General Theatre thread

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This topic contains 23 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  Mudlark 2 weeks, 1 day ago.

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    Anonymous @

    We here at The Doctor Who Forum pride ourselves on being culturally literate in all entertainment, and there is nothing which screams ‘culturally literate’ than an evening spent at the theatre.

    “I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.”

    Oscar Wilde

    This topic is where you can tell us about all the theatre productions you’ve attended, worked on, saw televised, or perhaps simply heard about but wished you’d had the opportunity to attend in person.

    wolfweed @wolfweed
    TardisBlue @tardisblue

    On October 23, 2013, I saw, in Los Angeles, California, USA, a filmed performance of the recent Menier Chocolate Factory production of Merrily We Roll Along, which took the West End and all of London by storm earlier this year. I’m a big Sondheim fan. The production was superb. It was easy to see why the show received so many five star reviews and the 2012 Peter Hepple Award for best musical.

    I left the movie theater on a natural high, happily humming its songs as I drove home. My friend and I were over the moon after seeing this great performance. It was so great that merely sharing with my friend was not enough. It’d created such a great feeling that I needed to share my enthusiasm with others.

    All I could think of was coming here to The Doctor Who Forum and asking if any of you had seen Merrily in London.

    I knew @htpbdet was a big Sondheim fan. I couldn’t wait to see if he’d seen it, and to hear what he had to say about the book, music, and production. I’d enjoyed talking about the casting for an upcoming Into the Woods with him and several other forum members. I’ve learned so much from all of you. I couldn’t wait to share about the same production with people who had experience in and enthusiasm for musical theater.

    So I was saddened to find out that our beloved @htpbdet died on October 24. And my eyes welled up with tears when I heard he’d left us.

    My eyes welled up with tears again when I heard @htpbdet had requested two songs from Merrily to be played at his funeral. At the same time, i felt a little closer to him through our shared “secret.”

    I’d love to hear from others who may have see this production. And I’m sending positive thoughts to all.


    Anonymous @
    wolfweed @wolfweed
    wolfweed @wolfweed

    Anonymous @

    I’m involved with my local am-dram society (on the Set-Building and Stage Crew), and this year’s panto is Sleeping Beauty. The writer-director has included a Tardis (don’t ask! I don’t even know why yet 🙂 ). Our carpenter knocked up a frame of the front of the Tardis in a couple of hours. This picture shows the raw-wood frame (no doors yet), but the reflection on the back wall shows the outline quite clearly.

    Anonymous @

    Following on from my original post about building a Tardis for our am-dram’s Sleeping Beauty panto, I have some new pictures after today’s set-building session.

    Being am-dram, it’s all made from cast-offs and re-used materials, and is yet unpainted, so don’t expect magic at this point.  But I am totally chuffed to say that I used the mitre saw ** (bottom picture) to cut all the wood for the doors, and the cross-braces for the doors, and I screwed in all the wood pieces for the doors myself – including the door hinges.  The top door sections are still empty – next week I’ll post Stage 3 which will include the windows up there.

    ** and I still have all 8 fingers and both thumbs.  😀

    TardisBlue @tardisblue

    @Shazzbot, how’s the panto construction coming?  Still got all your digits?  Hope these doors work better than the ones for the 1963 original Tardis (at least as they were depicted in the *excellent* docudrama “An Adventure in Space and Time”).  😉




    Anonymous @

    @tardisblue – Set Crew meets once a week on Tuesdays, so later this afternoon I’ll post the next stage of the Tardis front.  (Assuming I’m not in A&E with bandaged stumps!)

    TardisBlue @tardisblue

    I thought I’d let all the Sondheim fans out there know about two things.  First, an excellent article by former New York Times theater critic Frank Rich about his thirty-or-forty-some years of acquaintanceship/friendship/mentor/mentee/creator&critic/interviewer&interviewee …relationship with Sondheim.   Much like HTPBDET’s memoirs of his life-long connection with Doctor Who, Rich interweaves his own experience of the living master of the American musical with the story of Sondheim’s successes and failures over the years.  Rich found an instant kinship with Sondheim at the age of 10 listening to his mother’s Gypsy LP (Sondheim wrote the lyrics) and seeing an out-of-town pre-Broadway production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.  He brings the story up to the present day, with a brief mention of the upcoming HBO documentary he produced (and long-time Sondheim collaborator James Lapine directed)  Six by Sondheim.

    First, the New York Magazine article:

    Second, info on the HBO documentary, premiering at 9 pm EST on Monday, December 9, 2013.

