“To enter a theatre for a performance is to be inducted into a magical space, to be ushered into the sacred arena of the imagination.”
Simon Callow, Charles Dickens and the Great Theatre of the World
This is an article I wrote some time ago for Your Life Choices magazine. It’s about my love of theatre – something which hasn’t changed – and I really wanted to share it here. But, please note, some of the shows mentioned may no longer be appearing on in the West End.
I’m something of a theatre tragic. I love extravagant big-band musicals, Shakespeare and all the classics. I admire shows that challenge the audience, or introduce new and inventive ideas. Quite frankly, I’ll watch anything that calls itself theatre. For several years I worked as an usher at Melbourne’s Regent Theatre, humming along to famous show tunes. So it’s hardly surprising that on my last visit to London I decided to immerse myself in a week in the West End.
Bordered by The Strand, Kingsway, Oxford and Regent Streets, the West End is the largest theatre district in the world. It’s a hive of activity. Every second shop offers theatre tickets, all claiming the cheapest and best seats in town. A prominent billboard advertises Spamalot, while just around the corner, I discover St Martin’s Theatre, home to the world’s longest running show, Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap, which opened in 1952.