Theatre is Amazing!

One of my favourite things to do when I have the time is watch a live theatre production. Theatre was introduced to me as a child through pantomimes and small productions that used to drive around visiting schools. I was always in awe of real actors putting on a show right in front of me and my love for theatre has never since waned.

At Secondary school I remember going on my first proper trip to see a London show. It was a version of ‘An Inspector Calls’ which was the GCSE book that we were studying in English at the time and it was so exciting for us. This one visit to a London theatre stuck with me and created a bug for going back again and again.

Theatres need protecting

After several lockdowns and long periods without their doors open, so many actors, producers, technical engineers and front of house people have struggled to stay in the industry. Since they have reopened their doors again to audiences, I have been able to get booking again and am still looking forward to the Hammersmith production of Sister Act which was delayed from 2020 and should finally go ahead this year, sadly without Whoopi Goldberg as originally planned.

I hope that people get back into the habit (excuse the Sister Act joke) and keep returning to the West End and local theatres so that we can get the theatre industry well and truly back on its feet again. So much imagination and artistry is put into packaging these masterpieces. It would be a shame to see them dry up.

Notable productions

Here are some of my favourite shows that I have seen in London:

Gypsy (with Imelda Staunton) – watched three times – phenomenal. Got her autograph. Will cherish.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat

Dr Doolittle (Philip Schofield and the voice of Julie Andrews)

Blythe Spirit (Jennifer Saunders)

Wicked

Billy Elliott

Follies

East is East (with Jane Horrocks) – selfie below.

Photograph 51 (with Nicole Kidman) – another autograph I will savour.

Under the Blue Sky (with Catherine Tate)

Wicked

The Play That Goes Wrong

The Bodyguard (with Beverley Knight)

Hairspray (with Michael Ball)

A Christmas Carol (with Jim Broadbent and Samantha Spiro) I was so happy to get a selfie with Sam.

As I was writing this I realised that the list could go on for pages.

Whilst in New York I got to see Idina Menzel in a wonderful version of If/Then at the Richard Rogers theatre. I really hope to see another Broadway play one day.

As you can probably tell, theatre means a lot to me and my friends. So I really wrote this article to remind people of the value and importance of theatre as a creative force. I very much hope I can urge you to consider checking out what’s on at your local theatre or think about popping to a London show soon and giving some support.

For a previous review of a West End show click here. If you enjoyed this article please consider following my blog to help me develop the site.

My 5 Favourite Actresses

Most people know that I am a movie geek. Right from a young age I was always obsessed with films. When I took the train to University I always used to read movie magazines from cover to cover. A particular favourite of mine was Empire Magazine because it included articles about behind the scenes of movie sets and in-depth analysis of upcoming films.

Often I write movie reviews but today I wanted to share my top 5 favourite actresses. There are some actresses that I have been a fan of for many years now and their work has been consistently brilliant. Though I number the actresses, this blog post does not intend to rank them as they are all equally talented, in my view.

1) Kate Winslet

Ever since I saw her in ‘Sense and Sensibility’, I was intrigued by her ability to really mould into every character that she played. After watching her early movies, I saw her star turn as Rose in ‘Titanic’, which made her a worldwide name. She then went on to play varied and fascinating roles in ‘Enigma, Iris, Holy Smoke, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Holiday, Finding Neverland’ and so many more. With a well deserved Oscar for playing a German rail worker harbouring a guilty past in the widely acclaimed ‘The Reader’, she showed how incredibly skilful she could be, portraying that character as she went through the ageing process.

2) Cate Blanchett

From seeing her in the movie ‘Elizabeth’, about Henry VIII’s daughter, to its sequel ten years later, and with so many roles in between, Cate is someone who I followed with delight and still admire. She has earned a supporting actress Oscar for ‘The Aviator’ with Leo DiCaprio and in a leading role for Woody Allen’s ‘Blue Jasmine’. Lately she has mixed TV political dramas like ‘Mrs America’ with blockbusters such as ‘Ocean’s Eight’. In a more peculiar role, she played the iconic Galadriel in both ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’.

3) Emma Thompson

When my GCSE English teacher advised that we watched ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ with Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh, I was immediately impressed by her. A few years later, my then A-Level English teacher recommended reading ‘Sense and Sensibility’ and then checking out the movie. Not only did my appreciation of Emma grow but I was also introduced to Kate Winslet and both films included Imelda Staunton, who I mention later.

After reading her screenplay and diaries that went with the film, I absolutely loved watching Emma’s career progress. With ‘Love, Actually’, ‘Nanny McPhee’ (which she wrote the script for as well), appearances in ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Bridget Jones’s Baby’, she soon grew into a national treasure. Scoring an Oscar for screenwriting and best actress, she has become an incredible force in Hollywood, whilst retaining her down-to-Earth nature.

4) Imelda Staunton

Imelda had often cropped up in Emma Thompson films, but it was when I caught a short video of her singing in Sweeney Todd on YouTube that I decided to book tickets to see her in Gypsy. Her performance was breath-taking and I went on to see the stage show twice more. I also watched two other plays with her in and got to meet her several times.

Lately her film presence has grown still further. Having scared everyone as Umbridge in Harry Potter (a role where she played an evil headmistress who kicked Emma’s teacher character out of Hogwarts) she then played a funny and moving woman in ‘Finding Your Feet’ before being given a regal role in ‘Downton Abbey’, the movie. Now she is carrying the mantel as Queen in the final two series of ‘The Crown’.

5) Whoopi Goldberg

Having seen her standup show twice in London, I am a massive Whoopi fan. I have read her book and followed her career right since the early days of ‘Jumping Jack Flash’ and ‘The Colour Purple’.

Her Oscar for supporting actress in the brilliant ‘Ghost’ led to so many wonderful dramatic and comedy roles, including ‘Sister Act’ and it’s even better sequel. With a range of small and large acting parts as well as presenting gigs such as hosting the Oscars (three times) and America’s version of ‘Loose Women’ (called The View) she has achieved so much. She remains funny, clever and so very talented in whatever she turns her hand to.

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