I cant remember when – but lets agree it was many years ago – I was first taken to the old Leeds Playhouse. In quick succession I saw Charleys Aunt and Toad in Toad hall with the same actor playing the lead in both roles. Before I knew it I was hooked – poop poop as toad would say.
Then through my teenage years I think I probably developed dramatic crushes on various leading ladies. There was Alexandra Mathie playing serious roles in Mamet, Hare and Chekhov at Harrogate Theatre. There was the wonderfully named Anastasia Mulrooney at the west yorks playhouse in a season called Lifelines* which effectively introduced me to new writing. Then there was the actress who played the Marilyn Monroe role in Sugar which I saw some five times!
At the same time for the princely sum of 4 quid or thereabouts Id go and sit in the upper circle of the Grand Theatre & Opera North. I saw an early version of Matthew Bournes Nutcracker , Brittens Gloriana, a mozart mash up called The Jewel Box and all the usual staple fare. From the Upper Gallery you quickly saw the life of the brass section…play the overture..disappear off to the pub where Id see them at half time before returning nicely lubricated for the finale. (no such opportunity in tonights show for the brass section!)
Im writing all this as I head off for the first time to the new wolsey, ipswich with what Richard O Brien would call a shiver of an-ti-ci-pation!
And thats the point – that anticipation has come as a result of what happened in my teenage years. For me the formulae was simple – first my parents took me, then school took me then later I could take advantage of dirt cheap tickets which meant I’d take the risk on seeing anything and everything – from complicite to opera, from volcanos V to shakespeare.
I hope its the same for todays youngsters
And by the way I thoroughly enjoyed the show – Guys and Dolls – delivered with chutzpa and gusto throughout. . Well worth going to see!
*The lifelines season included work by Kay Mellor (Band of Gold etc) where the above mentioned Anastasia Mulrooney played opposite Gaynore Faye – Mellor’s daughter and now a well known face from a stint on ‘Corrie’. Anyway the point of this ramble is Kay Mellor’s A Passionate Woman is playing the New Wolsey – starring the author herself. Now thats got to be worth a look