeremy Dyson) and Derren Brown’s TV and stage shows (Andy Nyman).   You can feel the withholding of breath, the discomfort of the more susceptible members of the audience as the tension builds, the shuffle of bodies as coats are lifted across faces ready to hide from the scare that could happen at any moment  (https://twitter.com/GhostStoriesUK/status/553305308421181440  actually think I am sitting just under the words at  the bottom of this picture.) It is this tension that makes a good ghost story, making even the most hardened viewer likely to jump when all those around you scream at just the right moment.

And as tonight’s audience included a whole school party taking up the best part of the front four rows, this audience was cannon fodder for the show. Even before it had started you could feel the tension. The eerie music and the flickering lights all creating a tense atmosphere that was having an effect even before the lights dimmed.

When things did really start and we got into the first of the stories, the audience were already primed, and just the rattling of a chain was enough to make some people yelp out well in advance of anything actually scary. But then, that is the art of a good ghost story isn’t it, those false moments when you expect something to happen, luring the audience into the hope that it won’t get any worse, when in fact everyone watching knows that soon something really is going to give you reason to scream.

For me, half the enjoyment tonight was the audience, and I do suspect this is the same most nights. Being in the third row, surrounded by the school group, meant I couldn’t help be drawn in to the tension as they almost sucked the air from the room as they all held their collective breaths. And sitting next to a young teen who spent the whole show with her coat pulled up to her chin, and at time over her whole face, squirming in her seat whenever things got even slightly tense, it all just added to the evening. Even if the clever staging and special effects weren’t going to make me react, having everyone around you jump and scream in unison certainly made sure we all got a fright too.

Ghost Stories is great fun, and even those who don’t do horror, it is still recommended. There is no gore, no long lasting memories of fear, it simply works well in making you jump, scream and then laugh at how simply you have been taken in by someone basically saying boo when you least expect it.

But remember, if you see it, don’t tell anyone the secret, or maybe the ghouls really will hunt you down for spoiling it for others.

http://www.ghoststoriestheshow.co.uk/home.php

* The number may be slightly wrong, and is obviously changed on a regular basis. In fact the words may be slightly wrong too, but the thought is right!

Hope @ The Royal Court

So this week I’ve been out to see a comedian, and then a few days later, a play. And in an effort to keep this blog fresh, I sat down the evening after the comedian to try to write something about it.

And I’ve realised just how damn hard it is to write about comedians. I mean, what do you say; he came out, told a few jokes, the audience laughed, he said goodnight and buggered off. Because that is basically what comedians are all about. Obviously there are differences, some are funnier than others, some tell one liners, others tell stories with punch lines. But when you break it all down, it is one person on stage with a mic talking to you.

Or to write that last bit again, but shorter; I haven’t been able to finish writing about the comedian yet, but here is something about the play I saw this afternoon, ‘cos plays are easier to write about than comedians.

But first, big thanks to the Royal Court for the upgraded seat. I’d like to think they realise my amazing reviews are so important to their existence, clearly sending hundreds, even thousands, more to their door. Or it could just be that it was a Saturday afternoon matinee performance, a couple of weeks before Christmas, and it just wasn’t fully sold out. No no no, I’m pretty sure it was the first reason.

Anyway…

Hope is, at its most basic level, about a local council having to make massive savings in its budget due to the government austerity measures. Yes I know, it sounds riveting doesn’t it, who can resist a play about budget cuts and local councils. I know I couldn’t. Thankfully it does have plenty of laughs in it as well.

It centres around four local councillors as they deal with the difficulties of how to balance the budget following massive cuts to their funding. So far, so dull. At their heart is Mark, the deputy council leader, a man whose own son thinks he is weak and pathetic, and whose ex-wife runs a day care for people with disability and campaigns against these cuts.

Written by Jack Thorne, who I have now realised wrote the script for Let The Right One In, possibly the best play I have seen in my life, he does have a way with words and manages to squeeze plenty of laughs in-between the political point scoring. The interplay between deputy council leader Mark and his sixteen year old, know-it-all son produce some great moments; early on it appears that they about to have “the sex talk”, at which point the son asks “did you bring props, you know, condoms, a cucumber, maybe you have gone all the way and some lube?”. Crude but played out extremely well and full of humour.

