Ten days of theatrics

I never go to the theatre. Well, rarely anyway. So I was surprised as anyone when I found myself with tickets for three shows in ten days.

This was clearly a good opportunity to become more cultured. The first show was at the beginning of the month, a production of ‘The King and I’ by the Accrington Theatre group. My good friend @missginacole was taking the lead as ‘I’, and I was looking forward to seeing her be Mrs Anna, especially seen as I had no idea what it was about or what to expect apart from she didn’t really like her wig. So a bunch of us from work set off, late in our case, which involved some interesting high speed manoeuvres on the Accy bypass, but luckily everyone arriving on time (with the help of some fluke parallel parking).

Given that I haven’t seen many musicals, and that I’ve been watching nothing but Breaking Bad and Mad Men this year, it certainly made a pleasant change to my usual viewing. And it was a great show! Some fantastic performances, obviously my favourite was Mrs Anna, but both the King and the Prince played their part in making it memorable.

As I can neither dance or sing, it always impresses me when someone can do one of these things. So I’m more than in awe when they can do them both at the same time, learn two hours worth of lines, deliver them with an accent, and whilst wearing an enormous dress. I was very proud. I really enjoyed the story too, the humour that ran throughout, and especially I like that I now know where ‘etc, etc, etc…’ comes from.

And at just £1.20 for an interval ice cream, it was a night well spent.

This was followed by tickets for Maxine Peake in ‘The Masque of Anarchy’, part of Manchester International Festival this weekend, courtesy of @nicolahrigby. When I looked it up online I did worry a little that it was going to go over my head, given that it was based on a shocking event in Manchester’s past that I’d never heard of. My historical knowledge is terrible, despite Ursy’s best attempts at uni to teach me what had gone in the world to date.

The performance didn’t start until ten, and we’d had a couple of ‘fake lagers’ in Brew Dog, but when we got to the theatre and sat down in our balcony seats we were pretty instantly caught up in the atmosphere. Again, I didn’t know much about what was going to unfold, so when Maxine came onto stage solo, and stayed there for 30 minutes reciting 91 verses of political prose, I was somewhat blown away again by the ability to memorise so many lines. Set to a backdrop of candles in a listed chapel that has been restored as a venue, it was pretty powerful. We left singing her praises, and went straight to a bar in a much less cultured fashion.

The culture fest was rounded off yesterday, with ‘Showstoppers’ at Burnley Mechanics. There’s nothing that can beat three and a half hours in a theatre waiting to see your 3 year old niece play a mountain goat in ‘The Sound of Music’. Paul from works’ daughter took the lead in ‘Phantom of the Opera’, the first section of the show, and knocked everyone out who was there expecting to see toddlers dancing, with beautiful singing that would rival any adults.

When they announced that our section was next me and Charlotte were far too excited, and when Scarlett eventually stomped onto stage in her little brown tunic and goat ears, we regrettably burst into tears. Oh well. This would have been embarrassing enough, but then when the entire cast came on stage for the finale and I nearly jumped out of my seat cheering for the mountain goat, and it wasn’t in fact my niece, well this took the biscuit. I clearly shouldn’t be allowed out. I can only apologise to that child’s parents who must have found this quite alarming. I think as well as Scarlett stomping round in a circle to ‘The lonely goat herd’, her stage highlight was definitely when she saw us all and started waving, sticking her tongue out, and eating her costume. She also looked like she was having a standoff with a white tunic-ed mountain goat at one point. All in all, she was very impressive.

If that’s an aunties reaction I dread to think how the parents in the room were coping. One Dad did launch himself out of his seat at one point, but the bar was open…

I suspect this weekends entertainment may revolve a little more round food and drink than performing arts, but I’ll certainly be making sure I get tickets for the next time Gina does Sound of Music, after all, I know all the songs now…

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