    And yes, in case anyone is wondering, an occasional mention of Sondheim is not totally out of place on a Doctor Who forum.  Sondheim’s plots can be about as timey-wimey as Steven Moffat’s scripts in a whirlwind.  😀



    TardisBlue @tardisblue

    @folks who live in or a lot closer to London than I do:

    Anyone seen David Tennant as Richard II during the Royal Shakespeare Company run at Stratford-on-Avon?  Any thoughts, impressions, critiques, general fan-squee-iness, interesting stories?  Anyone planning to see it when it starts at London’s Barbicon December 7?

    And is anyone planning to see Matt Smith in the musical American Psycho, which opens December 12 in Islington?

    Thanks to the Public Broadcasting Service here in the states I was able to see the recent filmed productions of Shakespeare’s history plays (Richard II; Henry IV part 1, Henry IV, part 2; and Henry V).  (The series was shown on PBS as The Hollow Crown.)  Ben Whishaw’s performance as Richard II was transcendent — the best interpretation of the role that I’ve seen.  (Granted, the history plays aren’t done very often across the pond.)   Apparently I’m not the only one who thought so.  Whitshaw won the BAFTA for best actor.

    Tennant is a very talented actor, too.  I’d be interested in your takes on his performance, alone or in comparison to Whitshaw’s.

    There’s a couple of weeks of down-time before the Doctor Who Christmas special.  Plenty of time to follow some of our favorites from their Cardiff days to the bright lights of the British stage — and to let the rest of us know what we’re missing!




    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    Alas, Tennant’s London run is completely sold out except for the Day Seats. The RSC must love him; a sell out Richard II? Unheard of!

    They seem to be trying to find more seats to sell for the Almeida and American Psycho as well – but that’s to be expected. It’s a relatively small theatre and they quite often sell out. Again, there will be Day Seats.

    Anonymous @

    @tardisblue and @ all – sadly, my set building day involved more flat painting and backstage light re-wiring work than Tardis completion work.  The Stage 3 photo is below.  Barely visible are the hinged back struts which hold it up (and yes, Me ‘n My Mitre Saw got friendly again today, along with Me ‘n My Mains Power Drill and Me ‘n My Battery-Pack Screwdriver).  Only one of the top windows’ cross-bars were completed – the master carpenter and I wanted to finish the other one, but everyone else wanted to go home so we had to stop.  To be continued …

    Anonymous @

    It’s Sleeping Beauty Panto Tardis Time!

    @tardisblue – you’ve expressed interest before, so I know you’ll like to see the finished product.
    @scaryb (and mysterious AN Other) – thank you for your help in getting these photos onto the site.

    Photos on Mum’s previous posts have disappeared into a different timestream / alternate universe / down the back of the sofa.  Here is the last-but-one stage of the Tardis Mum helped to build:

    That one shows how it’s just frontage, with side struts and lever bars + stage weights behind it to hold it steady.  It is painted the actual BBC-approved Tardis Blue (by Pantone number).

    This is the final stage (sorry, shoulda told Mum to zoom in on the signs, but she assures me that they’re letter-perfect according to the 5,674,093 pictures of the Tardis she found on t’interwebs):

    That one shows what the audience sees.  The entire village exits through the Tardis doors to end Act I and start the 100 years that The Princess’s curse forces her to sleep.  Just prior to this, our ventriloquist vicar leads the audience in the Time Warp dance (with ‘pelvic thrust’ changed to ‘fairy dust’ due to the sensibilities of the junior audience members 😀 ).

    Anonymous @

    A bit of a different offering, but only because the song is in our village’s Sleeping Beauty panto (sold-out performance 7 of 10 tonight) – as is commonly such in panto-land, the ‘man’ in the song is a teen-aged girl, playing Prince Charming. The teen-aged actresses playing both Sleeping Beauty and Prince Charming are each the grand-children of original members of our playhouse society, so this year’s panto is especially heart-warming. And they both have heart-rendingly marvellous singing voices.

    Thank you for indulging me in promoting our rural North Yorkshire panto. 🙂

    wolfweed @wolfweed


    Nice to get to see your Mum’s lovely TARDIS. I hope she gets to take it home.

    And what a beautiful Theatre.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Anonymous @

    Scout (the Airedale) here.  Paw-ing a furry good-bye to y’all.  This is my picture for those who need a visual reminder:

    My Mum helped build a Tardis earlier this year for a theatre production.  She opened this thread originally (at the request of @tardisblue), so here’s where this good-bye post is resting.

