Tuesday, 4 January 2011

It All Starts Somewhere

My childhood theatre experience was pretty varied, thanks to my mum's own interest and passion in all things performance. But there are two shows that, I think, had a massive impact on me - both as a person and as a director.

Les Miserables and Blood Brothers.

I have seen both these shows more times than is possibly healthy - especially with the availability of DVDs like the 10th and, now, 25th anniversary concerts of Les Mis in particular. If you know them - both with aspects of comedy but ultimately driven by stories of hope, retribution, anger, despair and powerful music - then you will pretty much know everything you need to know about me as a person and a director. I love comedy but have an affinity for melacholic, nostalgic or thoughtful drama. There is something magical about musical theatre that theatre without music (is there such a thing?) could not match. It is often touted that 'whatever cannot be spoken is sung', and I do believe that in many ways.

When I was little I was desperate to be in the shows. In Les Mis I would be Fantine, in BB I would be Linda. As I was growing up there was a lot of flack associated with liking them. 'Oh that's a miserable show', 'What, the Liverpool thing?'...and the massive popularity that they attract meant that some people could be quite snobby about them. But the fact is that, for me at least, they were transformative experiences. Iconic productions.


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