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Final Entry of the Year

December 12, 2012

Another one gone. So, a quick look back at a few highlights and lowlights. No awards handed out, just a few things that were good and bad about the year. In other words, something to fill my last blog entry before the break.

Highlights include the best dance musical I’ve seen since “Cats” – “Top Hat” earned the rarest thing from me, a standing ovation. I’m just glad I don’t have to wash the costumes, though…

In plays, it’s a toss-up between “Chariots of Fire” and something much older. “Chariots” gets a mention as I was a fairly reluctant attendee. “A play about runners? No.” How wrong can anyone be. It’s about faith and determination, has a cast that work amazingly together and perform theatre in the purest form. If this were a medal ceremony, the British national anthem would be playing.

Much older? The unforgettable “Chav Dream,” as the 2012 Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” has gone down in history. If only the 3D hologram technology existed to switch the event on in any school hall in the country. Shakespeare as it should always be seen – as modern as the day it was written. There’s nothing dull about two girls fighting over a lad by screaming blue murder at each other over rows of seats, believe me. Applause all round.

The downers of the year? The disappointment that was the 1930s “Sweeney Todd.” The leads were OK, but everything else bar the music suffered with the loss of context. Only redeeming feature was the wonderful staff who let me move to a far more comfortable perch when my knee protested before the show.

Oh, and the rise and rise of “premium seats.” Just yesterday a reader asked why I don’t mark them “red” on seating plans. Reason: you are getting what you pay for in terms of view and value – the best seats in the house. The problem is that ordinary theatregoers are now getting shut out of not just those, but many seats around them. If producers wonder about falling audiences now, they should wait until all those regulars they are currently keeping out of the way are gone… and there’s no generation building behind them…

To finish on an up note – we proved at FOUR ceremonies that British stagecraft continues to wow the world on a stadium level, the inventive cauldron has to be the defining image of the year, proof that we really can keep the flame of theatre alive.

And that’s it from me. Back blogging on the 16th January. To all Christian readers, happy Christmas, to others, all the best for the holiday season, and to all, a very Happy New Year to come.

  1. Sarah Forrester permalink
    December 12, 2012 10:02 am

    Happy Christmas Steve – I always look forward to your blog 🙂 For me this year theatre highlights were Ramin in Les Miserables and most recently Boy Meets Boy – seldom have I felt so elated when leaving a theatre – I went back for seconds quickly due to the short run !
    Happy New Year – enjoy your break x

    • Steve Rich permalink*
      December 12, 2012 11:19 am

      Thanks Sarah, and glad you like the blog.

      Good choices for the year too, and hope your 2013 is a great one.

      Have a great holiday too.


  2. martin permalink
    December 16, 2012 10:31 am

    happy x-mas a great start for 2013 and enjoy the break!

    • Steve Rich permalink*
      December 17, 2012 12:47 pm

      Thanks Martin, and the same to you. Best, Steve.

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