A Day at the Theatre

Saturday 25th June, 2011

The day started as usual, but it would be anything but usual. It would be incredible!

Act One

The morning came and went as usual then, after lunch, we walked over to my nan’s house. Once we knew she was ready, we ordered a taxi to take us to the Palace Theatre in Watford. When we arrived, we looked around the entrance lobby at the photos and prints on display, before buying a programme and heading to our seats. Our seats were in the second row, almost dead centre, so we had a perfect view of the show. The show began on time, at 14:45 and we sat back to watch the Rare Productions Youth Theatre Groups ‘Disney’s Camp Rock: The Musical’. Now I know I keep saying that I don’t like musicals, but Alysha was one of the Principal Dancers, and I always try to see her shows. (Usually the matinee, so we can take my nan.) Anyway, having seen quite a few musicals recently, (Hello Mister Capello & Company), I am getting quite used to them. Well, Alysha was brilliant as usual, which made up for the odd mistake made by other cast members, getting the odd line wrong. Granted Alysha wasn’t perfect but she was by far the best. There were a few other dancers that stood out, such as Leanne Flannigan as Axel and Klara Gashi. Natasha Chambers and Seb Kainth as Mitchie and Shane, I thought were exceptional. At the interval Emma and I bought ice cream for us all before the second act. Once Act Two was over, we made our way to the theatre lobby, to await Alysha. It didn’t take her long to find us milling around with the other parents and friends. We didn’t talk for long as Alysha was anxious to go to Nando’s for lunch with some of the cast members, so we said our goodbyes and ordered a taxi to take us back to nan’s. Once nan was safely back at home, Emma and I headed home to get a quick bite to eat and await the arrival of Len and Em-J.  

Act Two

Em-J and Len arrived at about 18:30ish and we made our way to Rickmansworth. Em-J drove and we parked in the car park just off the High Street, outside The Coach & Horses, as it was free and particularly empty. We then took a short stroll down the High Street towards Watersmeet Theatre, where we were going to watch the PHEOS MUSICAL Players presentation of ‘Fiddler on the Roof.’ It turns out that Len had never been to the Theatre before, so this was to be a real treat for him. Once inside the theatre we bought a drink and made our way to our seats, which were front row to the right of the stage. Before the lights were extinguished, I looked around the theatre and spotted a few people I knew from the hospital. Pretty soon the theatre was full and the lights dimmed and the play began. (Now, I don’t normally get goosebumps when watching stage shows, but seeing Steve Brown in his costume and beard (real) in the role of ‘Tevye’, a role that he had always dreamt of playing, I was filled with enormous pride for him.) Well, the next hour and forty minutes were enthralling! Steve played the character to a tee and his voice was perfect. The walk and demeanour that the Steve brought to the character were spot-on. Not once did it seem that Steve was imitating the greats. Somehow, he had managed to bring a little of himself to a very iconic role and truly made it his own. (Before you start thinking that I am just saying this to because Steve is my friend, you are WRONG. Steve knows me well enough, as do many others, that if I thought his performance was wanting, I would tell him.) Surfice it to say that that first act was one of the best I have ever seen on stage. There was a 20 minute interval before the second act, so we disappeared to the bar and bought another drink. Len seemed really impressed, apart from his back was going stiff (old age) from the theatre chairs. Once Len had limbered up we headed back inside for the second act. The second act, although shorter than the first, was just as enthralling and was quite moving in some scenes, which were played to perfection. As the show finished and the cast took their bows, the applause began to rise. Then, with Steve the last actor on stage, I saw a few people rise to their feet and give a standing ovation. It was truly an incredible play. After the show we waited in the downstairs lobby, to greet the man himself. After the congratulations and hand-shaking, hugs and kisses, Steve posed for a photo with the four of us. We then went back upto the bar to have a drink with him, before heading home. A mention has to made of Sue Reynolds (Golde) who was brilliant as the wife. Her voice was incredible and hit every note. Also, Jessica Bergman (Chava) and Tamsyn Wheatley (Hodel) played the roles of the daughters who go about things differently were brilliant. Alice Ingham (Tzeital) gave an almost perfect performance. Brad Hatton (Motel), Les Broude (Perchik) and Martyn Jackson(Fyedka) were simply great to watch. Julian Ardouin (Lazar Wolf) gave a quite reserved, but powerful, performance as the Butcher. The set design was brilliant and the music top-notch, but the entire show belonged to Steve as Tevye. This was the first PHEOS production I had seen having missed ‘Follies’ and‘Oklahoma!’, their last two productions, but I would see them again, even if Steve isn’t in the show!

Now, until the review comes out, this is what people have said of the show.

Chantal – Steve was phenomenal!

Andy Milne – Absolutely Cracking!

Annalise – What a part, What a voice, what a man!

Ray – A well deserved success!

Annette – Steve was fantastic!

Gary – Amazing!

Emma – A great performance by Steve!

Jane – Steve was Incredible. What a voice!

Tom – A first class performance. Legendary!

Em-J – Very proud of him. Awesome!

Len – Brilliant!

Daryl – All of the above… and more!

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