Happy tenth anniversary

It came as something of a surprise to me recently to realise that I was nearly at the tenth anniversary of my first blog post, my notes on the RSC’s Complete Works Othello. Since that relatively brief first post, I have written notes on as many productions as I could, and given that Steve and I have been prolific, not to say greedy, in our theatre attendances, I’ve probably written the equivalent of a few novels in the ten years since I began.

As well as improving my writing skills somewhat, I’ve found that doing this blog has helped me not only to remember more productions in more detail, but to learn more from the variety of acting and directing styles we’ve encountered, and, occasionally, had to endure. The sheer richness of British theatre is one of the strongest impressions I’ve garnered over this period, and I find that that awareness underpins my enjoyment of everything we see nowadays, even those productions we don’t care for at all.

My writing has taken a back seat in the last couple of years, but I’ve been able to get back to it recently, and with several drafts waiting for my proof reader to get over a heavy cold, I plan to be hitting that Publish button several times in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, here’s some statistics for the first ten years:

Number of plays seen: 1169 (that’s both me and Steve together – Steve has seen some additional ones on his own. There have also been some rehearsed readings and one NT live cinema screening.)

Number of blog posts: 791 (so only another 378 catch-ups to do!)

Average rating is just a whisker over 7/10 (7.0143, to be more specific – we do like our theatre)

And, in case you couldn’t guess, our most-watched playwright is…Shakespeare! (287 performances, although some of them bore only a tenuous connection to the great man’s work)

So that’s it for now: a mini celebration amongst the hard grind of poring over a text and trying to match my memories to the almost unintelligible scrawl in my notebooks. Hope you’ve enjoyed some of the output – I’ve certainly enjoyed most of this ten years’ worth of play-attending, and I’m looking forward to another, equally enjoyable ten (and more) to come.

© 2016 Sheila Evans at ilovetheatre.me

All’s Well That Ends Well – April 2016

Experience: 10/10

By William Shakespeare, adapted by Dominic Power

Directed by Andrew Hilton

Company: STF and TFT

Venue: Tobacco Factory

Date: Wednesday 13th April 2016

Tonight we sat directly opposite our previous seats, which not only gave us a great view of tonight’s performance, but also a completely different perspective. The cast had made good use of the extra practice, and all the performances had developed nicely; although there were still a few fluffs, nothing detracted from the marvellous energy and pace with which they drove this story along, and there were some lovely extra details here and there. Sadly, the house was not full, so clearly word has not yet got out about how wonderful this production is. I’m tempted to ask my maestro of the scheduling (aka Steve) to see if we can squeeze in another viewing during the tour, but one look at my diary – we have a LOT coming up – suggests that won’t be possible. Catch it if you can.

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King Lear – April 2016

Experience: 9/10

Written by William Shakespeare

Directed by Max Webster

Produced by The Royal and Derngate in association with ATG

Venue: The Royal, Northampton

Date: Tuesday 12th April 2016

We’ll go a long way for a good Shakespeare production, and we were more than eager to see Michael Pennington give us his King Lear. We weren’t disappointed: although some aspects of the production could have been stronger, there was no mistaking the majestic central performance, and with his skill in delivering the lines, there was also no need for any gimmicks to support the performances. Shakespeare neat, on the rocks: just how we like it.

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