In the Heights – 03/01/2016

In my defence, I never planned to see this show twice in one week. Also, technically, the shows were in different years, so the fact that I saw it twice in five days is cancelled out. Sort of.

In all honesty I had a bit of a nightmare after the first show – something along the lines of leaving my phone in a bar, running back to get it, missing my last train home in the process, and having to spend £70 on a taxi home before crawling in to bed at 3am, all before a 9am shift at work the next morning. It was NOT a great end to my night, and I didn’t want it to ruin the last time I saw the show. So I booked another ticket.

I first saw this show back in May 2014 (read my completely unbiased blog here) when it had a run at the Southwark Playhouse. I knew I wanted to see it again at some point, and the fact that Nathan Amzi would be reprising his role as “Piragua Guy” for two weeks only was an added incentive to get back to the Barrio.

The set was very different to the set-up at the Playhouse – In the Heights is currently sharing the King’s Cross Theatre with a production of The Railway Children (insert shameless plug of my blog of that show here) and so the stage is set out like a platform, with a thin strip of stage in the middle (the tracks) and tiered seating stretched out along either side of it (the platform). It was interesting to see how the set had been adapted for this unusual stage; structures stood like bookends at either end of the stage, and all of the action happened in the middle, with entrances and exits made through the functioning doors of the buildings.

I absolutely raved about Sam Mackay in my last Heights blog, so please forgive me for being a bit repetitive. This man is a magician. I have never seen anyone rap so confidently, so consistently and made it look so damn easy! I was struggling to even keep up with line after rapid line, but Sam never faltered.

There were a few changes to the cast since the last time I saw the show – Jade Ewen and Lily Frazer took on the roles of Nina and Vanessa, with Philippa Stefani stepping in as Daniela to cover a VERY pregnant Victoria Hamilton-Barritt. Each girl was an absolute powerhouse in their own way, with Philippa Stefani proving herself to be a very talented and hilarious character actress, really building the role of Daniela and making her a sassy, feisty Latina with a wicked tongue and a cheeky glint in her eye.

Of course I have to mention Nathan Amzi who was, as always, an absolute joy to watch. As versatile as ever, he danced around the stage with a huge, infectious smile on his face, never dropping a beat and producing some pretty impressive riffs in the process. It’s a shame he can’t stay in the show for longer as the role was practically made for him, but I’m very excited to see him in Aladdin in May!

But I digress – what I really love about this show is it brings to my attention things I never usually notice. The lighting is so powerful and so integral to the show that it takes your breath away – the strategic use of total darkness, with actors holding lights on the stage to illuminate their movements is just breathtaking. My favourite part is during a blackout the darkness is penetrated by “fireworks.” It really looked as though there were fireworks lighting the sky. It was magical, so a HUGE pat on the back to Hugh Hudson the lighting designer.

I also love the costumes in this show – almost everyone wears very form-fitting costumes that seem to weld to their skin, without looking cheap or unflattering. The costumes seem to move with the actors and enunciate their movement, making the choreography look fluid and flawless. Every single dance number was so tightly choreographed, so technically perfect and so full of energy it was very hard to keep still in my seat, so another huge well done to Gabriella Slade, costume designer, and the wonderful Drew McOnie for his stunning choreography.

I studied Spanish for over five years at school, from GCSE right through to A-Level, and what I love the most about this show is how true it is to the Latin culture. From the feisty, rapidly speaking women to the amalgamation of Spanish and English within a sentence, the attention to detail within this show both from the director (Luke Sheppard) and the flawless cast, and the passion with which they perform, are what really make In the Heights one of the best new musicals on the West End.






New Year, new page

After a discussion with my fellow writer and lovely friend Les, I decided to embrace the whole “new year, new page” concept – although I may have taken it a tad too literally!

I’ve decided, after much dithering and worrying, to start a new blog. Theatre was my first love and always will be a huge passion of mine, but travel is also very dear to my heart, and so I’ve started Travel Treatment – a sister blog to Theatre Therapy.

It’s a bit of a leap for me as I’ve grown very used to blogging about the theatre and it’s more than a little bit scary to be so far out of my genre, but I had to give it a go. I’ve been working in travel for the past four months now and it has quite literally changed my life. I am determined to travel the world and to see and experience as much as I can. I figured I might as well write about it while I’m out there.

