Edited to Add: This uploaded incomplete. Thank you so much to the commenter who pointed that out. Not totally sure why, but the full version is now here!
I’ve had a very busy January 2017: I was at home for the last week of my Christmas vacation for the first week of January, then came back to Cambridge a week early to record a CD with Selwyn College Chapel Choir and Regent Records (of the music of Iain Quinn, coming 2019 – more on that sometime nearer the time). During those two weeks I was also trying to finish off my first dissertation (on contemporary performances of Shakespeare and the use of female actors) and get the ball rolling quickly on my second (on the role of children in the work of Caryl Churchill). The final two weeks of January have been the first two weeks of term in Cambridge (my penultimate term, which is slightly overwhelming: it’s going so fast!). I’ve had my ordinary term commitments (essay writing, dissertations, lectures and seminars), ordinary choir commitments (3 services a week, and an additional rehearsal) and then extra rehearsals for a concert in Kings Chapel of Mahler’s Third Symphony (more on that later). As you will know if you read last week’s post, I’ve also been producing Cigarettes and Chocolate (on next Tuesday and Wednesday at the ADC theatre, you can book here). Oh and working as a Duty Manager at the Corpus Playroom for a couple of evenings as well! (To all my irl friends who read this and who I don’t get in touch with personally often enough – this is why. I’m so sorry.)
All that said, I’ve still tried to make some time to go to the theatre to see plays (well, a play)!
I went to see Annie Get Your Gun at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield before I came back to Cambridge, on the 3rd of January.
I had a fantastic night. I’m not sure what I think of the musical itself; I’m certainly pleased that the Crucible chose to use the modernised version which omits the racial slurs considered acceptable when it was first presented, and I suppose the ending is supposed to suggest that even Frank Butler comes to recognise that it isn’t actually fundamentally reductive of his talents to realise that Annie is still more talented than he, but I still wasn’t certain about some of the aspects of it. (Annie’s desperation to gain Frank’s approval, notably.) That said; the production was phenomenal, and, like I said, I had a great night. The choreography was absolutely outstanding, as was the singing. Anna-Jane Casey (playing Annie) particularly blew me away with her powerful voice and hilarious performance. I also enjoyed Ben Lewis’s performance as Frank, and Lauren Hall and Cleve September as Winnie and Tommy who sang well and danced beautifully. (Watch out for Cleve September in Hamilton in the West End if you’re lucky enough to have tickets!)
The set was very impressive, particularly the train which moved around the back of the stage: the seamless movement in a circle and by the time a carriage had made the whole way around it had changed entirely in content. The lighting and sound were less impressive; there were a couple of mic balancing issues in the opening scenes, despite this being well into the run, and while the lighting design was good, the hats worn by most of the male members of the cast left them with half a face in shadow a lot of the time.
All that said, it was still a great evening and I left feeling very happy. (Cue joke about showbusiness, nothing being like it and my aspirations…)
I’m hoping to see more theatre in February, and I’ll be back next week with my recommendations for theatre in February, and the following week I’ll let you know how Cigarettes and Chocolate went (did you buy tickets yet? If not, you can here!).