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Website Review: Seatplan

Finding theatre for theatre nerds is relatively easy; we’re plugged into sources that tell us what’s on when, who is in it and how much we’re likely to pay. We also have our favourite theatres, actors on our radar and directors we’re unlikely to miss. However, as a non-London resident I often find I miss these things, and when it comes to booking London trips- especially for friends or family- find myself scrolling through endless websites trying to find out what’s on, where and most importantly how much it will cost me. So, when asked to take a look at Seatplan’s website I was hoping to find a resource to cover all that and one I could happily send my less theatre-savvy friends and family to. It does all that and (drumroll please) also gives up to date information on the actual seats, the view and comfort.
If I’m paying West End prices for theatre, I want to know if my backside will survive the night. And if my view will be mainly of a pillar. So Seatplan could actually be the answ…
Recent posts

Tremor- Brad Birch- Sherman Theatre

I went to see Brad Birch’s new play Tremor at the Sherman Theatre  as a reviewer for Miro magazine. You can read my more traditional review here. For new work however, I like to spend time unpacking the play, and in particular the writing a little more. So here is my not-review of Tremor. Fair warning ‘spoilers’ ahead, perhaps save for after seeing it. The most fascinating element of watching this play for me was second guessing my own, and fellow audience member’s reactions. And judging myself accordingly. Going in knowing only a ‘tragedy’ causes a couple to reassess their situation and relationship my mind had gone to natural disaster, violent acts, end of the world scenario and yes, of course in the world we live in Terrorism. So, the slow burn of revealing the details of the event, and subsequent twist were a fascinating lead in to what had happened to this couple. The seemingly almost mundane nature of a bus accident when it is revealed is fascinating in that it showed how traged…

To Mob or not to Mob?

Ok wrong play, but the point still stands.
In one of several tweets about Julius Caesar at The Bridge theatre- all of which were positive, none of which were an in-depth review, given they were tweets- I made a comment about the use of the Mob. My comment about the Mob itself is positive- and something I planned to expand on in this, my review. It creates great atmosphere, and as I’ll expand on, I think adds much to the story. But ‘You could not pay me to be down there’ is an expression of my personal preference- and aversion to such things. I say that, because I’m not fond of crowds and I’m even less fond of loud noises. Knowing both things played into the staging beforehand, I made a decision not to buy tickets for there. So far so sensible? After the event, observing that confirmed I would not have enjoyed it, and I made a comment to that end…while also praising that kind of staging for making it a great theatrical experience.
It’s not news that Twitter sometimes fails to grasp…

My dirty love affair with the Jukebox Musical

Really excited to have my first 'Guest blogger' on this blog. My friend Nicole wrote such a fascinating post about the Jukebox musical I practically begged her to let me share here it is. If you enjoy it please let me know- I'd love Nicole to share more of her theatre thoughts with the world! 
My dirty love affair with the Jukebox Musical
Let me start with a confession: When "Mamma Mia", the mother of the modern jukebox musical, opened in 1999, I was the first one to declare how much I hated the idea of using existing pop music for a "new" musical. I was certain that "Mamma Mia" would not last long and I'd pick up some deeply discounted ticket a few months in to take a look at just how bad it was. Well, we know how that went. "Mamma Mia" became a smash hit and I was eventually persuaded by a friend who liked the show to fork out for a full-price ticket. And dang, I was greatly entertained, had a wonderful evening and came …

Diversity in Welsh Theatre...once again

This piece was written for BBC Cymru's blog in Welsh and is available here

A lack of diversity in Welsh arts is driving talent away from the country and severely limiting the work we make. But is this lack of diversity part of an underlying issue in Wales where the arts, and access to the arts, is controlled by a narrow inward-looking group afraid of change? If we take a long hard look at ourselves we know that those working in the arts in Wales still feel like they are made by a narrow group, for a narrow group. Even those who demographically belong to the same group, it’s naïve to say that the white middle class (often male) isn’t still the default for leaders and makers in the arts.
There is much talk of Wales as a ‘cultural centre’ and much bemoaning of the ‘London Centric’ focus of the arts. And yet, anyone seeking a career in the arts in Wales will hear more than once ‘move away’. And even if they aren’t told it directly, for many it will swiftly become the only option. And fo…

2017 Favourite Theatre

Here it is a list of the 10 shows that for various reasons made a mark in 2017. Some commentary being naturally longer than others...
Outside the 'Top 10' some Honorable mentions as well...
The Wedding Singer: Saw this on what was, by far the saddest day of the year- when our dear Doggy died. It didn’t quite block that out but this lovely cheerful little show, with such a brilliant cast really went a long way to making a horrible day bearable. I’ll always be thankful for that.
Harry Potter: I finally saw it and got swept away in Hogwarts magic once again. Another one in the ‘refuelling my love of it’ category. You never really leave Hogwarts, but it’s nice to be reminded of it and why you love it now and again. For this, Cursed Child is perfect. It’s not a perfect play, and its spectacle outweighs any substance, but it’s a great experience for those who love Harry and Co.
Where do Little Birds Go- Camilla Whitehills’s fantastic one-woman-play directed by my friend Luke Herefor…

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie- Apollo Theatre

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie
This was my last theatre outing of the year, and what a way to end a year. Everyone should be talking about Jamie if they aren’t already. From what I saw on stage in front of me, and the fact that this is a new original British musical, Jamie is something special indeed.
First and foremost, Jamie is just an excellent musical. It has everything a good musical should; excellent music, a strong story and a stellar cast who execute it all perfectly. But we all know that pulling that off isn’t easy. We often lament the lack of musical theatre writing in Britain, this shows we do have the capability, if only theatres could invest more in developing the work. What Dan Gillespie Sells and Tom McRae have created is a musical that sounds authentically ‘musical theatre’ while keeping that pop music edge that makes it feel current and fresh. There’s a great balance between the up-beat ensemble numbers, and emotional ballads to move the story along. And the music …