It is clear where Thorne comes from, he has worked with Royal Court before, and right now this venue, like many others, is going through sweeping cuts and having to find new ways to fund themselves. And this play makes no attempt to hold back from criticism of such things. But it does give some balance, showing how to fund one thing will mean a need to cut elsewhere, and the difficulties faced in doing so. I could happily right now go on about the rights and wrongs of government cuts and my thoughts on all this, but maybe I should avoid that if I want people to read anything else I ever write.

While the politics is generally kept reasonably subtle, Thorne does allows himself one moment of preaching to the audience. The father of one councillor, a die-hard labourite, gives a speech to Mark about how things use to be, the solidarity, looking out for others, protesting against the wrongs of the government, doing things because they are right and not because they are popular, all things he feels have been destroyed. It’s an interesting scene and is the only time you really feel the politics is being forced onto you, but as it’s just the one scene, not enough to alienate those in the audience who came for the laughs rather than the politics.

The play runs through the year, showing how the budget is argued out, how decisions are made, and then unmade, how difficult this can be when there really is no choice, whatever they may try to do to protect everything.

It’s not until the very end that the meaning of the title reveals itself. And again, maybe this is Thorne revealing his true colours, his belief in people shining through.

Firstly we see what lies in store for the future, with Mark’s son showing he isn’t as cocky as he previously seemed, rather he is looking ahead, is realising that the world can be a good place, that it’s all about trying to do the right thing, that his father probably isn’t as pathetic as he first thought. And then at the very end, you see the councillors, the ones who have spent so long fighting about the budget, suddenly showing what they are there for really, to help others, to support; to give hope when before there was none.

For a change, I didn’t walk away from the Royal Court with hundreds of thoughts running through my head as I try to analysis what I have just seen. The themes of Hope aren’t earth-shattering, they aren’t going to change any political views of members of the audience. But what you do get is a feeling that even with the state of things today, there is Hope, and that there are people who care, who do things not for personal gain, but for the support of others. And it was this thought that I walked away with, a small glow that perhaps it isn’t as doom and gloom as we sometimes feel.

The Nether at The Royal Court

I saw this play back in the summer at the wonderful Royal Court in Sloane Square, but as it’s about to get a fresh run in the West End, thought a good chance to comment on it.

I remember getting an email advertising this play that just grabbed my attention. First there was the amazing interactive website to explain what the Nether is;

http://anetherrealm.co.uk/

And then there was the explanation of the play, a detective story set in a futuristic world where the internet was all consuming. Beyond that I had no idea what to expect but it grabbed me enough to quickly get tickets. With no real expectation, I went along to see what it was all about, and I can safely say, the one thing I wasn’t expecting was a play that at its very basic level was a world of pedophilia!

It starts out in what appears to be an interview room in a police station. This could be any town in any country, there is nothing to give it location or time frame. There is no explanation of what the crime being investigated is at this early stage, you join the interview not at the beginning but some way through, so there are many questions already hanging in the air. It’s a perfect start to a play, drawing you instantly in as you try to work out the context of the interview.

The interviews are of the two main suspects, and these are interspersed with flashbacks. The flashbacks take you into the Nether, the virtual reality world which is the internet of the future, no more sitting and typing, but rather one where you feel and touch and are part of it all. They slowly show you what the crime is supposed to be, but then the question starts to be, is there actually a crime at all, after all, this is the internet and virtual reality, how can you commit a crime there?

You soon learn that one of those being interviewed is the man who invented this particular realm, maybe consider it a chat room of the future, a room that is you see and feel as an idealistic old fashioned home, with the participants all dressed as if it’s the 18th century, not the near future. It’s an innocent feel, but an innocence that is shattered as you realise the purpose of the sweet young girl in the old fashioned dress smiling at the middle aged man she sees as her father. And she isn’t just there for the father, but the paying guests too. Yes, it is that sinister.

The play moves along at a fast pace, at only one hour and twenty minutes, it doesn’t have time to meander along too much. And maybe it’s this fast pace that adds to the tension that is generated as the story unfolds. The interviewer and interviewee even drag their own chairs away as the set changes from interview room to virtual reality world, the sound of scrapping chairs could almost be deliberate.   There is some great lighting as well to add to the changing scenes that no doubt will be even more impressive when the play moves to the West End.

As the truth of what is happening in the virtual world unfolds it becomes very uncomfortable viewing. And slowly you realise the connections between the people in the real world and the virtual world, again, it becomes even more uncomfortable, but equally it’s compelling viewing.