My first travel blog is about Scotland, with New York and Paris to follow when I have the time to do both places justice. I will be continuing with Theatre Therapy (more consistently than in 2015!) and I am aiming for a post per month, but please don’t hold me to that as I said that last year and managed two posts in total!

Alison x


My 2015 in pictures

Following on from my 2013 in pictures and my 2014 in pictures, I thought I’d update my hideously neglected blog with my 2015 in pictures! Aside from a travel blog I wrote for work (that may make an appearance on a sister site I’m working on) I haven’t written a blog since February, so please forgive me if I’m a little rusty!

January – Not a great start!

I didn’t say all the photos were going to be positive! I started my 2015 with a VERY painful dislocated hip, pulled ligaments and soft tissue damage thanks to a walk around a lake, a rocky footpath and crappy joints. It wasn’t the best start to my year and took about four months of physiotherapy to heal, but it’s feeling strong now!

1. January.jpg

February – The Railway Children.

Still on crutches and almost permanently in a bad mood, I decided to stop sulking about my bad hip and get back to the theatre, crutches and all. Picking a theatre at the top of a cobbled hill wasn’t my best idea, but The Railway Children was absolutely magical (read my blog here) and really cheered me up, even if I was in floods of tears by the end of it!

2. February

March – The Den.

Whilst being sofa-bound with my hip I decided to be productive and plan my other half’s 20th birthday surprise. He is a massive fan of Millwall FC so I booked us two tickets for a stadium tour and managed to keep it a surprise until we got to the ground (God only knows how with my big mouth). He grinned like a five year old at Christmas the whole way round, and I actually found it quite interesting too. All in all, a very good day!

3. March.jpg

April – Michael Ball!

I’d been wanting to see Michael Ball on stage again ever since I saw him in Hairspray on the West End when I was 15. The tickets for his last concert sold out in minutes, but this time we managed to bag two, so myself and my Mum went to the Bridgewater Hall to see him – and he was incredible!

4. April.jpg

May – American Buffalo.

I LOVE John Goodman. Monsters Inc, King Ralph, The Emperor’s New Groove, the guy is a genius. He was absolutely incredible on stage (and Damien Lewis was a pleasant surprise too) and, surprise surprise, I fangirled my way through most of it. Once again I had no luck at the Wyndham’s stage door, but it was still a bloody brilliant night.

5. May.jpg

June – Lanzarote.

Finally, a holiday! My bad hip meant I had to leave my job in the kitchen (boo) so I was now working in a VERY posh Farm Shop in Keston (the cheese counter was bigger than my kitchen). It was so good to get away for a week and I even conquered my fear of open water by going into the sea – even if it was only up to my knees!

6. June

July – Start the Adventure.

After my lovely boss at the Farm Shop decided to cut my full time hours in half to give them to his son who was back from Uni for the summer, I decided to find a new job. I was at a bit of a crossroads and wanted more of a career than another cafe/kitchen job, and my Mum suggested I apply for an apprenticeship she had seen with STA Travel. A job where I can plan holidays for a living?! Sign me up!

I went for the job wholeheartedly and was convinced I wasn’t going to get it – I am very bad at interviews and I was so nervous I thought I was going to throw up, but I had to go for it, it was my dream job! I somehow made it through the interview and got a call back the very next day – I’d got the job! I cried. A lot.

7. July

August – work “training.”

Time to start my dream job! I had a day in-store to meet the team before heading up to Birmingham to start my training with 8 other apprentices. We spent 4 nights in a Premier Inn with free breakfast and evening meal, and 8 hours a day looking at maps and routes around the world and learning about all of the amazing countries that STA sends people to on a daily basis. This is work?!

8. August

September – I’m 21!

It’s my birthday! And I chose to spend it how any normal, grown up twenty one year old would – in Disneyland! We spent a whole week in Paris running around Disneyland, mostly in the pissing rain, going on all of the rides and buying way too many souvenirs. It was perfect.

9. September 2

9. September

October – New York, New York!

Oh. My. God. As if I’d not been spoiled enough in September, I was now off to Broadway! It has been my dream for years to see Aladdin on Broadway and I finally achieved that, along with a cheeky viewing of Misery by Stephen King with none other than BRUCE WILLIS in the starring role! All those years of finding the quickest route to the stage door finally paid off, as we were right at the front of the barriers when he came out. It was crazy!

