I have always loved theatre, I attend a drama school for crying out loud- that’s taken as a given. I first came to London’s west end at the tender age of 7, and the sheer scale of the production (Hairspray) had me hooked like an alcoholic. I saw Wicked the year after that and then Mamma Mia, Grease, Singing in the Rain, Lion King, Chicago, Blood Brothers… Each on satisfying and drawing me in deeper into this theatre obsession. I took part in plays, and musicals with the local ‘am-drams’ and used drama at school to satisfy my cravings for song, dance, costumes and set.
Since moving to London I have seen several lower budget productions at a tenner or less, ‘Merchant of Vembley’ (The Cockpit), ‘Germ-Free adolescence.’ (at CSSD) and ‘Trainspotting’ (King’s Head) to name a few. They have made me think, and drawn me in with two or three pieces of set, no more than 6 or 7 actors and basic costume that didn’t take my breath away- but it didn’t matter. I felt more enriched and enthused walking out of the theatre (or studio) than I had for a long time- like an addict needing harder or larger quantities I find I need theatre that provokes me, and makes me think rather than simply entertaining, or presenting me with a simple story and a happy ending. Upon leaving Wicked for the second time I still sang the songs and discussed the actors and actresses, the sound and way the audience reacted, just as I usually do when leaving a show now. But it didn’t make my chest swell with excitement and inspiration like it had the first time- yes it gave me goosebumps but I missed the kick, the will to go back- the spark. It was at that moment I realised that maybe I have fallen out of love with the West End- maybe this is the end of my childhood, maybe it’s a growing up thing- but I’ll let you know if that’s true in a few years time.