Dear Uncle Henry, I have seen that the Perfect Gentleman has been writing a number of Theatre reviews recently and I have never been to the theatre and I am a little daunted. My girlfriend wants to go. So, Henry please help.
Yours, Theatre Newbie
Dear Theatre Newbie,
Ah, the Theatre, to tread the boards, the smell of greasepaint and the thrill of live performance. The Theatre is a great experience for anyone. I have been to many fantastic plays and even performed a few times myself on stage, but those are best left for tales over a few glasses of Port.
Yes, we have done a few reviews, as the Gentleman is about being an all rounded individual and culture is part of that education. I am glad we have inspired you to try, though it sounds as if your good lady is also partially driving this interest.
Theatre is a fantastic experience, you feel the energy of the actors as they deliver their performance. They are right there in front of you and you can not only see the passion but also feel it. If you ask any great actor they will say there is nothing like acting on stage, the rush from the audience is worth it every time.
Think about it this way before Television and Film, the only shared experience entertainment were Theatre and Concerts (and those were what we would consider now classical music) so this was the entertainment that everyone would go to. As the Theatre developed it became more sophisticated and more diverse.
When Films can, the Theatre initially struggled with its young upstart challenger for the people’s attention but it adapted and competed and still does to this day. The Theatre land in London is exceptionally strong as it is in New York with Broadway, in these two places you will see great plays with world famous actors in the roles. Though I would also not neglect Regional Theatre and even Amatuer performances, if you search for it there is theatre everywhere.
Originally, most actors started on Stage and then went to other mediums, now that is not the case and there are few actors
Now coming back to your question, I do ramble, I would recommend going to see something easy and perhaps even something you are familiar with, perhaps a comedy with an actor you know or indeed a Musical. If you are in London there are a number of big musicals on at any one time and some that have run for years, such as The Lion King. If it is proper Theatre, then go see a classic comedy, I would highly recommend ‘One Man, Two Guvnors’ a great play. As you didn’t tell me where you are I can’t actually recommend anything else.
If you are in Great Britain, come to London to get the historical experience go to the fantastic Globe Theatre in London, which holds the most fantastic Shakespearean plays in the traditionally built theatre. For my money a truly magical experience and don’t be daunted by the language, you will understand more than you thought you would.
Gone are the days that you dressed for the theatre, mores the pity, but I would suggest a smart jacket and good shoes too. Remember to turn off that dreaded Mobile Telephone before the performance starts. Sit still through the performance and don’t eat anything, it could disturb the Actors as well as your fellow audience members. The same is true of talking. Feel free to laugh and gasp at the performance, reserve your applause till the end of each act. You’ll know when that is as the current will come down. When the play has finished, the cast will come onto stage to your resounding applause, they will bow and file off. If the Applause is great, they will take another bow. If you are truly awed by the performance, you may stand and clap, and even shout Bravo!
May I wish you a great experience! Do drop me a line to let me know how it goes.
Now I am off to book a seat at a show, I have been inspired.
If you have a question for Uncle Henry email firstname.lastname@example.org or #askhenry on Twitter @ThePgentlemen