#Article By Lou Celebrating Theatre #Celebrating #Theatre 🎭 #SupportTheArts #ActorsLife #SupportingTheatres #ActingCommunity #TheatreCommunity #TheatreLover

Celebrating Theatre 🎭 

Supporting Theatres

As part of my blog going to turn 5 years old in September 2023, I have been celebrating individual authors and actors, but also as part of this, I would like to share an article I’ve written about theatres in general, what is so great about them, their magic and why they are worth saving and attending when we possibly can. I have included at the end, links to plays and musicals I have attended since writing the blog (please note I bought tickets myself and chose to review). I have also included an interview I conducted with an actor. I have also included a list of many theatre plays and musicals I recommend, many also prior to my blog.

Just a small selection of theatre programmes from over the years 

“All The World’s A Stage”  William Shakespeare – As You Like It

It has a long history (but here is a little glimpse of it in brief before moving onto modern day theatre). It can be traced back as far as at least the Greeks in 6th century BC and it spread. In the UK it was, in the earlier centuries, an art form that captured the attention of the churches, so what was shown was quite religious, before evolving to being what was more secular, into what we see today. The Romans also had theatre forms and would use it to great effect. Theatre has survived through many battles, including World Wars. As war happened all around them, scripts were written, songs were composed, dances were choreographed, actors acted and sang and danced as they pulled together to bravely shine a light in the darkest of dark days. Today, we also live through many challenging times, whether personally or more universal troubles and even though theatres had to close, like everywhere at the height of the Covid 19 pandemic, actors, script writers, composers, directors returned in all sorts of inventive ways so, we, the public, amazingly, could still have theatre and now they are back in theatres, in person.  Theatre and all who tread the boards within them are there, making life better and richer and creating special moments and everlasting memories.

Theatre today, and back from when it started has plays, musicals, comedians, ballet, modern dance, opera, music (including in days gone by, music hall). As much as I have seen all of these (apart from opera). I am focusing on plays and musicals on the whole and will touch on the others later. Plays and Musicals have Drama, Tragedy, Comedy, Romance, Satire, Crime Fiction, Horror, Sci-Fi, Biopics (and more). They range from pantomime (for my worldwide followers, this has roots in ‘Commedia dell’Arte’ and evolved from there to the wildly fun costumes and the telling of fairytales with some modern lines added here and there and big dollop of wit and audience participation), to comedies to contemporary, to biopics about people you may have heard of and want to increase knowledge about, and more… Each of them will make you feel every possible emotion. The anticipation before curtain up, a line, a look from the actors, the theatre envelopes you from beginning to end and each actor, whoever they are embodying that day, captures your attention and imagination from beginning to end and makes you feel and see everything. It is an experience like no other!

Theatre is for everyone and I think can confidently say that there truly is something for everyone, whatever your gender, background etc is. It doesn’t matter whether you go as a family, or with friends or alone. Theatre has something everyone can relate to, learn from, have questions answered and questions provoked and curiosity piqued. 

Theatre, like a good book is also scientifically linked to wellbeing. There have been studies on this and how being in a theatre raises your endorphins. Theatre can be the most amazing experience. It can totally make a day, no matter what you’re feeling, be one of the best experiences of your life. If you’re feeling down or having a hard time, theatre can provide that perfect escape.

Theatre! It has stories to tell. They all have a point and something relevant, whether it is comedy or drama, whether it is entirely original or adapted from a book. There’s always something to learn, something to be inspired by and somewhere to go and escape from the outside world as the actors carry you with them into whatever place and people they are portraying, whether fictional or true-life.
Watching a whole musical or play unfold in either a historical or modern building as opposed to watching a screen is an experience to behold. The connection between the actors and their audience as they bring scripts to life is enthralling, as is something that seems simple, yet is powerful like applauding at the end or whenever else it is appropriate and knowing the actors are appreciating this and sometimes you can be fortunate enough to say to an actor “thank you” and show appreciation in person after a performance.

There are many playwrights, from history and who still has a huge influence over today’s writers for stage and tv is William Shakespeare. He toured with his theatre and if there wasn’t a theatre, he would have his plays outdoors. Sounds familiar to today doesn’t it? There were Groundlings, something The Globe still has today for lesser price than the seats and theatres have many payment tiers, differing from theatre to theatre and country to country. So, even way back in the midst of time, it was recognised theatre should be available to the masses and this has increased as the centuries have moved on.

