I’m a musical theatre major in London. As you may have guessed, I’ve been seeing lots of theatre. My original plan was to dedicate a blog post for each show, but that’s not going to happen because I’m behind by 4 and I’m seeing another one tomorrow, so here it goes. 4 in 1!
Matilda was the show chosen for the entire study centre to see (all majors included). Wow, what a spectacle of a show! As you can tell from the pre-show picture, the set was imaginative and fun. I was in the third row, so it was a treat to see everything close enough to see how some of the tricks operate.
One of the most surprising aspects of the show is Ms. Trunchbull is played by a man! While this was amusing at times, I couldn’t help but be slightly annoyed at a female role being taken away from a female actor. I mean, come on! My professor said that British theatre tends to do that more often with comedic characters, so at least there’s some explanation. Still, the other main adult female character is Miss Honey who is, as she admits, pathetic.
The highlight of the performance, for me, was “When I Grow Up.” The child actors were so adorable and invested, and it was so obvious to see how much fun they were having together and with the audience. They sang as they were swinging on swings that came down from the fly loft! Then, older “kids” joined them later in the song. Mostly this was the highlight for me because it made me nostalgic of #MT16’s freshman showcase. Love you all!
Here’s us as infants: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KT8COAIcWmE
The performance concluded with a curtain call of actors on push scooters. Adorable.
Going about as opposite as you can from Matilda, the whole group transformed into groundlings for the performance of King John at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. Admittedly, after reading the synopsis of King John, I was looking forward to the experience of The Globe, but not for the actual show. Shame on me for doubting Shakespeare!
It was surprisingly easy to follow, and the somewhat dry plot was enhanced with a lot of music, both vocal and instrumental. The actors engaged with the audience, particularly the one who played The Bastard. My friend even had her hand kissed by him! Once again, I managed to make it to the second row (I know, I keep lucking out with my seat/standing location)!
Highlight of this experience: the cardinal was played by the actor who plays Geoffrey the Butler in Fresh Prince of Bel-Air! At first I thought I must’ve been imagining the resemblance, but the people around me had the same thought and confirmed the suspicion via Google. He was refined, as ever, though not in his traditional butler uniform 😉
Peter Pan at Regent’s Park was the first piece of theatre on the itinerary for my Intro to Theatre in London class. I was looking forward to seeing something in an outdoor theatre, and appreciated the sentimentality of seeing Peter Pan in the very city that J.M. Barrie conceived the idea. However, with so much theatre out there to see, I was slightly disappointed in seeing a show I already know so well.
Or so I thought.
As you can tell from the photo, there are not the usual three beds in the nursery. In fact, it’s not a nursery at all. It is the medical site at a British station in WWI. The show opens with injured soldiers being cared for by nurses. One begins to read the story of Peter Pan – she transforms into Wendy. From there, the basic story we all know was told, but always with the awareness of the parallel to the soldiers who are lost boys themselves. The connecting feature was a mother, not necessarily Mrs. Darling, who would walk through during transitions, singing songs of love. She represented all mothers waiting for their lost children.
All of the set and props were wartime objects – Tinkerbell was a lamp puppet, maneuvered by an expressive puppeteer; mermaids were made of gas masks and metal and swam around fish made of pajama pants. Perhaps the most impressive feature was the crocodile. Captain Hook hears the approaching tick, but no one knows where it’s coming from. Suddenly soldiers set down two lanterns and four miniature ladders, which seemed random until the floorboard lifted up to reveal the crocodile’s mouth! Hook then was eaten, as there was an escape through the mouth of the crocodile.
We all left holding back tears (or maybe shedding a few) as the story ended with the soldiers who played the lost boys telling of their lives after the war. Besides The Curious Incident, this is my favorite performance in London so far because it was so fresh and imaginative, yet incredibly thought-provoking. As the Brits say, it was brilliant!
I took myself on a date to see John Goodman in American Buffalo –– GO BEARS! The entire run of this production was completely sold out, but I managed to get a standing room only ticket. I survived a three-hour Shakespeare show, so I figured I’d be fine, but I think my shoe choice was not as smart this time. There were, in fact, plenty of empty seats, but I was instructed to not sit at all, so I was my typical rule-following self. Sigh…..
Anyway, I wanted to meet John Goodman after the show, but after waiting a bit, we were informed by the stage door guard that he had left the building. So, I went back today in hopes of catching him after the matinee performance, but it turns out there wasn’t even a performance today. I’ll just hold onto my program for the next couple of weeks in case I happen to be by the theatre on a good night 🙂
Tomorrow we are seeing The Audience! Cheers for now 🙂