Category Archives: Editorial

Coming Soon…

It’s all quiet on the reviews front at the moment but I’m already getting excited about what’s coming up in the new season – and there are some big shows coming to the region.

As September begins, Birmingham’s Blue Orange Theatre is offering a new take on the cult classic Plan 9 From Outer Space – an evening that promises to be a lot of fun.  Over at Coventry’s Belgrade, Roll Over Beethoven gets the season off to a rocking start.

Wolverhampton’s beautiful Grand Theatre reopens after an extensive summer refurb – I look forward to sinking a few drinks in the new bar and checking out the new performance space, before settling into the all-new seating in the auditorium for a wide and varied programme.

The REP, in Birmingham’s Centenary Square, kicks off with a brand new production of Oscar Wilde’s comic masterpiece, The Importance of Being Earnest, with the iconic role of Lady Bracknell taken on by Cathy Tyson, of Mona Lisa fame… A pity we can’t reunite her with Bob Hoskins as the Reverend Chasuble!

Birmingham’s Hippodrome continues to bring the biggest West End shows to the West Midlands, with Chitty Chitty Bang Bang flying in for a visit, while over at the New Alexandra Theatre, the musicals keep coming with The Kinks’ Sunny Afternoon and Beverley Knight starring in Sister Act.  If that’s not enough, a new production of Little Shop of Horrors will be cropping up to delight and horrify.  Meanwhile in Stratford upon Avon, the RSC is staging Aphra Behn’s The Rover in the Swan and, in the main house, Anthony Sher will be giving his King Lear.

October will see Alan Ayckbourn direct a revival of one of my favourites of his plays, the sci-fi comedy, Henceforward, up at the New Vic Theatre in Newcastle-under-Lyme, and I’m also looking forward to going down to London for Dominic Cooper’s return to the stage in The Libertine.

Normal service on Bum On A Seat is resumed on Wednesday 29th August, when I’ll be reviewing The Two Noble Kinsmen at the RSC’s Swan Theatre.  It’s the only Shakespeare play I’ve never seen performed on stage or on screen.  My pen is poised to tick it off my bucket list.


Up next: Jamie Wilkes and James Corrigan as Arcite and Palamon in The Two Noble Kinsmen. Photograph: Donald Cooper




Bye-bye, 2015

And so another busy year of theatre-going draws to a close.  I’ve seen a lot of shows, most of which have been excellent and so I’m preparing an end-of-year review that I’ll post between Christmas and New Year.

Before that though, I have one more show to see and it’s a biggie: billed as Birmingham’s favourite pantomime, the annual extravaganza at Birmingham’s Hippodrome theatre, Aladdin stars Lee Mead in the title role and, interestingly: housewives’ favourite Marti Pellow in the role of the villain Abanazar.  I’m especially looking forward to Julian Clary as (what else?) the Slave of the Ring – Clary was part of Wolverhampton Grand’s perfect panto, Cinderella, twelve months ago, and so my expectations are running high!

Will Aladdin make my Best of the Year list?

Check my review next Wednesday!

Birmingham - Julian Clary (Slave of the Ring)

Julian Clary will be slaving away in his ring in Birmingham Hippodrome’s Aladdin

The show runs from Saturday 19th December until Sunday 31st January, 2016.  Tickets are available here


Editorial: Tweet Seats

I love the theatre. I love Twitter. Put the two together and what could be better?

Well, toothpaste and orange juice spring to mind.

There is a worrying trend at the moment of theatres thinking it is a good idea to allow ‘tweet seats’ in their auditoriums. I’ve seen places as prestigious as the Royal Opera House and the Birmingham Hippodrome put forward this idea and I can only think it is a wrong move.

First of all, using your mobile phone during a performance is an insult to the performers. You cannot possibly be giving their work your full attention and therefore you cannot possibly be in a position to comment, making anything you might be bursting to say in a tweet invalid.

Second, you will be a nuisance to other audience members. Never mind proposed ‘light-reducing seats’, you will be seen. Also pity the poor ushers trying to police mobile phone use in the rest of the audience. Theatres have worked hard to minimise disruption from mobile phones – to allow usage in any capacity is backwards.

Thirdly, the tweeters themselves are missing out. We’ve all tweeted along with television shows – in some cases Twitter enhances certain types of programmes and televised events – but live theatre is different. If you’re tweeting, you’re not in the moment. You’re not giving the show the chance to absorb you and transport you. And therefore – I repeat – anything you tweet cannot be worth reading.

Twitter is great fun but it’s also a stealer of time and attention. You might think of a perfect, pithy comment that just can’t wait until the interval but then you will get replies. You will be distracted by other tweets that appear on your timeline: pictures of kittens in pith helmets, for example.

I am against tweeting during live theatre – in case you haven’t worked that out by now.

Switch the phones off and BE PRESENT. Don’t deny yourself the uniqueness of live experience.

pith helmet pussy