Is our love of theatre facing the final curtain?

As a lover of the theatre I was sad to hear the news that musicals were having their last curtain call.

As a lover of the theatre I was sad to hear the news that musicals were having their last curtain call. Musicals like Full Monty, Here to Eternity and Viva Forever are being axed off the world of the West End.

If you have seen Viva Forever, like I have in London then let’s just say that I am not exactly surprised that it got cut but that’s another story. Written by the fabulous Jennifer Saunders, that musical only lasted for seven months – again, if I were to tell why that would be another separate article in itself!

Into another planet

But in a bizarre twist of events, shows that have been nominated for an Olivier Award are being axed and as a theatre-lover and regular visitor, that doesn’t make sense. The Full Monty that launched in the Noel Coward Theatre on the 20th February was due to run into the summer but sadly it finished on the 29th of March this year.

Why I hear you ask as all of you gasp in shock? This is primarily because the show was not selling enough tickets. Despite this, the show received glowing reviews from critics so it’s quite a shame to see it go.

As an ex-performer and now somebody who prefers to be in the audience, I can’t understand it. I love going to review shows—the theatre takes you out of your hectic lifestyle and thrusts you into another planet.

Even Andrew Lloyd Webber who is in my opinion the king of all that is musical has had a battle of saving his musical Stephen Ward which was about the 1960 profumo affair. It had only been open for a mere four weeks when it closed March 29th.

And it appears that April Fools came early for theatre land this year. Sir Tim Rice’s producer from Here to Eternity closed after six months – similarly to Full Monty it just simply wasn’t getting enough visitors.

I wonder if it is the plot or the price that is putting people off from going to see a performance. As a reviewer myself, I ask you if you read the reviews before you to see a play and do they have an effect on your purchase of tickets.

Or is it a case of if you like the sound of a musical and have camped outside to get tickets to Wicked. I have never done this as I have seen Wicked as part of a school trip but it is currently on tour and I have seen people at my local theatre camp outside to get tickets – that my readers is dedication.

That is what confuses me about shows that are of the razzle dazzle nature. Musicals such as We Will Rock You, The Lion King, Phantom of the Opera and The Book of Mormon to name just a mere few are examples of many musicals that are still up and running.

It doesn’t make it right that other shows should be affected.

What do you think of the state of theatre at the West End? Have your say in the comments section below.

Image: ell brown / Flickr