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Nice surprises at the Theatre

July 8, 2015

I know I often write about the doomy stuff – annoying fellow theatregoers, high prices etc, but there’s also the great stuff, things that keep you going and restore your faith, so….


1) Dragging yourself to see something “just because” and finding it was a billion times better than you hoped. “Once” was the most obvious. Knew not a thing about it going in, had to re-write my top 5 musicals ever list on leaving. Most recently, “Temple” – a play I knew nothing of, on a subject I didn’t care for, with a cast I wasn’t keen on… forgive me Father, for I knew not why I thought any of that.


2) Free water. Thanks Sir Cameron and the National Theatre. Appreciated.

3) A really good chat with the person next to you. Theatremonkey was partly built on such chats, and I still love meeting folk from all over the world, finding out what they’ve seen and what the theatre is like outside the M25.

4) A really good chat with the ushering staff. Mostly young, mostly “resting actors” or training ones – with the odd writer and director too. If you get the chance, do talk to them. Fascinating to hear about the work they are doing and their dedication in getting where they want to be.

5) Legroom. When choosing my own seats, it’s a must; when I don’t have a choice, it’s nice to have it. Bonus points when there is no seat in front.

6) Likewise that aisle seat so you don’t share the arm-rest and can lean away from the soap-dodger next to you / be first to the bog / know you can escape early if you had to / beat the exit crowd.

7)  If you can’t get the aisle seat, at least have someone short in front. Silent adult around 5ft is my preference.

8) Reserved seats. No, I mean it. I’d go to fringe theatres more often if I knew I didn’t have to turn up two hours early to queue to get the only decent viewing spot in the place.

9) Having that ticket for a “sold out” show, having gone online at ‘rope-drop’ to nab it, and being lucky enough not to have the IT fail you while booking it. Bit of a greedy one that, but you know what I mean…

10) Best until last, but regular theatregoers will recognise it: That “moment.” That perfect moment when cast and audience are in perfect tune and nothing else exists. Time melts away and the connection is only broken as the lights go out for the final time. It’s rarer than a Cumberbatch “Hamlet” ticket, but when it happens…


Theatre surprises, addictive, what more can I say.

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