10. October 3

10. October

November – Bonny Scotland.

I love my job. I was literally back from New York for less than 48 hours before I found myself on a plane back to Edinburgh for a three day trip around Scotland with 17 apprentices. It was the craziest, wettest and most hectic three days of my life, but it was incredible. We went to Fort William, Loch Ness, the Isle of Skye, Inverness and more. And the best part? Me and my crappy hip climbed down the side of a cliff to a waterfall!

11. November.jpg

December – A family Christmas.

I had the best Christmas this year. It started with a three-day stay at Center Parcs with my Mum, Auntie and Uncle. We cycled (my Uncle can do many, many things but ride a bike in a straight line is not one of them). We swam, we played Scrabble and Cards Against Humanity, we made mince pies, we ate SO MUCH food and, most importantly, we had a really brilliant time.

After Center Parcs my Mum and I had our Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve, opened our presents nice and early on Christmas Day and went to visit my grandparents before I headed home for my shift on Boxing Day. It was a great way to round off the year.

12. December.jpg

I hope you’ve all had an amazing 2015 – mine was a slow burner to start off with, but the last six months have been an absolute whirlwind!

I’m hoping to get back into blogging in 2016, both on here and a new travel blog that I’m working on, so watch this space for my very first post about my trip to Scotland very soon!

The Railway Children – 21/02/2015

First of all, please let me apologise for my shocking lack of posts recently. I’ve been somewhat incapacitated thanks to a dislocated hip I picked up over the New Year (I wish I could blame it on the drink but I was as sober as a judge!) This combined with the very strong pain medication I’m on has meant I’ve not been able to attend any shows recently, so this is my first show of 2015!

I wanted to see The Railway Children for two reasons. One; I absolutely adore the film (the 1970s version with Bernard Cribbins and Jenny Agutter) and two, as clichéd as it sounds, I am a railway child myself. I practically grew up on the East Lancashire Railway which runs from Bury to Rawtenstall in the North West – almost every Sunday my Grandad and I would ride the train to Rawtenstall and back, occasionally stopping for a cup of tea and a blueberry muffin at the Co-op on the way home. We also took many trips to the National Railway Museum in York, which is where the engine used in the play was loaned from, and I’ve even travelled on the Worth Valley Railway where The Railway Children was filmed. It’s safe to say I’m a bit of a geek in the steam train department!

My Auntie was my designated minder for the day (I use the word minder as I am still heavily reliant on a crutch to walk around, and people do have a tendency to ignore that fact completely and push me out of the way) and before the show we decided to visit the brand new Theatre Cafe on Shaftesbury Avenue. I won’t give away any details as I’m planning a more in-depth post after a few more visits, but I recommend that you go as soon as you can!

After a cup of tea and a scone (how British) we headed back to Kings Cross and found the theatre just behind the station, at the top of a huge gravelled hill (gravel and crutches don’t mix). We both remarked that it was a bit cold that afternoon, and we were a bit worried about freezing to our seats, as the theatre was essentially a huge tent built around an old siding in a goods yard. Once we’d collected our tickets and a lovely usher helped me down to the platform in a lift to avoid the stairs, we found that our fears were not only unjustified but just plain ridiculous.

Entering the “waiting room” was like stepping straight into E. Nesbit’s beautiful book. The entire area was furnished like a railway waiting room, with old fashioned suitcases dotted around and adverts from the era adorning the walls. As I looked around in awe I couldn’t help but notice I was the oldest “child” by around 15 years (it also slipped my mind that it was the half term so really, I didn’t think this through at all!) Seeing lots of young girls with their Grandads did give me a slight twinge as I lost my beloved Grandad four years ago, but it was also lovely to see them as happy as I used to be on my days at the railway. There was another issue – my Auntie hates kids!

As we took our seats I had a good look around the (toasty warm) auditorium. There were probably two children to every adult, all with flags and whistles from the shop in the waiting room. I must admit I was a bit wary, but every child was very well behaved throughout the show, which had just the right amount of crowd interaction and participation to keep even the youngest children engaged and entertained.

