May is turning out to be a very good month for me theatre wise. And this just made it even better.
Firstly, I'm amazed that this show is not done more often, or indeed better known. It's hit after hit after hit, and whilst the plot isn't the greatest on earth, it's surprisingly relevant. And this is an utterly charming production. Tim Hatley's design is one of the most ambitious I've seen in the Minerva, yet manages to make the space feel bigger than it is, and doesn't over clutter or overshadow the piece itself.
It's a big cast, too, which allows Stephen Mear to really show off his choreography. 'Once a Year Day' is simply sensational, as is 'Steam Heat' with its jets of steam firing up from the floor.
This also confirms how underused Joanna RIding was in Lend Me a Tenor. She is surely one of our best musical theatre actresses, and Hadley Fraser, who I'd not seen before, is equally good. And there's great support from Claire Machin and Peter Polycarpou in particular.
I'd love to see it transfer, but will it? I'm not so sure. It's sold out in Chichester, but if you spot a return online, it's well worth the trip. Especially if you're sitting in the front row as I was, where they're dancing over you.
After The Dark Earth and the Light Sky and Quartermaine's Terms, and now this, Richard Eyre is the director of the year for me. I look forward to Liola and Ghosts later this summer.
I'm never quite sure why there is an obsession with having a young audience. Most people I know started going to the theatre in their 30s, if you'd asked me to go and sit through an opera when I was 25 I would have laughed, now I can't get enough of it. If you asked me to go to Glastonbury now, I would cry with the memory of mud and other stuff I don't like anymore.
Going a few times as a child with parents of school is a good start, but probably won't lead to teenagers spending their allowance on theatre tickets.
I think theatres need to relax a little and not worry to much about the age group between 16-25. Have some decent and affordable kids shows, tell schools if they are booking something age-inappropriate and hope that people earn enough to afford the odd ticket when they've outgrown clubbing/partying/hyperactivity and the need to constantly hang out in large groups
Hey Emsworthian, we were there yesterday too. I agree with every word you say. It is a wonderful production of a fantastic show brimming with great songs. Surely a transfer must be an option. Out and out raving on the blog http://www.frontrowd...er-minerva.html