Along with the invitation to renew the annual subscription from the Royal Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh this year, came an invitation to join Mark Thomson for a glass of wine and informal chat in the stalls. I’m up for that.
So were several others. A cheery group of annual subscribers gathered and, while one man said he’d been a subscriber for around twenty years, we generally avoided any competition over that.
Me? Well, it’s continuous since 1983, as you ask.
Mark sensibly got the gripes out of the way early. We did not enjoy Guid Sisters – possibly one exception. It was nominated for an award as were six of last year’s seven productions. Personally, Guid sisters is the closest I’ve come to leaving a Lyceum production before the end. Why could one lady not see all the action in Doll’s House. Theatre was written for performance centre stage. I suppose that’s the declamatory style much favoured in the nineteenth century. Now, directors want folk to move. So what’s the defence? Theatre design and, by the way, if you want to watch square on there’s always the tv. This actually chimes with something I heard from the head manager at the EFT: not everyone wants a seat where they can read the super-titles.
Praises: a lady from the Borders is so pleased that the theatre does matinées as it enables her to get home afterwards. Taking Over the Asylum was universally enjoyed.
There’s no Shakespeare next year because there’s no place one would fit the overall arc of productions. Fair enough. And Edinburgh audiences don’t necessarily come out for Shakespeare.
The Young Lyceum will be in performance in July. A version of A Christmas Carol will be this year’s Christmas Show, with some music and suitable for all ages.
How are the actors chosen? Best person for the part, although some will always find a home.
I missed the end as I had another engagement, but it was a good exercise and one I hope they might repeat.