Thursday, 8 September 2016

My Love of the Stage

Photo by Paul Green.

I have been a huge fan of drama and theatre - especially musical theatre - for as long as I can remember. As a child, my I would always ask to borrow my Grandma's videos of My Fair Lady starring Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison, The King and I starring Deborah Kerr and Yul Brynner, and her video of Catz live on stage, when Elaine Paige played Grizabella. As a ten-year-old, I joined my primary school's after school Drama Club, and there I discovered a love of acting. The club went on a trip to see Bugsy Malone, and then put on our production. I played Roxy Robinson, the second character on stage and the first character to die (!), and, of course, Baby Face - because, really, with my face, who could be better for the part?

My love of acting and theatre continued as I moved to secondary school, and I took Drama through to GCSE and A-Level. I wasn't particularly good, but there is nothing quite like the freedom felt on stage, playing the part of someone else and entertaining a crowd. As someone who has always been terribly shy and quiet, doing presentations in class was something I found terrifying, but it was a different story when it came to acting. Stepping onto the stage allowed me to shake off the person everyone thought I was, and surprise us all - myself included - that this timid girl was throwing herself around the stage, laughing manically, and collapsing more times than I can count (I just wish I was taught how to fall properly - I also banged my head more times than I can count). A highlight for me was playing Madame Arcati in Blithe Spirit by Noel Coward, a medium who's a little on the quirky side!

Through Drama I got to see a number of plays, and because of my love of the theatre, I would see plays and musicals outside of school, too. I would receive tickets to see various shows at birthdays and Christmas, sometimes I would buy tickets for my Mum and I if I wanted to see something and wanted company, and sometimes, when we could afford it, Mum and I would buy tickets for a particular play we wanted to see - in 2011 we tried to watch a different play a month, but we couldn't keep it up in the end. Here is a list of all the plays and muscials I've seen, in cronilogical order (there are some plays I don't have programmes for, and can't remember who starred in them, but otherwise, I tell you the actors I saw, too):

1. Bugsy Malone

In, roughly, 1996.
With my Drama club.

2. Starlight Express

In, roughly, 1997.
A present for me, attended with Dad.

3. The King and I

In 2000.
Starring Elaine Paige as Mrs Anna and Jason Scott Lee as the King.
A present for me, attended with Mum.

4. Stones in His Pockets 

In 2001.
With my GCSE Drama class.

5. The Mousetrap

In 2000
With my GCSE Drama class.

6. My Fair Lady

In 2003.
Starring Laura Michelle Kelly as Eliza Doolittle and Anthony Andrews as Professor Henry Higgins.
A present for me, attended with Mum.

7. The Woman in Black

Seen twice:
In 2003
With my GCSE Drama class.
In 2012.
A present for my Dad from me.

8. Hamlet

In 2003.
Starring Toby Stephens
With my A-Level Drama class.

9. Tricky

A reimagining of Shakespeare's Richard III.
In 2003.
With my A-Level Drama class.

10. Grease

Not sure when, exactly, but I think is was sometime between 2003-2005.
With my aunt and cousin, for my cousin's birthday.

11. Tom, Dick & Harry

In 2005.
Starring Joe McGann as Tom, Mark McGann as Dick and Stephen McGann as Harry.
Family day out.

12. Wicked

Seen twice;
In 2007. 
Starring Kerry Ellis as Elphaba, Diane Pilkington as Glinda and Oliver Tompsett as Fiyero
A present for my mum from me.
 In 2014.
Starring Emma Hatton as Elphaba (understudy), Jeremy Taylor as Fiyero and Savannah Stevenson as Glinda.
A present for my dad from me.

13. Blood Brothers

In 2009.
Starring Vivienne Carlyle as Mrs Johnstone, Stephen Palfreman as Mickey and Craig Whiteley as Eddie.
A present for my mum from me.

14. Sunset Boulevard

In 2009. Starring Kathryn Evans as Norma Desmond and Ben Goddard as Joe Gillis.
A present for me, attended with Mum.

15. Calendar Girls

In 2009.
Starring Julia Hills as Ruth, Arabella Weir as Chris, Helen Lederer as Marie, Kelly Brook as Celia, Rosalind Knight as Jessie, Hannah Waterman as Cora and Janie Dee as Annie.
A present for me, attended with Mum.

16. Flash Dance

In 2010.
Starring Victoria Hamilton-Barritt as Alex Owens and Matt Willis as Nick Hurley.
I paid for Mum and I to go and see it, as I wanted to see it.

17. Love Story

In 2011.
Starring Emma Williams as Jenny and Michael Xavier as Oliver.
Mum and I bought our own tickets as we both wanted to see it.

18. Legally Blonde

In 2011.
Starring Carley Stenson as Elle Woods (understudy) and Alex Goumond
as Emmett.
A present for me, attended with Mum.

19. Les Miserabl├ęs

In 2011.
Starring Simon Bowman as Jean Valjean, Rebecca Seale as Fantine, Lucie Jones as Cosette, Alistair Brammer as Marius, and Samantha Barks as Eponine.
A present for me, attended with Mum.

20. The Naked Truth

In 2011.
Starring Julie Buckfield, Leanne Jones, Nikki Sanderson, Maureen Nolan and Sarah White.
Mum and I bought our own tickets as we both wanted to see it.

21. Chicago

In 2011.
Starring Lisa Donmall as Velma Kelly, Sarah Soetaert as Roxie Hart and David Bedella as Billy Flynn.
A present for Mum from me.

22. Goodnight Mr Tom

In 2013.
Starring Oliver Ford Davies as Tom Oakley
A present for me.

23. Miss Saigon

In 2016.
Starring Eva Noblezada as Kim and Chris Peluso as Chris.
I paid for Mum and I to go and see it, as I wanted to see it.

24. Ghost 

In 2016.
 Starring Kelly Hampson as Molly (understudy), Andy Moss as Sam and Jacqui Dubois as Oda Mae Brown.
Mum and I bought our own tickets as we both wanted to see it.
Read my review.

Although I don't get to go as much as I'd like, theatre is a big part of my life. I've decided I want to reflect this on my blog, and so whenever I see a play or a musical from now on, I'm going to review it. I saw Ghost yesterday, so keep an eye out in a few days for my review of Ghost! I hope you'll enjoy my posts on the theatre! (I'll update this post as I see more plays/musicals in future, and link to my reviews.)

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