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The perils of the front row

May 22, 2013

I’m a big fan of the front row of the stalls, be it called A, AA, AY or anything else. It’s all about “faces” (I’m also an Al Jolson fan – one of my favourite films) – you can see the actors’ eyes and know if they are clued into the performance or on autopilot. Nobody’s head is in front of you, and there’s less chance of being disturbed in general, as fellow audience members often feel intimidated at being visible to both the entire audience and the actors on stage.

It’s irritating that my favourite seats are now often “day seats” and so not bookable, but the fact remains that for me, the closer to the stage, the better.

On Saturday at “To Kill A Mockingbird” at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, though, I was reminded of all the things that can happen to us in that vulnerable row. Just for fun, I thought I’d list ten (not all happened that night of course, but all have happened to me or my friends)…

1) Actors trip over you as they walk up steps near your seat to get onto the stage.

2) They then sit on those steps and block your view until they move.

3) Sweat flies off them, in your direction…

4) The smell of stale sweat floats off them, in your direction… normally near the end of act two, proving how hard they work to entertain you. If you encounter the smell from the start of act 1, be glad you are not sharing a dressing room with the soap-dodger…

5) Bits of scenery / personal belongings / deliberately aimed gallons of water fly off the stage in your direction.

6) The stage catches fire six inches from your nose.

7) A messy trick involving getting an egg into a pint glass happens six inches from your nose.

8) Half a tonne of dry ice smoke vanishes up your nose, choking you for the duration and lending a “Kate Bush Wuthering Heights video” effect to the whole experience.

9) They hear your comment at the end of the show and react… embarrassing whether kind or cruel.

10) The show has removed your seat and not told you in advance, so you arrive and find it doesn’t exist, and nobody knows what to do next. On the other hand, reading this list back, I’m not sure that isn’t a blessing in disguise now, come to think of it!


P.S. No blog next week, taking a week off, back on the 5th, I hope!

One Comment
  1. Sarah permalink
    May 22, 2013 11:27 am

    I too love the front row – invariably there is room to stretch my rogue leg and there really is nothing better than being close to the action. As well as the disadvantages you have mentioned the view from the front row for “Chicago” was revealing to say the least – thank goodness the smells that wafted from the cast were pleasantly masked with perfume and aftershave! On another fated occasion during Shrek I was not sat in the front row, but in the section of the stalls where there is a large aisle in front – a lady in a motorised wheelchair ran right over my foot and aghast and apologetic at what she had done proceeded to reverse back over said foot !! Other perils of the front row are neck ache to the point of rigamortis for high stages and speakers that vibrate through your very soul , however to guarantee that you wont have the annual outing of the Tall Society in front of you is the seating of choice ! Welcome to Twitter !! 😉

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