The railway children themselves, Bobbie, Peter and Phyllis, played by Serena Manteghi, Jack Hardwick and Louise Calf respectively, narrated the story as it progressed, as if they were now older and recounting the stories of their youth, with a little help from Jeremy Swift who played the lovely Mr Perks (my favourite character). The “stage” was a wooden platform either side of a railway line, with a very clever floating segment running on the rails so that the cast could be transported up and down the line as the story progressed. Of course everybody was excited to see the steam engine but they didn’t use it gratuitously, which was a relief. Whenever a “train” went past the children stood on the fence and waved, and clever sound effects combined with very convincing clouds of steam made it feel like a train really was running through the theatre. A personal highlight was when the children wave at the Old Gentleman (Moray Treadwell). The actor sat on a chair on the floating platform and literally steamed along, and it really did look like he was on a train. The children in the audience were absolutely enthralled!

I won’t even begin to try and track through the story of The Railway Children (mainly because I love it so much I can quote it verbatim) but the play was very true to the book and the film. It was particularly impressive how they portrayed the landslide that blocks the line – at one end of the stage was a bridge, used by the cast to get from one side of the platform to the other, and to facilitate the entrance and exit of the floating platform. This was then completely blocked by falling debris and panic ensued as Peter realised the 11.09 train had not yet passed through. As the children waved their flags made from red petticoats (one of my favourite moments in the film) a full-sized steam engine came gliding into the auditorium. The gasps from both adults and children were audible as the train stopped just in time and Bobbie fainted dead away on the line (full credit to Serena Manteghi for that – she was very convincing!)

There is only one problem with The Railway Children which unfortunately I did not remember until the interval – the ending makes me cry. Every. Single. Time. And here I was in a sold-out theatre full of children who clearly don’t get emotional at a mysterious figure emerging out of the fog. I was in serious trouble, especially as I knew that the quality of the acting on stage would mean that moment would feel very, very real.

I started the second act determined not to be emotionally involved as I was in the first, but that didn’t last very long thanks to the compelling story told so beautifully by the three children. As the play drew to a close and, even though I knew what would happen when Bobbie decided to go to the station alone, I could still feel the tears welling up. I was just about holding myself together until those three little words. “Daddy! My Daddy!” I was a mess.

It’s not many plays that can hold the attention of hundreds of small children for over two hours but The Railway Children did it with ease, creating pure magic on that stage and bringing to life a story that I have loved my entire life. I left the auditorium with a huge smile and tears still drying on my cheeks, and if that isn’t the mark of something truly special then I don’t know what is.




My 2014 in pictures

I really enjoyed putting together my 2013 in pictures and so I thought I’d post my 2014 in pictures – as always please feel free to leave a comment with your own memories of 2014!

January – Center Parcs

I started my 2014 in a beautiful villa in Sherwood Forest with my lovely Mum. We went swimming, she kicked my arse at Scrabble and fell off her bike in spectacular fashion. I remember feeling very peaceful and content during this trip, and it was a lovely start to the year.


February – My beautiful Grandma.

In February it was time to say goodbye to my wonderful, kind, inappropriate, hilarious, completely unique Grandma Margarette. She fell asleep with her family around her and never woke up, and I am confident that she was comfortable and unafraid. I am so lucky to have known this glorious woman for 19 years of my life and, even though I miss her every single day, I know that she is with me wherever I go. She’s definitely kicking arse up there!


March – Finding my first flat.

March was a bit of a whirlwind for me, but the highlight was definitely finding my beautiful flat! After a (very long) drive to Kent we signed the paperwork and the moving process began.


April – Tenerife.

It’s always nice to relax in the sun for a week!


May – Angela Lansbury live on stage

May was a very stagey month for me, with my Restricted West End project and four Scott Alan concerts in four days, but the highlight has to be seeing my childhood idol Angela Lansbury live on stage in Blithe Spirit. It was an absolute privilege to see such acting royalty in action and it is an experience I will not forget for a very long time to come.


June – Moving day!

After months of stress and preparation it was finally time to make the move to Kent. It was scary and emotional and I did have my moments when I thought I’d made a mistake, but I love my little flat and I’m so glad I had the guts to go through with my ridiculous plan to start again in a new county!


July – Finding a new job.

