I started the year by going to the theatre and by attending a 5 day musical theatre improv course.
I got to see Hamilton, The Ferryman, and The Play That Goes Wrong. All three shows were incredibly good, though very different. Hamilton lived up to the hype and I would go and see it again tomorrow. It was visually stunning. I had heard a lot about the score, and nothing about the scenic design, lighting, and choreography, all of which were beautiful. I loved the ensemble and think they should feature more in the reviews. Whilst the actor playing Hamilton was great it’s easier to stand out and shine when you are constantly being supported by an amazing ensemble.
I was a little concerned about going to see The Ferryman as anything set in Northern Ireland can be difficult for me to watch. Jez Butterworth’s play dealt with issues that happened in my life time, and though at times it did head towards Irish family caricature territory it worked well. I was not expecting to see a baby and a goose on the stage and was surprised by how much they pull focus. We are certainly fascinated by the things on a stage that appear true and real.
The Play That Goes Wrong was funny from the moment we sat in the theatre. It has some great set falling down effects, which would make it difficult to put on a version of the show, but the things that made me laugh the most were the things that are easier to reproduce. It’s incredibly funny watching actors stand on the hand of another actor who is supposed to be playing a dead man and seeing him try not to react to the pain. (I imagine it’s a fake hand, but that doesn’t take away from the humour.) I also enjoyed the fake fighting, probably because I had spent the morning before the show in a slapstick workshop learning how to do things like looking as if you are smashing a persons head off the table.
The Showstoppers improv course I attended was excellent. I got to work with great teachers and generous improvisers. It wasn’t easy, as I’m still not comfortable with improv, but I’m glad that I went and would study with them again.
It was a good start to another year that I hope will be dominated by theatre and by being creative.