It’s certainly not a play for the light-hearted. But for those who are willing to try it, it is worth eighty minutes of your life. And if like me, you enjoy something that leaves you questioning your perceptions and thoughts, this is clearly one for you. It doesn’t leave you asking whether pedophilia is right or wrong, that hopefully is a question we all know the answer too. Rather the questions are the rights and wrongs of what we think, how we play out our fantasies, and where the real world and the virtual world collide, and maybe how we will be using the internet in the future.

If you want to know more, check out the play’s own website at http://www.thenetherplay.com/

Urinetown, the musical

So I mentioned seeing Urinetown earlier this week, and as it’s still fresh in my mind, thought I would add something about it. Yes that name is right, yes it certainly grabs the attention doesn’t it, and yes, the name is fairly relevant to the show.

Was lucky enough to grab some cheap tickets to see this. Like most West End shows, face value tickets are expensive, but there are always offers to be found if you hunt around. I did get the impression on the evening that the discounted tickets had worked well, it was probably one of the younger audiences I’ve seen for some time at the theatre, which is never a bad thing. I was sitting behind a whole row of people who were probably not even 20 and I don’t think they would have been paying the normal sixty pounds those seats are. And they clearly were enjoying it, and adding to the great vibe in the audience on the night.

My initial comment on the show was that it was deliberately clichéd, corny and camp and very very funny. And I think that about sums up everything I’m going to say below, but do hope you will read on.

I’m sure somewhere out there must be a book entitled “How To Write A Musical”, setting out all the basic rules of any musical. I can imagine this book having chapters explaining the strict rules on what characters are needed, how the songs should be structured, just how much subtle campness is needed and of course explaining that every musical must have a happy ending.

And yes, the writers of Urinetown clearly read the book and mostly followed the rules precisely; so precisely that everything is completely over the top, and intentional so. It’s done so well it looks perfectly natural and so easy that you would think any fool could have written it.

The narrator, like the rule book must say, is both a character and an ethereal presence that at times steps out of the action to update the audience on what is happening, but does it in a very over the top way, almost explaining that things are happening simply because that is what happens in a musical.

Early on he berates a young girl for over-complicating things for the audience when she asks why the show is only concerned with water usage in toilets, the very central idea of the whole show, and not other things that would take more water. (I am hoping there will be a follow up show one day called Laundrytown.)  While watching this I was strangely in mind of Stewart Lee (sorry for possibly a very obscure reference), a brilliant comedian who does very much the same in his stand up, following the rules of comedy so rigidly that at times he stops to explain why what he just said is in fact the best joke ever.

The campness comes in the most unexpected places; declarations of love between characters that just have no relevance to the scene; two thugs having a lustful embrace at the end of a fight scene for no real reason except that a musical needs to be slightly camp.

The music is as fun as would be expected, and of course as clichéd as required. There is the big opening number to set the scene, the romantic number when the love interests meet, the villains’ song to emphasise how evil he is, (don’t go if you are offended by suggestions of nasty things you can do to bunnys), the sad song when the love interests are unable to be together, and of course the required big number at the end of part one that sets the picture for what is coming in part two. And it’s all toe tapping fun.

Suddenly though as the second half progresses it slightly deviates from the rule book, again with absolute knowingness; the narrator explaining to the young girl that this isn’t a normal musical, after all it isn’t going to be happy with a name like Urinetown! But even with this turn, it just gets funnier.

As someone who rarely does musicals, this was certainly up my street. Everything was so tongue-in-cheek you just can’t help but laugh at it all. The clichéd nature was so intentional it just added to the humour. So provided you can handle the slight toilet humour of it all, it’s well worth an evening out.

As a slight aside, before the show and during the interval, was confused to see a number of young girls, (at my age, young is late teens/ early 20s) walking about shoeless. Now I know I said it’s great to see a younger audience, but I did think taking your shoes off at the theatre was just a little bit unnecessary and way too casual.   So I was so relieved to find out afterwards that this was a charity thing, and that some brave soul was going the whole month of November shoeless for War On Want. If you want to help out, her Just Giving page is here;

https://www.justgiving.com/MTSNoShoesNov/

Please do give a few pounds if you can, remember how rainy it’s been this month, surely that deserves some support.