In the spirit of full disclosure, this post skirts very close to the edge of an advertorial. The good people at Civilian Theatre will always strive to review fairly whether the tickets are press freebies or bought out of our hard-earned cash. However the line does blur when it comes to what to write about events that have been set up by companies that clearly have a vested interested in bloggers talking about their products and are happy to liberally apply free wine and food. So read the following in whatever spirit you wish and just remember – like any theatre – these views are my own, and I encourage everyone else to form their own opinions about things by following the links and finding out more about them.
It is always slightly strange going to press nights, sitting in the dark for ninety minutes and then rushing off home to write up some thoughts before crashing into sleep, waking up to go to the job that actually provides the money for you to do all of those cool (read expensive) London-y things, and starting the cycle all over again.
So last night provided a rather fun change of pace as I was invited – as part of the #LDNTheatreBloggers community – to a little soiree organised by the Duracell-bunny made flesh, one-woman human dynamo, @rebeccafelgate, to meet, mingle, natter and mix with other members of the online theatre blogging world.
The lovely Rebecca has been grafting away trying to get us nameless, faceless people to be that little bit more sociable – so that when we see familiar faces out and about we might actually go and say hello. I know it all sounds terribly un-British but there you go.
The good people at Official Theatre (www.officialtheatre.com or @theatreofficial) are the brains trust behind a lot of this loveliness. They have already done a fine job in hooking up bloggers with shows to review, and have crafted a nifty line in video reviews (see link below for a rather amazing Lord of the Dance video response).
Regular readers of this blog will probably notice there is something of a disconnect between what they offer and what we review. However if you do like West End shows then it is a pretty useful one-stop shop for getting the low-down on what’s on and buying tickets. Plus it turns out that not everyone wants to see miserabilist 3-hour plays performed in a mixture of mime, interpretative dance and Latvian folk song. Well who knew?
Also worthy of a mention is Seat Plan (www.seatplan.com or @seat_plan) who are a service that I really don’t mind doing a little schilling for. Basically if you have ever sat in the gods then you will probably recognise the experience of wondering whether the cheaper (but still not that cheap) ticket price is really worth the two and a half hours you are going to spend with you knees forced up to your chin and half the stage obscured by the edge of the balcony. Basically it is a user-led seat review service. People can upload photos of the view from their seat and give it star ratings (because everyone loves turning things into 5 star metrics).
My only beef is really with the fact that a lot of the theatres I go to are not currently on the site. So a plea to the guys at Seat Plan – we don’t all go to the West End. Have words with the National, Donmar, Young Vic, Old Vic and Barbican. I want to tell you what they are like.
But anyways I must rush to get a train to Cardiff (the fun literally *not literally* never stops), so just a final mention that if you are here and you want to read other people’s reviews then check out #LDNTheatreBloggers and #Stagey on Twitter to find more like-minded people than you can shake a stick at.