Here I go with an overview of my 2016 of theatre trips to see musicals and plays. Touring shows that have come to the North East at the Theatre Royal in Newcastle and the Sunderland Empire. As well as managing to have a few trips down to London to take in what the West End has to offer! You can check out the list of shows here. I have somehow managed to out do 2015 catching 31 shows in 2016!
Do you hear the people sing? Let’s take a look back at my 2016 at the Theatre.
January started off rather disappointing as I had a ticket to go and see Last Night a DJ Saved My Life starring David Hasselhoff, which was then cancelled in Sunderland. Apparently just because they decided to start the show at a later date at a different venue. So I was therefore refunded the money for my ticket. But don’t worry everything was going to get a lot better than this!
February therefore saw the start of 2016 at the Theatre seeing the UK Tour of play An Inspector Calls. This is something that I remember reading when I was at school and therefore had always wanted to see it on stage. It is a remarkable piece of theatre and the themes touched upon are more than relevant to this day. Read the full review here. After what felt like a long absence from the UK touring scene the Rocky Horror Show was back, which I just couldn’t go and see once so I attended two different dates and even ended up in the front row on one of the nights, let’s do the time warp again. Read the full review here. Fancy Dress was completed as well! The best ticket deal of the year came with the next show thanks to ATG’s Theatre card for the magical show Impossible, showcasing all different kinds of magical tricks and illusions which really did leave you wondering how exactly they managed to do it! Read the full review here.
March was a very musical filled month with three shows. The first was The Bodyguard which I bought a pretty last-minute ticket for, it was impressive and I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected to in all honesty. Read the full review here. The second was Guys and Dolls which I have seen in the past and it wasn’t a great production. This one however direct from the West End was absolutely fantastic! Certainly proving that over the last few years the standard of the touring shows has really improved and I think that a lot of them now come on the back of a West End run really does help. Read the full review here. The third was a show that I have seen quite a lot of times now Annie. I wanted to go back and see it again as Lesley Joseph was back as Miss Hannigan, and I such a huge fan of hers. She did not disappoint either truly stealing each scene she was in! Read the full review here. Stage door meeting with Lesley Joseph.
April was rather quiet at the beginning of the month but I then more than made up for it with a London trip when I did the Marathon and of course I just had to fit some shows in. I did manage to catch something a little different in Facing the Music: A Life in Musical Theatre with Patricia Routledge, which was a fantastic evening of listening to clips from the shows she had been in and hearing her talk about her whole career. Just incase your unsure who she is, it’s Mrs Bucket from Keeping Up Appearances very lucky to have her come to South Shields at the Customs House! Read the full review here. Although before that I went to see The Father on its UK Tour, which is a truly emotional experience. A very powerful and important play which really was so very impressive, it was a little bit of a shame that the theatre wasn’t very full. Read the full review here. The start of the London trip was rather brilliant when I got to experience Matthew Perry on stage in The End of Longing, which he also wrote. It was thought-provoking and well just amazing to see him on stage putting everything into the emotional performance. Great that it was on in London! Read the full review here. I went to see Wicked yes really again, as my Auntie really wanted to see it. Worked out rather well though when we went across to the theatre in the morning and got three-day seats in the front row! I guess you cannot really go wrong with Wicked though, it is powerful and has some incredible songs. I actually think I find myself recommending it when people ask what to see when in London. Read the full review here. A lucky thing was also that In The Heights had a Sunday show so I bought tickets for us to see that as I saw it many years ago on Broadway the night before it won the Tony Award. It is still as engaging as ever and was truly fantastic to see some very talented performers as we had a lot of understudies taking on the roles. Read the full review here.
May was a month for only two shows, but one of them was so amazing that I went back a few days later to see it again! That show was American Idiot, I was totally blown away by the way it was all put together with the songs mixed in with the story. Green Day do have some very powerful lyrics which were really cutting at times with the amazing acting that was on display, mainly from Newton Faulkner. Read the full review here. The other show was Joseph and the Technicolour Dreamcoat which I did not enjoy at all to be completely honest. That is bound to happen at times though when you just don’t really like a production, it was the first time of seeing this show as well. I did know most of the songs and I thought ‘Close Every Door to Me’ was done in a very good way but didn’t really fit with the rest of the crazy show. Read the full review here.
June was a very quiet month just catching The Sound of Music on its latest UK Tour, it had been many years since I had last seen this show and this was a brilliant enjoyable production. You know exactly what you are going to get with this show and I think that is something that you cannot help but love about it. Read the full review here.
