Is it the love of the star or theatre?

I’ve been guilty of booking a ticket to a theatre production purely for the love of the star. I totally hold my hands up and, believe me, I suffered the consequences.

Being a Sherlock and Office fan, news broke out that the comical genius, Mr Martin Freeman, had the leading role in Trafalgar Studio’s Richard III. Having very limited knowledge (thank you Wikipedia) on this particular William Shakespeare play, the narrative was disregarded and the fan girl within me bounced on my chair, hurrying the little moon walking man across my screen. Wanting the best house seats, £160 left my bank account with an au revoir.

Months waiting for the special day, the word tweet on street Twitter was the Freeman was sick and pulling out of performances. Not knowing whether it was a heavy cold, extreme sickness or nursing a hangover, I prayed for his swift recovery. Booking a peak Saturday evening performance, I was in safe territory. Little did I know a bomb was about to detonate.

“Excuse me, is Martin Freeman performing tonight?”

“Unfortunately,  Mr Freeman is unable to perform due to illness”

Now, if gutted had a face, it would be mine. Clutching an email address on a paper slip for compensation, the understudy stood no chance and my night was ruined…..

To my surprise (not only with his name), Philip Cumbus taught me a fine lesson. This production could still function without the Freeman price tag. Richard III was the celebration of William Shakespeare’s work with a twisted and claustrophobic Office-like set with no David Brent in sight.

My child tantrum transformed into an appreciative nod to the joys of traditional theatre. The creative Jamie Lloyd spin and the delights of blood splatting on the audience truly made my evening. The production inspired me to read Richard III, explore Jamie Lloyd’s portfolio and become a fan of the tiny Trafalgar Studios along with their other productions.

But in all seriousness, this experience crashed me back to reality. I was blinded by the powers of the celebrity and theatre shouldn’t be governed by this factor. The powers of marketing distorts our focus on what’s important: the script, the production set, the sound, the theatre itself…and….okay perhaps the talented cast. My point being I was sucked into this fan girl madness, which I absolutely detest, neglecting my love for the theatre.

So ask yourself when booking your next theatre ticket “is it for the love of the star or the theatre”. If it is for the love of star, be prepared for your lesson!

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