If there were a day theatre stopped touring, it would be a very sad day indeed and the world would be a poorer place!

Theatre! The arts creates jobs and the skill sets are far and wide reaching. There are the stagehands, the set-builders, those working in wardrobe and props, the box office and rest of front of house staff, the stage door staff, the pr/advertising teams, the lighting and sound technicians, musicians. Of course you also have the writers, the producers and directors, the composers, choreographers, the actors ranging from those principal ones you see on stage to understudies and swing actors etc. Before an audience gets to see any finished production, lots of work goes on behind the scenes, including auditions, read throughs, dress rehearsals, logistics if there is a tour and everything else that I have mentioned and perhaps more… It is all a craft, whether in a company or doing a two-handed or  a one-man/woman show etc. Whatever  the theatre role, there are skills, perseverance, bravery in these careers.

Theatre! It inspires, whether you do something professionally or not in the arts. I volunteered in a locally to me amateur theatre and previously to that, it inspired me to play the keyboard and to want to play it well, as far back as in my tween and teen years (we scrimped and saved for lessons and then I took part in some concerts). Kids today, whether they end up in the arts or not still attend drama and dance classes. Theatre inspires present and future generations to enter the arts for careers or purely for pleasure or to try something new that may stand them in good stead for whatever they do in the future. There is much to gain and much more to lose when they are not supported enough. They rely on the Department of Media, Culture and Sport and Arts Councils and Arts Funding as well as Us – The Public to support theatres and all within them. 

Theatre! What it does, whether it is indoors or outdoors, big or small, in a city or town is worth saving for all the marvellous experiences they give and that’s worth saving and having those stars shining brightly for now and for future generations.
Let us not be the generations who reduced theatres, but instead were the ones who support them and all the wonderful people involved to keep everything and everyone going and to fill our imaginations and memories and enrich our lives.

I thought I would conclude by listing some of the musicals and plays that I recommend you go and see. Some have been touring for a very long time, some come back every so often and some you can actually see just now and others, well, you never know in theatreland, they may just well return some time in the future.

Since starting my blog nearly 5 years ago I have seen and chosen to review a few stage shows. Click on the links to see reviews (in no particular order). Please note, some are from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Those that were online, I watched because it was during the pandemic when people could perform but theatres etc remained closed to the public (and they did a good job in keeping theatre alive), but generally speaking, I mostly go to theatres in-person. Lists and links below are not exhaustive (that could create a whole other blog post in the future). It is, however, a list that comes off the top of my head, without it being as long as say, war and peace. 

Links to No Spoiler Theatre Reviews and an interview with an actor

Interview With Actor Ronald Rand

Duet For One       *         Wodehouse In Wonderland       *       The Importance of Being Earnest

Art       *           Humble Boy         *         Flying High          *        The Dresser

Quick Reviews of more plays and musicals           *      The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel   *

A Cold Supper Behind Harrods          *       Ten Times Table        *          Love In The Wood

The Habit of Art         *        Love Never Dies       *       By Jeeves  

3 short reviews of some comedians       *           Once Sinha Lifetime

Banging on About Time and Other Similar Issues

(list of what I’ve seen and enjoyed is not exhaustive)

The Mousetrap     *       Wodehouse In Wonderland

 The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel      *      Wish You Were Dead

Art            *           Humble Boy         *              Private Lives       *       The Dresser.        

    Flying High          *          Bedroom Farce             The Wipers Times       *     Ten Times Table

The Mousetrap          *           Strangers on A Train         *         And Then There Were None

This House       *         No Man’s Land             *         Sleuth       *      The Play That Goes Wrong

The Greatest Play In The History Of The World         *         The Birthday Party    

Out of Order         *         A Judgement In Stone       *        The 39 Steps        *      Noises Off    

Sherlock Holmes and The Final Curtain      *      The Mystery of Charles Dickens

Being Shakespeare        *        De Profundus         *         Tesco On Tuesdays       *    Duet For One

Twelfth Night              *          The Merchant of Venice             *        Julius Caesar 

(list of what I’ve seen and enjoyed is not exhaustive)

Joseph and His Technicolor Dreamcoat     *     Sunset Boulevard    *     Phantom of the Opera

Grease      *       Summer Holiday         *         Hamilton        *          Strictly Ballroom

