I can say, without a doubt, that this has been one of the most calm, carefully detailed, closely honed and confident techs I have ever been involved in. I think our initial audience were as stunned as we were to see such an accomplished show on our very first night. The butterflies in my stomach were all dancing a jig. It was quite glorious.
I’ve been trying to pin down what made this week so enjoyably smooth. This company (back-, front-, around- and on- stage) is a crafty collection of old friends, close colleagues and incredibly hard workers and the formula they have created is one of universal respect, understanding and negotiation. Paines Plough and the Royal Court team get on like a theatre on fire. Problems, glitches and minor melt-downs are taken on as ‘challenges’ and the smiles, sighs, jokes and jests only help to oil the cogs in this titanic Love, Love, Love-machine. (Cheesy? Me? But, of course!)
The most exciting part of watching this show every night is seeing the performers in their element. And they are simply magical. Afterwards, in the bar, hearing about the nerves and adrenaline, the tiny mishaps that no one but actors notice, the moments where improvisation was necessary, is hilarious and as always, completely inspiring. “Good theatre only happens when the actors are doing their proper job: playing with immediacy, with vulnerability, which means with complete honesty.” (Alfreds)
But it’s not only the performers that are doing their job to such a high level. Lighting, sound, design, technicalities and of course, direction, seamlessly compliment this extraordinary piece of writing.
I was telling the cast after our first Preview that it is hard to explain, but watching the show is quite high-inducing. And, because I happen to be reading his tomb at the moment, Mike Alfreds again sums it up beautifully. Great theatre, he opines, is “A fix of life itself”.
Those five words are really all you need.
Come and see this show.
By Caitlin McLeod