Step one – find a flat. Step two – find a job! I absolutely hate job interviews but luckily I only had to attend one and was offered the job on the spot! Working in a kitchen is ridiculously stressful and sometimes I wonder what the hell I’m doing with my life, but I have met so many genuinely lovely, kind, caring and bloody hilarious people in the five months I’ve been working there that I couldn’t imagine working anywhere else. A new uniform would be nice though.


August – University confirmation.

It was a bit of a relief to know that my big gamble was worth it!


September – University!

Move to a place I’ve never heard of before? Done. Find a job after two years of being unemployed? Done. Enroll on a university course despite not finishing my A Levels? Done! This was a huge day for me and a mark of how far I’ve come in the two years since leaving college. I felt very proud of myself that day!


October – Reconnecting with old friends.

I had three lovely days at home in October and was lucky enough to spend the majority of it with my high school/college friends. Some had drifted apart but we came back together in the end and it was great to see so many familiar faces all at once. And I had the biggest Sunday roast you’ve ever seen!


November – Old friends, new friends.

Back up to Manchester again, but this time I was taking my other half with me. The poor thing met my Dad, Nanna, Grandad, Step-Mum, five Great Aunts and two best friends all in the space of three days! Oh, and the family tortoise.


December – Christmas Day.

It’s no secret that I hate Christmas, but unfortunately my other half loves it and made it his mission to give me a proper family Christmas. We spent the day at his house with my Mum, his parents, his sisters, his Nan and the two dogs and do you know what? I loved every second.


Once again I have to apologise for my lack of posts recently, but as you can see 2014 has been pretty hectic! My New Year’s Resolution once again is to post at least once a month so watch this space and have a very happy New Year!!

20,000 views (edited)

I am so happy and proud to say that today Theatre Therapy reached 20, 000 views! I still can’t believe it and I want to say a huge HUGE thank you to everybody who has put up with endless blog-related spam, conversations, photographs and more, you have no idea how much I appreciate it. I put my heart and soul into this blog and to see that my posts have been read twenty thousand times just blows my mind.

[Edit: December 2014] I had planned a very exciting collaboration to celebrate this milestone however due to circumstances beyond my control this had to be removed.

Busy busy busy!

For the past month or so I’ve been very aware of the fact that I’ve been neglecting my blog, but there is a good reason – there’s only one of me!

Since my last update, “Times Are A-Changin” my life has changed beyond all recognition (again). I did make it down to Kent and I absolutely adore where I live now, and I have loved putting my own stamp on my very own flat. Unfortunately the job with PGL fell through due to a clause in my lease that states the flat cannot be left unattended for more than 8 consecutive weeks. This was a blessing in disguise, however, as I now have a job in a kitchen that I absolutely love, despite it being VERY stressful at times!

I’ve also officially enrolled as a student at the University of Greenwich, and have been studying in Dartford for just over a month now. My aim is to post a blog at least once a month whilst at University, and October’s post will be my second visit to see “The Perfect Murder.” I’ve been doing a lot of creative writing recently for various assignments and I have thought about posting them on here but a) they’re not theatre related and b) they’re not very good! If you’d like to read some of my original writing please let me know but I will try and stick to theatre posts for the time being.

I want to thank everyone who has continued to support my blog while I’ve been too busy to do so myself, and I will try my absolute best to continue posting as often as possible.

Alison x




Urinetown – 30/09/2014

*warning – this post contains spoilers, fake blood and public urination*

I’m still not entirely sure what the hell I watched at the Apollo Theatre, but I know that it was sheer genius. I’ve been aware of the director Jamie Lloyd for a while – he is renowned for creating dark, sinister and sometimes gruesome pieces – but I’d never actually seen one of his productions. I missed Urinetown when it was at the St James Theatre in March and, having heard nothing but praise for this bizarrely named musical, I was very excited to hear that it would be transferring to the West End.

The cast remained almost the same as at the St James, although sadly Richard Fleeshman would not be reprising his role as the hero Bobby Strong. There was one addition to the cast who I was fairly excited to see: Nathan Amzi would be taking over the role of Officer Barrel from Adam Pearce. Fairly excited? Try running around the house screaming and immediately booking two opening night tickets excited.

