#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


#Review By Lou of Edinburgh Fringe Festival comedy starring Mark Watson – More Banging On About Time And Other Similar Issues @watsoncomedian @edfringe @ARedinburgh #Comedy #MarkWatson #EdFringe2022 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Mark Watson – More Banging On About Time And Other Similar Issues

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I was kindly invited by Mark Watson to his show – More Banging On About Time And Other Similar Issues.
Please note this has no influence in what I wrote in my review. All opinions are my own and all honest.

Mark Watson is a stand up comedian who has been on many panel shows and an author. It is a Working Progress Show as his audiences become the “guinea pigs” as it were, to try out new material on to then create a polished show later on. There are many comedians who do this and try it out on a willing Edinburgh Fringe Festival audience. The link to book tickets is below, after the review. I thank Mark Watson for the lovely surprise of putting me on his guest list and for the photo op and signing my ticket. All lovely, but I know readers, you’ll be wondering if the show itself is worth booking and putting into your schedules. It absolutely is and here is why…


The show began a bit more unconventionally than most, but it certainly got the audience in the mood for comedy and that’s when the laughing of everyone began and didn’t end until the show did. Mark Watson easily captures an audience and the day I attended was a sell-out performance.

It’s interesting, the long, long lists that Mark Watson has on his phone that has piqued his interest for various reasons, he may go into that on other shows too. He talked about time and how it is a strange thing and the questions adults ponder and the questions kids ask and expect either adults or the internet to answer. There are many parent jokes, but you don’t have to be one to find them very humorous. I’m not a parent and still was thoroughly entertained. He doesn’t stop there. He talked about WhatsApp groups and what parents ask teachers on Zoom, which was also hilarious, even just the gall of the parents to dare ask certain things.

There is a small degree of self-deprecation to the performance that is a continuous line of joke after relatable joke that leads to a well rounded conclusion. This was a working progress show and I look forward to hopefully attending  the show when it is completely polished and finished.

I highly recommend booking this show. Here is the link

Mark Watson – More Banging On About Time and Similar Issues



#BookReview by Lou of Contacts by Mark Watson @watsoncomedian @HarperCollinsUK #NewBook #Fiction

By Mark Watson
Rated: 5 stars ***** 

Contacts has so much poignancy and a great message within it for society. It is so well-written that those pages just have to keep turning to see how it ends. Thank you to Harper Collins UK for the e-book.
Please follow down to the blurb and full review.

Contacts by Mark Watson


One man’s last journey. One hundred and fifty-eight chances to save his life.The unforgettable new book from award-winning writer and comedian Mark Watson – available to pre-order now!’Mark Watson is one of my favourite writers and Contacts is by far his best book yet’ Adam Kay‘Witty, emotional and beautifully written’ Jill Mansell‘It made me laugh, cry, reflect and want to check in on all my friends’ Emma Gannon ‘This is such a great book, funny and serious and daring and humane’ Richard CurtisOne man’s last journey. One hundred and fifty-eight chances to save his life.James Chiltern boards the 23:50 sleeper train from London to Edinburgh with two pork pies, six beers and a packet of chocolate digestives. At 23:55 he sends a message to all 158 people in his contacts, telling them that he plans to end his life in the morning. He then switches his phone to flight mode. He’s said goodbye. To him, it’s the end of his story – and time to crack open the biscuits.But across the world, 158 phones are lighting up with a notification. Phones belonging to his mum. His sister. His ex-best friend. The woman who broke his heart. People he’s lost touch with. People he barely knows. And for them, the message is only the beginning of the journey.Funny and wise, tender and deeply moving, Contacts is a beautiful story about the weight of loneliness, the importance of kindness – and how it’s never too late to reach out.

Contacts by Mark Watson


The first sentence is a real attention grabber as eyes widen because it is is the most unexpected opening line that may make readers gasp or take a sharp-intake of breath. 158 people receive a text that will shock to the core, from James who is at that time on the London to Edinburgh train.

This is a book that displays the human condition and some of societies ills incredibly well. It’s hard-hitting and essential reading, but not just a book to read and forget, it’s one of those books that are thought-provoking and will make you think about society and people more and better. It’s about lonliness, but refreshingly, not in the older generation, but the young generation. It shows an underrated topic in such a true light. The emotions are raw and authentic.

James recalls meeting Karl in 2007 and deciding he didn’t need many contacts and now he was withdrawing somewhat on a train up to Edinburgh. It’s a deep, dark book that contains the much taboo subject of suicide in some of the narrative, which makes it essential reading, along with the lonliness, because James is essentially a lonely, intelligent young man.

The book moves onto Sally Chiltern, James sister in Melbourne and Michaela Adler, an ex, in Berlin who both receive the text message and their reactions to the unexpected message and an insight into their lives. There is also an insight to Jean Chiltern, his mum in Bristol, who is informed of the text by Sally. There is then the reactions of the other people who have also looked at their phones.

The book is so current that it even goes into characters doing the Couch to 5K and having a language app. There is some humour amongst the book. It isn’t all dark and bleak.

It is heartwarming to see the kindness of people who are trying to find James and save him from certain death and each other from such lonliness and the impact that has on people. It really raises the issue that it isn’t just the elderly, so compassionately and well and within some terrific and responsible story-telling. It reminds people that there is always someone to talk to, such as the Samaritans too.

Mark Watson, having been in Edinburgh for the Fringe Festival and indeed a book launch does take James into Waverley Station and into the city, which is accurately depicted. I know this as I go into Edinburgh a fair bit. It leads to the end of what is an incredibly poignant story that shows an enormous amount of humanity and hope, even when things seem to be at their bleakest. It honestly is such a strong and courageous book that I feel could, if enough people read and really think about it, could feed a lot of good into society and help people talk about their issues and to think of others differently. It’s such an amazing book and one of those rare books that I don’t think will leave me any time soon.

On another note – please don’t suffer in silence. As the book alludes to, it is never too late to reach out. Here is a link to Samaritans. It is free and confidential http://www.samaritans.org