    I had my ‘Senior Check-up’ at the vet today.  Mum’s been worried about how many times I bump my head against things lately, but I have a really hard skull and I didn’t feel any of it.  And everyone bumps against things at some point, don’t they?

    But the vet shined a light into my eyes (Mum had to hold onto me reeeaaalllly tight, because that black plastic thing was cold and weird and horribly close to my face), and my left eye’s pupil doesn’t do anything when a light is near.  And my right eye isn’t much better.  Now it’s pretty much all over, on the sight front.

    I still get around quite well, thank you very much.  I know my house and where everything is (back door, food bowl, water bowl, Mum’s chair), and I can find my way all by myself to the butcher’s, and the pet store, and the river.  There’s nothing wrong with my nose or my hearing.  So don’t write me off yet.  I may have arthritis but the liquid Mum squirts from the syringe into my mouth before dinner not only doesn’t taste all that bad, but it makes my joints feel better.  I may not be able to see you, but I can smell you and hear you, and if you’re a cat, I’m certainly gonna try to get you.

    Mum’s gonna delete this account once this comment is posted.  There might be one or two of you who remember meeting me, and of course also my brother Triton who went away last April:

    Happy theorising, and stay cool (and away from cats.  They’re the enemy).

    Pierrot @pierrot

    My wife is directing “A Few Good Men” at 30 x Ninety Theatre in Mandeville, Louisiana. I’m assistant stage manager. First time in these seats for either one of us as we usually just to do the tech for this theatre and for Playmakers Theater in Covington, LA. It’s been a hard experience with casting and costumes but our actors are coming along beautifully. Any one in the area, come see the show. We open Saturday Feb. 5 and run for 3 weekends.

    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    I don’t believe I have ever used this thread before. Actually, I am surprised it exists (thanks @craig!) but I just wanted to share the fact that the American playwright (and actor) Sam Shepard has died. I remember seeing his “Curse of the Starving Class” at the theatre back in the 1970s (or was it the 80s?) and thought (and still think) it was one of the the best plays of the 20th century.

    Here is one of the many obitutories
    I recommend reading the comments. Not only do they demonstrate that there is an alternative to the infantile bile one reads on the Guardian comments, but they demonstrate the importance of the man in American culture.

    Nightingale @nightingale

    I went to see Endgame the other day. I was very confused. I’d heard a lot about it, not least that it was a sequel to Infinity War starring Robert Downey Jr and Scarlett Johansson, neither of whom were in this latest production, although I don’t remember them being among those killed off by the snap.

    Instead we got Daniel Radcliffe as Clov and Alan Cumming as Hamm. Hamm’s superpowers are being blind and unable to stand. Clov’s superpowers were being unable to bend his legs but being able to use ladders anyway, when he remembered to bring one.

    There were also Nag and Nell whose superpowers were the ability to hide in bins and die seemingly at will.

    Set, I presume, many years after the snap, the Earth has been laid waste and our heroes are hiding out in a house with really high windows. Some kind of hate ray has been used to turn everyone against everyone else and humanity in general. I’m guessing Thanos teamed up with the Hate Monger.

    The heroes mission is to escape their situation whilst stopping a new race of insectoid humans from evolving.

    It was actually a lot better than Infinity War. Writer Samuel Beckett is very funny and raises some interesting questions about socialisation vs freedom. There was a particularly great set-piece involving a stuffed cat, who I initially mistook for Black Widow. If this is the direction the next wave of the MCU is going, I’m interested.

    Weird they did it as a play instead of a film though. I blame JK Rowling.

    Mudlark @mudlark


    That certainly provides an interesting perspective on Endgame, but if anyone told you that it was a sequel to Infinity War it’s no wonder that you were confused 🙂 Or did you write this with tongue in cheek?   If not the latter,  Endgame was written as a one act play, originally in French but later translated by the playwright himself, and first performed in a French language production in London in April 1957.

    Nightingale @nightingale


    Tongue planted well and firmly in cheek 😀 Endgame is one of my favourite plays by one of my favourite writers. I’ve seen it a few times now. The big draw for me this time was they also did Rough for Theatre II which I’d read but never seen before and was rather good.

    Retrospectively the big draw is that it’ll be the last thing I see on the west end for a while on account of stupid, stupid coronavirus!!!

    Mudlark @mudlark


    I had a very strong suspicion that was the case, but on the internet you never can tell, so I had to ask 🙂


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