I had absolutely no idea what to expect from this show, all I knew was that it was based in the future, where water has become scarce and all toilets are owned by a mega-corporation “Urine Good Company” (isn’t that great?!) who charge you extortionate fees to pee. I met several people outside the theatre who I knew either from sight or from Twitter, and swore them to secrecy. I didn’t want any spoilers; I didn’t want to know anything! Believe me, that would come back to bite me on the arse later.

I didn’t realise how close my seat was to the stage – I was dead in the middle of the second row. The stage was quite high and the set was split into two levels, and was very dark and grungy which made the whole theatre seem quite sinister. The musical didn’t start with a big fanfare or even the rising of a curtain, just with Officer Lockstock (Jonathan Slinger) and Little Sally (Karis Jack) wandering onto the stage and going about their business.

Jonathan Slinger is probably one of the most talented actors I have ever had the privilege to witness on stage. Right from the get-go he established Officer Lockstock as a sleazy, creepy, slightly demented police officer who gave you chills. I squirmed in my seat as he leered at the audience from the stage and began to tell the story of Urinetown.

Soon we are introduced to Penelope Pennywise played by Jenna Russell. Miss Pennywise runs Public Amenity #9, assisted by Bobby Strong (Matthew Seadon-Young). The ensemble come together to perform “Too Much Exposition” and it is rare to find such a strong cast as this. Jeff Nicholson and Katie Bernstein particularly stood out, giving outrageously hysterical performances as oppressed members of the public.

Bobby’s father Old Man Strong (Cory English) cannot pay the admission fee and decides to pee in the street, which leads to the arrival of Officers Lockstock and Barrel (again, how brilliant is that?!) I’m a bit shady on the details from this point because I was too distracted by the fact that Nathan was on the stage in front of me for the first time in over four months. I picked up the story again as the two policemen took Old Man Strong down to “Urinetown” which is basically a euphemism for “we’re going to beat the crap out of you now.” It was so well done – the policemen were nowhere near the prisoners they had captured but as they swung their truncheons the prisoners fell, blood spewing from their mouths and flying all over the stage. This musical is definitely not for the faint hearted but I thought it was bloody fantastic. No pun intended.

If there’s one thing that lets this musical down it’s the love story between Bobby Strong and the heiress of Urine Good Company, Hope Cladwell (Rosanna Hyland). To me it felt like their union was shoehorned in, because all good musicals have a love story, and it was a bit clunky at times. Rosanna Hyland was fantastic, although a little inconsistent. I loved Hope’s trilling, high-pitched voice but unfortunately Rosanna didn’t maintain this all the way through. I do think, however, that she would make a cracking Glinda in Wicked in a few years time.

I wasn’t overly impressed with Matthew Seadon-Young as Bobby either. He did have his moments – a particularly impressive riff in the second act comes to mind – but his voice was a little weak, especially against the flawless ensemble. I felt at times he needed to command the stage a bit more to prevent himself getting lost in the busy background action.

There was one moment in the musical that I did not like one little bit (this is the part that contains spoilers). Officer Lockstock and Officer Barrel are patrolling the sewers when Officer Barrel declares his love to Officer Lockstock (sound familiar? At one point I thought they were going to whip out the Fogmaster 5000 and sing an 80’s love song.) I thought this was a really sweet moment and was quite happily watching Officer Barrel declare “that went well” when someone snuck up behind him, slit his throat and sprayed his blood all over the stage. I screamed. Did they just kill Nathan?! I told you that “no spoilers” bullshit would come back to bite me. I would like to point something out at this point – telling me that somebody kills Nathan is not a spoiler, it’s a health warning. I honestly believe my heart stopped when it happened, and I was sat incredulously staring at the stage in utter shock and disbelief for the remainder of the show.

That little hiccup (total mental breakdown) aside, I absolutely adored the show. It was incredibly surreal and messy and weird, but it was also hysterically funny and so ridiculously tongue in cheek you couldn’t help but love it. (Towards the end Officer Lockstock claims he knew he’d survive because he’s the narrator).

The absolutely sensational cast received a well-deserved standing ovation at the end and again I have to mention Jonathan Slinger because I can’t get over how bloody brilliant he was. Creepy as hell, but brilliant.

