How often do you go to the theatre?

Although we live in London which has a multitude of theatres, we see far, far more films than plays. But this week was my birthday so I booked for us to see two plays: the theatrical productions of the two Hilary Mantel novels “Wolf Hall” [my review of the book here] and “Bring Up The Bodies” [my review of the book here].

The two plays are by the Royal Shakespeare Company and performed at the Aldwych Theatre. They are really fine performances, but the staging is very bare (there are numerous changes of location and time) and there are a lot of characters (about 35 in each play).

Comparing the cinema with the theatre, i have to say:

  • Not all London theatres are air-conditioned (the Aldwych is)
  • Vision is not always unobstructed (we had tall people in front of us both times)
  • Actors cannot use natural voices but have to project
  • The seats are not always comfortable (London theatres were built for smaller people)
  • You have to book in advance and cannot just walk in
  • The tickets are so expensive

But we will keeping going to the theatre from time to time. It does suffer something different.


  • Janet

    Unlike you Roger, I get to see more plays than films, but most of them are amateur productions. These are often strikingly good performances of classics, even though local theatres tend to favour light comedies to fill the seats. I find that, with exceptions of course,the work itself can come over better in an amateur performance as it’s not biased to feature celebrities in the cast, the cost of whose presence naturally adds to the ticket price. If you want to broaden your cultural horizons there are always the smaller professional companies most of whom tour – such as Mikron, whom I’m sure you remember.

  • Nadine Wiseman

    To confess, I think my only visit to the theatre for a play since we had to go during High School, was to the RSC’s 2008 “Hamlet”, Stratford-up-Avon. (Ok, yes, I’m sweet on David Tennant. And Patrick Stewart).

    It was a marvellous experience, and the town was so beautiful that July week, sunny and full of swans and half-grown cygnets.

    It was a long way to go to the theatre (yes, the entire trip was booked around the play, it was the motivation to finally get me on an international flight).

    But generally, I get too nervous that something will go wrong on the night and I’ll be embarrassed for the actors. Or that it will be too confronting and I’ll need to walk out (which is fine in a film, but not so when it’s live).

    My preferred live performances are orchestral symphonies.




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