Mamma Mia.            *           Evita              *            Starlight Express        *         Cabaret

Tell Me On A Sunday            *           Chess         *        Anything Goes      *     Mary Poppins

Les Miserables.       *          Miss Siagon        *       Aspects of Love          *       Wicked

Beauty and the Beast        *      Blood Brothers          *        Hairspray        *        Jekyll and Hyde


By Jeeves by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Alan Aykbourn @OfficialALW @Ayckbourn #ByJeeves #JeevesWooster #PGWodehouse #Musical #Farce #VirtualTheatre #Theatre #Stage

By Jeeves
By Andrew Lloyd Webber
And Alan Ayckbourn

Rated: ****

I just love theatre and I’ve wanted to see By Jeeves for a long time now, based around the characters of the famous P.G Wodehouse books – Jeeves and Wooster. This is a Musical/Play and it is jolly entertaining. The music was composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber and directed by Alan Aykbourn, both who are masters at their craft. Andrew LLoyd Webber with his music and Alan Ayckbourn with his plays/farces.
The cast includes Martin Jarvis and all the cast play their parts splendidly well. You can buy it on DVD, listen to the soundtrack and see small previews on You Tube. It’s worth a watch. Below you will see the synopsis and review.

By Jeeves cover


At a benefit gala to raise money for a new church steeple, Bertram “Bertie” Wooster is preparing to take the stage. The banjo-playing star is thrown for a loop when he finds his banjo has been stolen! Bertie’s faithful manservant, Jeeves, suggests Bertie tell the story of his adventure to Tot leigh Towers to entertain the impatient audience. Bertie recounts to the audience how he became embroiled in the romances of several dim-witted members of the privileged class. With mistaken identities, romantic entanglement, and the adventures of the upper class, By Jeeves is the quintessential British musical farce.


I just had to write about this play because it simply won’t leave me alone. I have had the song “Half a Moment” stuck in my head for a couple of days now. Anymore and I’ll have to play it on Spotify or play it on my keyboard, since I have the music for it. It is actually a really good song though, as are all the songs in this musical.

This musical, perhaps because it also has Alan Ayckbourn, who is a playwright and an incredibly skilled one at that, is partly play and partly musical. The two mediums meet together and actually rather well. It makes this unique in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s body of work to date as it isn’t song after song to convey the story. It is the spoken word with some background music and songs within it, which together, masterfully tell the story which is based on the books of Jeeves and Wooster by PG Wodehouse. It is very funny, and I do hope one day it will be revived and do a proper UK tour. It’s a play within a play (if you’ve been following my blog recently, you’ll see there’s perhaps a bit of a trend in that here. It does seem to work very well). I feel it would do well to be on tour, when the virus is over and all is safe (it will be one day), as we have The Play That Goes Wrong, which has now got quite a body of work that is incredibly successful and By Jeeves, which came long before that team, is a bit like that, but with all the Jeeves and Wooster humour within it.

There’s fun with props in a clever way and songs that are memorable – more than just Half A Moment. There are clever lines and musically, notes brilliantly forged together, as you would expect. It is all in all feel-good and entertaining as there’s mistaken identities and romance all on a fun adventure that is also done so well with parts addressed directly to the audience. It’s a farce that is done well, so I have absolutely no idea why on earth it should have been a flop when it opened in London, except slightly over long, but not by much. Perhaps it should have toured and could have been more of a success that way with different audiences, or perhaps it was to do with timing, who knows, but what I do know, is it is jolly good and quite simply spiffing.

I watched this online. There are tracks on Spotify and some previews around on YouTube. Do watch out for Cats on You Tube via The Show Must Go On. It is free, but you can donate money to the actors’ fund if you so wish as they are all totally out of paid work at the moment. This is a kind thing Andrew Lloyd Webber is doing to help us stay at home or to stay alert, depending on which part of the country you are in and to help actors too.

I thank Andrew Lloyd Webber and the cast and production team for putting this on and for introducing new people, like myself who had never seen it before and always wanted to, to have that opportunity to watch it and for keeping little snippets of it around. It is also available to buy on DVD.

Andrew Lloyd Webber is working on a new musical – Cinderella and is busy writing the orchestrations of it, as well and his team doing a marvellous job entertaining us all and keeping us all informed on Twitter – @OfficialALW is where he and his team can be found.