Last night was a truly extraordinary experience. And one I urge you most strongly to try and have if you can.
I saw a play, This House, beamed live from The National Theatre to the Odeon cinema in Hanley, Stoke on Trent. At the same time tens of thousands of people were also watching the same play at cinemas all over the country and all over the world!
I have no idea who first came up with the idea of showing live theatre performances in the cinema but it is sheer marketing genius – not a word I use often. Give the public what they want and who needs PR? The fans, such as moi, will do it all for you! How absolutely wonderful it was to experience a West End play, live, in my local cinema.
And WHAT an audience too! I was the youngest there and I won’t see 50 again, let alone 40! An audience that sat and watched the show, no talking, no texting. Just like the theatre in fact! Although I have to say when I saw Jersey Boys for the second time at a Sunday afternoon performance the audience who’d also clearly seen it before spent most of the show chatting among themselves, tweeting, texting, ipadding.
WATCH THE DAMN SHOW!!!!
Why do people do that, why? Why pay good money to be in a West End theatre and then spend at least half your time rushing out to buy drinks, chatting, texting and tweeting? I mean what’s the point?
Well none of that last night night. An older appreciative audience that remembers how to watch a piece of theatre in silent rapture.
And there will be another lovely audience at my local cinema – yours too! – next month. The Audience, starring “Will you shut that bloody drumming noise up!” Helen Mirren and written by Peter Morgan, who also wrote the film The Queen in which Mirren also starred, will be shown at Odeons all over the country on June 13th. That too is a National production, though it’s coming from the Gielgud Theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue.
I can only get to the West End once or maybe twice a year. So just driving down the road to see a play at The National was a truly novel, if not also bizarre, experience.
Slept in my own bed!
Last night was the first time I have ever seen a play at The National and then come home and slept in my own bed. As opposed to a friend’s bed (I’ll rephrase, a bed in a friend’s house) or a hotel bed. Actually that can’t be true. Once I lived in London and once I practically lived at The National. It was my office by day, my social life by night.
But then more than two decades ago I moved 200 miles away and The National might as well have been on the Moon. Still, I probably go to the theatre more often than many Londoners and people living in the south east of England. If you live there, go! Don’t look at me like that of COURSE you can afford it! The National has stand-by seats daily and cheap tickets are also often available. Go alone. Go on a Monday night. Go when discounts are often available. Just go!
The food bit
And now for the food bit. I kept my word to you and didn’t eat any cinema “food” which is of course barely worthy of the name food. I did however have an ice-cream! Well what you gonna do? There was an interval! Something I’ve only ever experienced at the cinema before watching Gone with the Wind and the eight-hour version of War and Peace.
So I had an ice-cream so shoot me. It had to be done. Was all part of the experience. A night out. Something I very rarely have but I am going again next month. It was a wonderful experience.
Feed your head
As we said in the Sixties, feed your head! You can diet all you want but one thing you should never deprive yourself of is a bit of culcha! If you can’t eat carbs, feed the mind instead. Feed your soul. Feed your head.
Have a great weekend. And if I sound as if I’m on something, I’m really not. I’m just high from a great night out.
Disclaimer: The National Theatre and the Odeon chain of cinemas has not paid for this plug nor asked for a mention in this blog. Nor offered free tickets in exchange for a mench. But I’m still hopeful…