- Waiting for Godot – Oxford Playhouse, 22nd September 2006
Peter Hall’s production of Beckett’s great play toured the country under the auspices of the Theatre Royal Bath, and I decided it was high time that Mrs Chrisparkle saw a performance of it – especially with the excellent cast that included James Laurenson, Alan Dobie and Terence Rigby. Oh dear. We didn’t like it at all. Incredibly dull, sadly.
- Romeo and Juliet – Birmingham Royal Ballet at the Birmingham Hippodrome, 30th September 2006
This was the classic Kenneth MacMillan choreography to Prokofiev’s fantastic score, danced by the BRB to great, stately effect. Juliet was danced by Carol-Anne Miller, and Romeo by Dominic Antonucci. Every bit as beautiful as you would expect.
- Restoration – Headlong Theatre Company at the Oxford Playhouse, 6th October 2006
Headlong’s production of Edward Bond’s Restoration brought out all its comedy, directed by Rupert Goold. An excellent show, that transformed a play that otherwise looks rather dull on the page.
- The Three Musketeers – Northern Ballet Theatre at the Milton Keynes Theatre, 25th October 2006
Northern Ballet’s Three Musketeers was full of swish and swash, a great spectacular entertainment, choreographed by David Nixon. Danced to the music of Sir Malcolm Arnold, it was enormous fun.
- The Nutcracker – Birmingham Royal Ballet at the Birmingham Hippodrome, 25th November 2006
We took our very young niece (aged 5) to see The Nutcracker – start ‘em young, we thought. We told her that she had to be quiet during the show and if she had any questions to save them up for the interval. Bless her, when the lights went down for the show to start, and the two ladies behind her didn’t stop talking, she turned around to them and gave them a very loud SSSSHHH!!! much to everyone’s amusement. It was a charming and thoroughly entertaining show, with Georgian dancer Maia Makhateli as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Viktoria Walton as Clara.
- Richard Alston Dance Company – Swan Theatre, High Wycombe, 28th November 2006
For Mrs C’s big birthday I surprised her by not telling her that her brother and sister-in-law were flying over for it from Sydney. The evening they arrived, we all had tickets to see Richard Alston, but such was the excitement of the visit that we got there late and couldn’t get a programme. Still, I can tell from the flyer that the dances of the evening were Red Run, Volumina and The Devil in the Detail. No idea of who the dancers were though!
- Me and My Girl – Milton Keynes Theatre, 29th November 2006
We took my brother and sister-in-law to see this show and we were to meet my inlaws there as well, so they got a big surprise when they saw their oldest son at the theatre! I kept so many surprises that year! It was a good revival of Me and My Girl, a touring production from the Theatre Royal Plymouth, starring Richard Frame as Bill and Faye Tozer of Steps as Sally. Trevor Bannister was Sir John, Fascinating Aida’s Dillie Keane was the Duchess and Sylvester McCoy was The Family Solicitor, Parchester.
- Rock ‘n’ Roll – Duke of York’s Theatre, London, 9th December 2006
For a London treat for our overseas guests, we took them to see the latest Tom Stoppard play, Rock ‘n’ Roll, as my brother-in-law had very much enjoyed the Stoppard plays he had seen in the past. It starred Dominic West and David Calder, and was a retrospective look at what part Rock n Roll might have played in the drive towards freedom and democracy in the old Czechoslovakia. Pretty good, if I remember right.
- Cinderella – Festival Theatre Malvern, 27th December 2006
A family trip for ten of us, of all ages and generations, to see a family panto; and quite an odd beast it was too. Whilst it had all the usual fun you would expect, Liza Goddard’s Fairy Godmother was a little too posh for us and Tony Scannell bizarrely played Baron Hardup as an impersonation of Leslie Phillips all the way through – for absolutely no purpose whatsoever. Saving grace – and he was really excellent – was Dave Benson Phillips as Buttons, whose signature tune “Buttons, Buttons, B-U-T-T-O-N-S” we still sing whenever anyone mentions, er, buttons.
- Avenue Q – Noel Coward Theatre, London, 2nd January 2007
A last trip to London before our overseas visitors flew home, we all went to see Avenue Q and were blown away by its hilarity. One of the best shows of the modern era, its use of puppetry and saucy lyrics and characters has become a benchmark for all other shows. Our excellent cast included Julie Atherton as Kate Monster/Lucy the Slut, Jon Robyns (yes Hamilton’s King George and Les Mis’s Valjean) as Princeton/Rod, and a young Giles Terera (Hamilton’s Aaron Burr) as Gary. And which of us has never been wrong-footed by a Bad Idea Bear?