For my thoughts to be productive, profound and distinctive I have provided a relaxing comfy sofa in my mind for my thoughts to sit and contemplate.
Well thoughts, what’s your views on our recent trip to the theatre?
Like a slap in the face!
Oh, that’s not the comment I was expecting.
Why ask if you know what comments I’m going to make? Maybe your not reading it in the context that I’ve spoken it in?
Sorry excuse me for speaking!
I will expand. After nearly 2 years of being away from seeing a live performance in the theatre, why would it not be like a slap in the face?
From stepping over the threshold, buying merch, and walking along the corridor into the auditorium, every moment was an adrenaline rush. Back in the place where so many emotions and feelings are generated. Imagination, stories and musical extravaganzas that enthralled the theatre’s audience for over 140 years. I know it makes the 15 month break from actors, musicians, singers, dancers, comedians and entertainers treading the boards performing for our delight seem like a little blip.
In a way, being back was like a childhood Christmas. As a child a year was a long time so the anticipation of the big mans arrival built over several weeks. You knew you were in for a real treat. It was not just want you would find under the wrapping paper but the whole showmanship of an event that for us lasted the whole day. That’s how it affected me walking into the theatre. Taking my seat with the rest of the eager audience. Yes it was socially distanced with every other seat empty reducing the capacity to 50%, but what an audience. What they lacked in numbers they made up with exuberance. Faces hidden behind masks or just the backs of heads in view yet the sense of a happy smiling joyful crowd was all to evident. The auditorium buzzed. Then again we are talking Leeds Grand Theatre and Opera House and it’s notorious audiences that give praise and adulation to quality theatre but don’t hold back when they don’t like what they’ve paid good money for.
Oh and what a performance to choose to go back too. Well when I say choose, that was done around two years ago with the pandemic adding numerous postponements.
“SIX the musical”, retelling the the demise of Henry VIII’s 6 wives through song. A powerful account of the six queens and their relationship with the king.
You wouldn’t expect it to be thought provoking and emotional, yet the opening salvo was explosive. Each queen with a heavy beat and active lighting introduced themselves with the word of that define them. A gap between and each queen being lit separately added drama.
“Divorce”, “Beheaded”, “Died”, “Divorce”, “Beheaded”, “Survived”.
It was like a Tudor mini royal pandemic. I could almost hear,
“Ventilator”, “Shielded”, “Died”, Ventilator”, “Shielded”, “Survived”.
To me it was a chant of hope from adversity on different levels. The six queens giving a courageous account in an uplifting defiant musical rendition that got the audience involved. The adrenaline from being back in a theatre to see, listen and feel a show with an enthusiastic crowd and that hope that life was and is firmly on the road to recovery.
That message from the six queens that adversity, despair and isolation in their marriage can be overcome by being together as “SIX”.
What a way to rejoice in the return of live theatre with an audience that buzzed and got involved with the performance and actors who drunk in that adrenaline to make everyone in that theatre feel alive, reciprocating in in their performance.
And to top it all off an extra announcement at the end of the show, that we thought was just to thank the audience or some serious announcement was in fact a proposal to the actor playing Anne Boleyn from her boyfriend making the announcement. (Which we wish them a happy future together). Wow what an uplifting amazing return to live theatre. From front of house, back stage, on stage and audience to say the whole theatre rocked would be an understatement.
Let’s hope this is the start of revival of the live arts. I’m ready for more.
So I can say the performance rocked me to the core and back.
Let’s just say, my sofa became the London Palladium, the Hollywood Bowl, Woodstock and Glastonbury all rolled into one. Life is back.
See I knew that sofa would be a hit.