Oh boy, April was a busy theatre month, partially helped by the fact I’d bought my parents tickets to separate shows that both happened to fall in April, partially because I had a week off and made the most of a free week, and partially because I had some very generous press offers this month. But what exactly did I get up to?
On the 4th of April I had a stagey day, going to see a musical I’d wanted to see for a couple of years and the West End debut of an Olivier Award winner’s new show. I mentioned in my Kinky Boots post that I had been eager to see it for years and was left mildly disappointed, so it wasn’t the best kick off to April’s month of stage shows. However, I was blown away by James Graham’s Quiz. I don’t often gravitate towards poltical comedies, but there was something about this that drew me in and I loved it.
On the 7th of April, my mum and I had a London day together. We picked up rush tickets to 42nd Street through Today Tix for the matinee as a very last minute decision for both of our benefit. Mum was eager to see the show, and I was so excited to see Ashley Day in the role of Billy Lawlor after seeing him twice in The Book Of Mormon and falling in love. Yes, I paid £25 to see a show I wasn’t in love with just to catch him in a dance-heavy role and I have no regrets. In the evening we saw Strictly Ballroom The Musical which was one of her Christmas presents from me, which was okay but wasn’t what I was expecting at all. You’ll have to read my full review to find out why!
The second week of April was even more stagey, with three theatre trips, a day working in The Theatre Cafe and an incredible concert featuring the beautiful work of Jason Robert Brown. A very last minute trip to London took place on the 10th of April thanks to London Box Office, where I got to see the spectacle that was Tina The Musical, based on the life of Tina Turner herself. I really enjoyed this, and it was definitely one of my favourite productions of the year. On the 11th of April I headed back into London during an unexpected day off work. I spent most of the day tapping away creating most of the posts you’ll have read in the past week or two in The Theatre Cafe (probably the most stagey place in London), then met Amy to go to Jason Robert Brown’s concert at the London Palladium. After JRB’s concert on the Wednesday, I popped to an AmDram production locally of The Importance Of Being Earnest. I actually really enjoyed this, although with the amateur status of the performers I found that a lot of the required comedic timing was off. I’d definitely consider seeing a professional production of this in the future though as I did thoroughly enjoy it.
For my dad’s birthday, I treated him to a ticket to see Julius Caesar at the Bridge Theatre. We went on the 15th of April (closing night of all nights), and it was the most innovative pieces of Shakespeare I’ve ever seen. The Bridge Theatre is a wonderful space which I will be talking a little more about in the coming weeks, but this was another brilliant production. We stood in the pit, and we were constantly moving to watch the actors at different angles. However, I desperately needed to wash my face when I left because as brilliant as Ben Whishaw and David Morrissey were, I didn’t feel like I needed to be covered in their spit for the rest of the day.
I love Today Tix (although I love them a little less now they’ve got rid of their referral program) because they finally gave me the drive to see The Grinning Man on the 21st of April. A couple of weeks ago, they offered top price seats for £15 and that was all the incentive that I needed. I’ve written a full review, but if you’ve got the chance before it closes on Saturday and you haven’t been yet, I urge you to take the trip. It was bloody marvellous. And on the same day – because what’s a Saturday London trip without making it a two show day – I got the chance to see Hamilton. Of course I have a full review in the wings, but all I can say for now is wow. I didn’t initially have a ticket booked for Hamilton until July, but after browsing Ticketmaster for returns, two appeared and I snapped them up. This was the last show I saw in April that I actually paid for myself, and now I’m on a bit of a stricter limit with my theatre spends because I couldn’t really afford to see Hamilton after such a theatre heavy month; it was just too hard to let them go. And it was worth every penny.
The next three shows ran in succession: The Play That Goes Wrong, Blood Brothers and Young Frankenstein, on the 23rd, 24th and 25th of April respectively. The first two I have both seen before and already reviews, so you can check out my posts if you want to know what I’ve got to say, but you’ll have to wait for a few days to find out what I thought about Young Frankenstein. What I will say is that it was a show I was eager to see because I’ve loved Hadley Fraser since I was 17 but never been able to see him in anything, and Young Frankenstein was a great chance for me to do this. And he was superb.
The final show I saw in April, after a couple of days rest, was Spring Awakening. Spring Awakening is a show I’ve wanted to watch for about 10 years. First it featured in the first season of 90210 (which I was obsessed with), and then I fell in love with Glee. Both Lea Michele and Jon Groff were in the original Broadway cast of Spring Awakening as well as being in Glee, and that meant I loved it even more. So this month I took a trip to the Hope Mill Theatre in Manchester for the chance to see a production of a show I’ve loved for about a decade (under the pretence that I was visiting Jack – I wasn’t, I went to see the Hope Mill Theatre and to see the show, and he just gave me free accommodation for the weekend).
May is currently looking a little lighter in terms of theatre trips, with no shows scheduled in that I’ve actually booked myself. Just a concert and a couple of press shows so far, so I’ll have a much more relaxing month. Watching theatre may be fun and games, but it’s hard work when you’re alert the whole time for review purposes. Maybe I’ll actually keep on top of my theatre reviews next month!