I didn’t really have time to visit the stage door before my train home, but I had to check that Nathan was in fact still alive. When he came out looking fresh as a daisy I told him that I’d actually screamed when it happened, and he said “I know, I heard you.” That’s mildly embarrassing. After lots of big squishy hugs (I missed those!) and a quick photo I really did have to run. For the entire train journey home I was trying to figure out what the hell I’d just watched, but then I decided to stop analysing it and just accept that it was weird, it was sinister, it was vulgar, but my God it was good.







Skylight – 20/08/2014

I really don’t know where to start. First of all, I booked this show to see Bill Nighy. I didn’t know anything about the play or the playwright; I just knew that if Bill Nighy was going to be on a West End stage then that’s where I needed to be. The tickets weren’t cheap and I’d love to say it was worth it but it really wasn’t.

I’d spent most of the day in various states of panic – everyone who had been to see the play had said the same thing: Bill Nighy is an absolute gent at the stage door. He was generous with his time and posed for photographs for up to an hour each night. Now I just had to comprehend the fact that I would be meeting the man whose films I had adored for almost eight years. Ha!

The play itself was… awful. There’s no other way to describe it. It has been suggested that maybe I didn’t understand the play and that’s why I didn’t enjoy it, and I find that extremely offensive. I understood it perfectly, I just didn’t like it. I didn’t connect with it on any level and the only thing holding it together was Bill Nighy’s exceptional talent.

The plot was that a young woman, Kyra, (Carey Mulligan) had had a six year affair with an older, married man named Tom (Bill Nighy) whilst living in his family home with his wife and son. When Tom’s wife found out, Kyra disappeared. Shortly after, Tom’s wife died of cancer and a year later he tracks Kyra down. Not exactly earth-shattering but enough to keep the audience engaged, if it were not for the fact that Bill Nighy and Carey Mulligan had absolutely zero chemistry. It wasn’t even believable that they’d met before let alone been madly in love for six years. The only thing holding the play together was Bill Nighy – with his charm and grace it was easy to believe that a younger woman could have fallen for him (I certainly did!)

Carey Mulligan, on the other hand, was absolutely dire. She was so preoccupied with ensuring her diction was perfect and her voice carried that she forgot to inject any kind of personality into her character, and created a role so instantly dislikeable that the entire plot was ridiculed. Even her character’s appearance was infuriating – an incredibly baggy jumper she didn’t stop messing with for the entire play and a chin-length hair cut that she was constantly pushing behind her ears, only to have it fall directly back into her face. It was so frustrating!

Despite my grievances I sat quietly in my seat and basically watched Bill Nighy for two hours, wishing he was onstage when he wasn’t because that was the only time the play had any kind of life. He generated laughs from a fairly mundane script and even from a single look at times – he is a very talented actor and it was a privilege to watch him in action.

After the play had dragged to a close I clapped politely and then headed to the stage door. I was so intent on getting there that I didn’t utter two words to my Mum, but when we arrived we took one look at eachother and burst out laughing. What the hell had we just put ourselves through?! At least I was safe in the knowledge that it was over, and now I’d get to meet Bill Nighy as so many others had done before me. Ten minutes passed. Twenty. Thirty. By fifty minutes the crowd were starting to get a bit edgy, but I wasn’t worried. He always came out, everybody said so. I’d seen the pictures myself! Then a lovely man named Stephen from the Wyndham’s Theatre came out of the stage door. “Unfortunately Mr. Nighy and Ms. Mulligan have exited the theatre via the front door and will not be coming to the stage door tonight.”

I’m not going to lie, I felt like somebody had slapped me. To my acute embarrassment I felt my bottom lip begin to quiver and, without a word to anyone, I ran away from the crowd as quickly as possible before bursting into tears just around the corner from the theatre. I know I shouldn’t have got my hopes up and he’s only human and needed to rest etc etc, but what am I, a duck? I had to be in work for 6am the next day, I’d paid well over £100 to attend a show I didn’t even like and at the end of it? Nothing. Oh, and my make-up was ruined. All in all, a bitterly disappointing night.

Oh, and if you’ve seen Skylight and loved it and got to meet Bill Nighy and everything was wonderful – I don’t need to know. That’s like saying to someone “aww, your kitten died? I love playing with mine we have so much fun!”




Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 750 other followers

%d bloggers like this: