It may sound corny, but one of my favourite things to do is go see a play. When I was younger, I would go perhaps once every one or two months, because my parents would take me and each of these occasions were extra-special. Now with my independence comes the freedom to gorge myself on plays and thus in these past few months I have been going more and more; most of my allowance now goes on theatre trips as opposed to dresses - is it a crime to confess that?
One of my good friends always pronounces the word 'theatre' as thee-etter. Rhyming with better. I can never fail to laugh at this height of pretension, because to me, theatre (pronounced the normal way) is an entirely un-pretentious experience. The last time I went to see a film, it cost me more than the play I'd seen the weekend before that. I'm not rich by any means, and I appreciate that I'm very lucky because in London, there is such a wealth of theatres, all offering a million and one ways of procuring cheap, or even free tickets. I am very proud of the fact that I have recently seen two plays absolutely free.
Today I got the news that I am going to attend a press night for a play and write a short review for it - that is what inspired me to write this ode to plays. Why do I love them? They pull you in, make you laugh, make you sad and make you think. The atmosphere in a theatre beats a film any day. Plus something about a bargain ticket seems to thrill me.
But I have a problem. As I have said, I am going to this play not as a theatre-goer, but as a critic. And to me, criticising a play is as alien as, well, aliens. The one time I can remember not enjoying a play, it was the hottest day of the year and I was in an open air theatre, completely alone without any suncream or sunhat watching a word-for-word production of Shakespeare's Macbeth, a play I'd never seen or read before at the time. I think that's understandable, but the premier of a new play by an acclaimed author (co-incidentally I'm taking aforementioned good friend)? I'm not sure I'll be able to find anything not to like.
A picture I took of the stage in my pre-show excitement when seeing Rainman last month