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Blog: Oh What A Lovely Show

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Myself and The Cast In My Play were off to the THEATRE again this weekend, because we are dead sophisticated like that, also because we got some FREE TICKETS. As I may (perhaps?) have mentioned we've recently moved to THE OLYMPIC PARK, and a couple of weeks ago the company that runs it all emailed to ask if anybody would be able to do an interview about their experiences so far.

I am normally shy and retiring, obvs, but do like to help out where I can, so did the interview (which, coincidentally, has just gone online this morning) and thought no more of it. Imagine my DELIGHT then to get another email a week or so later offering us some FREE TICKETS to the premiere of Oh What A Lovely War at Stratford East, just round the corner. We said "Yes please!"

This is a revival of the original production, which was done there in 1963 - I mostly know this because we went to a GRATE talk a couple of years ago given by Murray Melvin. They also did a version of it when I was at school which, I was ALARMED to realise, was longer ago now than the time between our school's version and the original. SCARY.

So we arrived at the theatre to find it RAMMED with people. I thought it was going to be a bit GLITZY and had not only worn my Good Jacket but also my Best Shoes, and was, to be honest, a bit disappointed to find out it totally wasn't. I mean, I know it is a Good Thing when THE THEATRE is seen as a normal thing for normal people and I too have watched shows wearing trainers, but come on guys, is ONE dickie bow somewhere too much to ask for?

At least SOME people were being CLASSY i.e. us, because we not only had WINE before it started, but ordered interval drinks too! GET US! Actually this was a bit scary as I've never done it before, and got a bit worried about how I'd find them when it came time, but in the end I asked a Nice Man who pointed at them. PHEW.

Anyway, the show itself was pretty good, especially in the second half when it was Properly Moving. All the way through I kept thinking "WOW! this must have been INCREDIBLE in 1963!" because it's so packed with innovations and exciting new (in 1963) ways of doing things. Now all its innovations are used in commercial theatre e.g. "Jersey Boys" also used a bare stage, simple props, signage etc etc, but back then it must have been MIND BLOWING. However, this was also a bit of a problem, as it was such a faithful revival of the original (barring a Michael Gove joke near the start) that it struggled sometimes to be an actual thing in its own right. It all felt a bit distanced, and the parts where they interacted with the audience felt slightly unreal, as it they were recreating the original interactions, rather than drawing us into the experience.

Apart from that it was really well done, and a GRATE way to spend a Saturday night out. Two theatre visits in a row for us and I must say I'm rather enjoying it. I'd go again, and this time not worry so much about shoes!

posted 3/2/2014 by MJ Hibbett

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