July was a three show month, starting off with a new show Jackie the Musical which is based on the magazine that was out years ago. Linking the music from that era in with a flashback style story with a younger version of the character trying to help out with her current crisis. Read the full review here. Next up with a birthday trip to see Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour which had a lot of buzz around it after the Edinburgh Fringe festival. It is not for the faint hearted and has heavy swearing throughout as we follow the school girls on the adventure into the city, with some good musical moments. Read the full review here. As a birthday treat for myself I went on a day trip to London to eventually see Les Misérables it was everything I had hoped for and well even more. It is an incredible piece of theatre and really is a must see, I was blown away. Yes, I had seen the film and knew all of the songs, but to see it unfold on stage really is epic! Read the full review here. I also had a slight viral moment when the official Twitter and Facebook pages for the show put my review out on social media, which saw a huge influx of people reading my review, which was pretty exciting and I was so pleased that they liked my review to do that! Read more about that amazing moment here!
August is often a pretty tricky month at the theatre but luckily this year was a very very good month. With only two shows and a couple of extra special moments it could quite possibly be the best month? First up was a re-visit to the show that really kickstarted my love for Theatre with another UK Tour Chicago. The best thing about it though was that it is a truly fantastic production and I throughly enjoyed it, I have seen it in the West End twice and on a previous tour (which wasn’t very good, so I hadn’t seen it for a long time on stage). This was great though and I even tried to see it later in the year when it came back to the North East in Sunderland. Read the full review here. The next was a play that I had been extremely excited to see No Man’s Land because Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Patrick Stewart brought the show to Newcastle as part of the tour before settling for a stint in the West End. The play is tough going at times as it throws around all different possibilities, to see the incredible acting on stage really was very special! Read the full review here. That was then followed by a stage door visit which went very well! Patrick Stewart Stage Door. Ian McKellen Stage Door. A few days later as a Friend of the Theatre Royal you have a chance to buy tickets for an Inside View event where performers from the show come to do a talk and answer questions about the show. I was hoping that one or both of the actors would be in attendance. Here’s what happened at the Inside View!
September turned out to be a Whoopi Goldberg tribute in terms of the two shows I went to see. I did also have tickets for Cats but the week I had them for was cancelled and I didn’t manage to sort tickets for the other week. First up was the UK tour of Sister Act, which you haven’t seen it is totally different to the film in turns of all original songs. The story is exactly the same but that is the difference. The problem with the songs is that they aren’t the best that musical theatre has to offer, so I did find myself a little disappointed with this show. Read the full review here. Ghost the Musical was next up and is pretty spot on to the film as well, but again with some new songs. It think it would have been much better with a stronger leading pari, that didn’t stop me crying though when Unchained Melody was sung! Read the full review here.
October was my busiest month as I managed to fit in an incredible seven shows, this did include a three-day London trip! Sunny Afternoon on its UK tour was absolutely amazing, The Kinks have some truly incredible songs and it fit in so well with the back story of the band and how everything worked out for them. I really do recommend this one and totally understand why it had a two-year stay in the West End. Read the full review here. The London trip was because I had bought tickets for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child a year in advance. Therefore it was going to be a pretty exciting time, the play isn’t like anything you have seen in a theatre before with the incredible special effects and the mode that creates. The performances were brilliant and it really is an amazing experience if you can manage to get your hands on any tickets as its now sold out until March 2018 with Broadway plans to be announced. Read the full review for Part One here. Read the full review for Part Two here. I had then decided that Beautiful: The Carole King Musical was another I wanted to see on the trip, managed to get a great front row seat as a day seat so almost half price! It’s amazing to see the show and see how many different songs Carole King actually wrote. The show flows in such a great way and that is something that is key, I am looking forward to catching it on its UK tour next year. Read full review here. Murder Ballad: The New Musical had also just opened on a limited run with an incredible cast, it was interesting to see a new rock musical which had some very good songs. It will be interesting to see what happens to this show next. Read the full review here. I then finished the month off with Footloose: The Musical which is certainly a well put together show with some incredible songs. You will certainly know a lot more songs than you realise, not forgetting the great messages within the story. Read the full review here. Finishing off an already great month by seeing Mary Poppins (eventually) on its UK tour in Newcastle, which was another amazing experience. It really is such an incredible show, everything about it is just so magical! Read the full review here. It also had an incredible selection of merchandise on offer! Read more about that here.
November was a month with no shows!
December saw the year being signed off with a final London day trip to see Mark Rylance in Nice Fish, which was such a fantastic experience. Certainly one of the very best British stage actors of a generation. I had the ticket for this from August so to say it felt like forever to come around was something! I also had a VIP experience at the theatre with the ambassador lounge and special coat room which was very handy! The play is very thought-provoking and enjoyable from start to finish. Read the full review here. To really finish off the year in style I waited at the stage door to try to meet Mark Rylance and it was a great experience, he was lovely, signed my programme and posed for a photo. Mark Rylance – Stage Door!
There we got that was my pretty hectic year visiting many different theatre’s for many different productions and seeing some amazing performances. I will be putting together my top 10 shows of the year so I haven’t quite finished talking about 2016 just yet! I am hoping that 2017 will be just as good, with an already growing number of tickets. Thanks to an incredible seven shows for tickets from my parents!
Did you manage to see many shows at the theatre in 2016?
If so don’t forget to comment below on which ones you were lucky enough to catch over the year!