Rhiannon Reflects on 18 months without theatre and BEING BACK!

#Tweetingit – Rhiannon reflects in 140 characters – What on earth have I done for 18 months? Some fun things, but the theatre void was odd. Get to the theatre and enjoy everything it brings!

Since 23 August 2014 The Roman Catholic Church beatified Pope Paul VI, Cuba and the US re-established diplomatic relations, ending 54 years of hostility, Princess Charlotte was born. Richard Attenborough, Joan Rivers, Leonard Nimoy, David Bowie and Alan Rickman died, Lip Sync Battles became a thing, I’ve been a bridesmaid 3 times, got three new jobs, and I haven’t written a single review. In fact, I have only seen a couple of shows in that time!

But as you will have seen, as of Monday, I AM BACK. I took a bit of an hiatus from theatre, and reviewing but I am back into the swing of it, ready and raring to go with a diary full of shows to see and lots of ideas for things to write about and I am a bit overly excited about it!

So, this is me reflecting on what I have been filling my time with, and, mores to the point, what it’s been like not going to the theatre in 18 months.

Now, I know I am incredibly lucky to go to the theatre so regularly and that the majority of people  don’t go to the theatre so often –  that 18 months without the theatre is a normal thing, and so I don’t want to make a big deal out of it but a number of people have asked me what on earth I am filling my time with, that prior to my last blog post, my answer to “what are you up to tonight” was always “I am going to a show at x.” and then it stopped.  In reality, it is my main hobby; the thing I talk about most, and love talking about, the hobby which results in me getting to spend one on one time with my friends, pre and post show, allows me to see a selection of amazing (and some not so amazing) shows with them, chat about them afterwards and then spread the word afterwards to colleagues, family and, sometimes, complete strangers. I love it and part of why I write here is to encourage others to try out something new, go to see something they wouldn’t usually choose to see and explore all of the amazing little theatres around London.

So, what have I been doing? As I said above, I have been a bridesmaid 3 times; three hen dos to plan, three dress shopping trips to do, and three of everything else that comes with being a bridesmaid! This has taken up a lot of time and was amazing to be involved in! And the person I was bridesmaid for prior to stopping blogging has had a the first baby if it friendship group and I try to see him as often as I can!

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I have also changed job a couple of times. I moved to the Ministry of Justice and had two jobs there and have just started at TfL. This most recent move is allowing me slightly more time to get back to this

I have also watched A LOT of TV. For starters, Making a Murderer took over my life for a month while I binged watched it and then raved about it to anyone who would listen! Serial was basically the same (if you haven’t watched/listened to these shows, DO – go now, you won’t regret it!)

But ultimately, I have missed theatre. I have avoided Time Out so that I didn’t see what was on or what I have missed. I neglected Twitter for similar reasons. When you’re at the theatre seeing a show, whether that be a play, musical, ballet, cabaret or whatever else floats your boat, you’re not thinking about the world outside beyond the curtained off auditorium doors; you’re focussed purely on what’s going on stage; sucked into the world created by everyone involved, whatever else is going on, no longer matters for a couple of hours. And it isn’t just the show itself, it’s the whole experience; drinks prior to the show, discussing it after, recommending it to people,  fondly remembering it later. Ok, so there are shows you will see which you will remember for them being awful, but in the main, there’s always something good you can find in all theatre trips – even if it’s that you found a great new restaurant next to the theatre or got thoroughly drunk and had a giggly time with the friend you’re with to get through it.

And so, after my 18 months of no theatre, I would like to encourage everyone else to not leave it that length of time and experience everything that the theatre brings with it. I have been chatting to some colleagues who told me they didn’t go to the theatre often because they aren’t “educated” enough in theatre; they don’t know what to go to, where to look or where to begin choosing. I explained to them my views on it –the problem is that people go to the theatre as a treat, spending 100s of pounds on a huge West End show which ends up not quite hitting the spot or that they feel wasn’t worth the money and then another year goes by before they go again. Yes, West End shows are fabulous but why not find some of the amazing studio or pub theatres which are scattered around London and go to an off west end show which will cost you the same as a couple of pints? Often, they’ll be the best show you’ll ever see (see Translunar Paradise which I saw in the studio at The Marlowe Theatre Canterbury and continues to be the most incredible production I have ever encounteredhttps://playhousepickings1.wordpress.com/2014/05/16/translunar-paradise-november-2013/)

Have a look in Time Out or www.londontheatre.co.uk/londontheatre/whatsonor designmynight.com  ( no sponsorship here, they’re  just my go to for everything that’s coming up in and around London) and just pick something at random. You’ll soon find a theatre you love or a genre you didn’t know you would like.

So that’s me – I am so happy to be back and looking forward to all the incredible shows I have booked in to review.

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About Playhouse Pickings

Theatre blog run by Rhiannon Lawson; a civil servant, extreme tea drinker and theatre reviewer.
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