This Thursday at The Pink Heart Society, columnist Kate Walker talks about one of her favourite things to do when she takes time out from the keyboard: Attending the Theatre.
Some regular readers may remember that last year the Babe Magnet and I celebrated a rather special anniversary. It was our Ruby Wedding (I was a child bride, really I was! A babe in arms.) Anyway, to mark the years we had been together, we decided not to have just one big party, but to do 40 lovely things, one for each year of our marriage.
It turned out to be one of the best things we've ever done - we've had so much fun doing things that ranged from the small - visiting a village we’d never seen – to the larger –catching up with old friends who now live in Spain – or Australia . . . but for me (well, for both of us) the highlight has been the wonderful theatre treats we've had.
We've both always loved the theatre, but you know how it is, life, family, work, time just gets in the way sometimes and we've not seen as many live plays as we’d wanted. This last year has changed that. We've reminded ourselves of just why we love the theatre so much, how wonderful it is to try out new plays, new venues, new productions, as well as going with the tried and tested – going back to see again the favourites we've always loved.
So we managed to get seats of Othello at the National Theatre – Rory Kinnear and Adrian Lester. And we followed that the next night with Private Lives starring Toby Stephens and Anna Chancellor (surely being seated only 4 rows from one of my favourite actors and my favourite Mr Rochester in Jane Eyre counts as serious research?) Other plays? Ibsen’s Ghosts, Richard III in York. There were musicals too - the wonderful revival of West Side Story (this had a special significance as all those years ago, we’d decided on our wedding day after a trip to see the original film) Cabaret (I thought the film was good – but Will Young was just stunning,. . .
We tried some different things – some that worked really well, others...well...I was even persuaded to try opera. The Magic Flute was great for that night, it was a fantastic production, but I can’t say I’ll rush to see it again. We collected several Gilbert and Sullivan performances in a festival in Harrogate – some great, some...not so great.
There was a performance of One Man, Two Guvnors which was extra fun when the leading character complained he was hungry and asked if
anyone had a sandwich. A member of the audience threw one on stage for him which resulted in a ten minute diversion while he ad-libbed his response.
Of course, not every one of our 40 things has been a trip to the theatre, but plenty have. The best thing this plan did for us was to remind us how much we love getting out to the theatre and as a result, it’s been something we've continued even after the big anniversary year was over. So last week’s visit to London for AMBA was the perfect excuse.
The new cast of Les Miserables was fabulous – one 14 year old boy called Beau Cripps in particular.
And then there was The Curious Incident of the Dog In The Night Time. I’d read the book and I didn't quite know how they could stage it – I just know I wasn't expecting the stunning production, amazing special effects , brilliant performances...
I want to go again!
And we've not finished yet – there’s The Woman in Black , Barnum, and the local theatres have just sent me their autumn programmes so I can start planning all over again. Maybe we’ll reach 40 separate theatre productions by the time the next anniversary comes around . . . but, no, I don’t think I’ll be booking any more opera!
So, when I was planning a post for Time Out Thursday, I could have talked about my embroidery, or the garden, or reading – we all read lots don’t we? But really what I thought of immediately were the wonderful nights I’ve spent watching such amazing productions – and the fun we've had planning trips to see them.
What about you? Have you been to see any great shows lately? Can you remember your first trip to the theatre and what you went to see? Are you more of a film fan? As always, let us know in the comments!
Kate Walker's next title for |Harlequin Presents will be Olivero's Outrageous Proposal out in March 2015. Meanwhile A Question of Honour/Honor! is still available. And the new edition of the 12 Point Guide To Writing Romance is now on Kindle at less than half the price of the previous paperback edition!