Thursday, December 20, 2007

The show must go on...

...and it did!

It was pantomime day today, when we went off to see Cinderella at our lovely and recently restored Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds. Built in 1819, it is a beautiful example of a Regency playhouse, with many of its original features still intact.

So we were excited at the prospect of spending the afternoon indulging in pantomime and enjoying the surprises on offer.

The biggest surprise was the sudden evacuation during the first half of the performance, when the lights went out and a voice in the darkness asked the audience to leave the building.

Of course it was an inconvenience to the proceedings but I was very impressed with how quickly and smoothly the theatre was evacuated. I was also pleased with how quickly the problem was resolved and how soon we were let back in.

After a delay, it was a big relief to see that the show went on. The actors continued where they had left off and remained unflustered by the unexpected occurrence.

We were left to enjoy the rest of the performance with the usual pantomime gags, boos and hisses, accompanied by fabulous costumes and beautiful scenery, before being offered complimentary refreshments during the interval (as an apology for the inconvenience).

The second half went smoothly and hitch-free and began with the stunning scene of the Prince's Ball. Cinderella's costume was wonderful and the Cossack Dancing was fabulous. A full review can be seen on The Stage website.

For me, the stars of the show were Janet Reaves as the wicked stepmother Countess Grimallova and Greg Ashton, who played flamboyant ugly sister Gladys Gladnost with his faaaabulous Welsh accent. Greg Ashton also delivered the most amazing performance as Widow Twankey in last year's Aladdin, again with a Welsh twang, which being a "valleys girl" I fully support. I am now a definite fan.

The Theatre Royal is a beautiful building. Being relatively new to Bury St Edmunds I hadn't seen it before its restoration, but having the opportunity to visit today I was able to see it restored to its full glory.

No doubt there will be those who complain about today's hitch and as usual we will probably see letters in the local newspaper. To those....all I can say is Boooo......Hisssss! In my opinion it was a mild inconvenience which the theatre handled extremely well.

And to the Theatre Royal.....Thanks for a lovely's great that you're back at the old playhouse and as you can see....

"We're Behind You"


Paul F said...

Ah, that explains it.

Mrs F was giving me a lift to the council offices yesterday at about 2.30pm. As we came round from Maynewater Lane to Crown Street we were stopped by a lay traffic warden (a theatre volunteer who used to teach with me at Old Buckenham Hall) marshalling crowds across the street.

Not thinking about the timing of the matinee we assumed it was the end of the show, and thought it a bit cheeky to help everyone cross and take so long about it.

Mrs F was getting annoyed: "They've no right to do this. Can't people find their own way across in between the traffic" was the printable version of what she said.

The volunteer stood her ground as we crept forward, inch by inch. Then after about five minutes or more there was a slight pause, we hooted gently and sped off saying "well really..."

If the volunteer or anyone had explained we would have been patience personified.

21st Century Mummy said...

Hi Paul - it might have been quicker by bike.

As you say, they closed the road very briefly to allow us to cross safely to the other side. They then let the cars through until we were let back in. I think the Greene King shop got some extra business while we were waiting ;-D

I assume the volunteers weren't allowed to give out any info. However as a customer I was very impressed with the way the evacuation was managed. We also received a follow-up letter of apology today, which was much appreciated.

Paul F said...

Happy Christmas to the least uncontent blogger I know!

21st Century Mummy said...

Happy Christmas Paul - and thanks for the accolade. It's always good to look on the bright side because you never know how long it's going to last.

I managed to turn some glum faces into cheery ones at Waitrose this morning. A smile can sometimes have the effect of a magic wand ;-D