I see a couple of examples today of members having seen shows that they ended up hating, despite popular opinion on the board, and others feeling uninspired about booking something and asking for fellow members to sell it to them.
It’s interesting to read here how people will go into things with very low expectations, or to tick a show off the list. How often are you wrong? Do you consider exploring new productions which you might dislike or even hate part of your theatregoing experience? Or do you cringe at the money you’ve wasted on stuff you had a feeling you wouldn’t like?
I’m coming to the conclusion that my gut feeling is pretty reliable. I can’t actually remember a time when I’ve hated the sound of something, seen it, and been converted. And as a result I now book fewer things on the off chance that my gut feeling about it will be wrong. That’s not to say I love everything I see, but most of the time if my initial reaction is that I’ll not like something then I won’t.
So how often does your gut feeling about a show turn out to be wrong? And have you changed your booking habits as a result of too many disappointments?
Last Edit: Sept 10, 2019 10:15:22 GMT by BurlyBeaR
My biggest lesson of the last couple of years has been going with my gut about shows I love and seeing them again. I would never have done that but I find i get so much from repeated views that I want to do it more.
I find that I get picky if I go to too much stuff. Once a week is enough for me, probably happier fortnightly. I’m lucky that I have a bunch of flexibility so I want to try booking things last minute a bit more. I think the immediacy might help me, rather than the long months of knowing something’s in the calendar.
I think I have the following heuristics;
A solid play (Death of a Salesman for example) is always worth seeing. Plays with good bones are always worth the time and I rarely regret them. I struggle with juvenilia and marginalia (An American Clock) Related - I will never see anything that Rachel Chavkin is involved in ever again I love the Olivier stage and I’ll punt on anything there (unless Rachel Chavkin is involved. I’ll stop now.) Modern musicals are a challenge for me and I need to listen to the score before I book, regardless of how much the subject matter appears to be exactly in my wheelhouse. I’ll see anything Marianne Elliot is involved in.
A solid play (Death of a Salesman for example) is always worth seeing. Plays with good bones are always worth the time and I rarely regret them.
I would say that about classic musicals. There's usually enough dancing and good tunes in them to keep me engaged.
Modern musicals? Not so much. I usually give them 1-2 spins on Spotify to see if the music speaks to me. Too often I made the mistake that I didn't care for the cast recordings - whether it was the music, the story or the characters - and went to see it anyway, then walked away disappointed. Though I'll divide them into two categories - some I'm curious enough about to give them a chance on a cheap ticket (like Dear Evan Hansen soon), others I like so little, I just avoid them.
Plays? Well, I don't see so many. I usually base my decisions on casting or, in some cases, an intriguing story. Having only just heard of Secret River at the NT for example, I would love to see it as I read the book years ago and I think it's such a great subject to bring to the stage.
I am trying to think have there been things I though were going to be good but didn't like or the other way round. I mean most of it has come down to the creative dicisions for production or the acting. I saw a few years ago Measure for Measure. I had never read it but seen a few plays at the Globe. I find it difficult to read although I can read play easier I really don't challenge myself with Shakespeare. Anyway, I honestly couldn't tell you what was doing on. It was all over the place the acting by some of the performers was dreadful. I spent my time wondering how long it was going on for and should I leave. Then I saw a production at the Young Vic which was completely different. They did also cut out a few bits which really made it run better. I was gutted I got a 2nd ticket for the Globe and never went and and the YV one sold out.
When I first saw Wicked I wasn't keen on it. It was okay but not great.
I think my reservations about the concert version of Les Mis was very true. It is by far now a Boe/Ball/Lucas/Fletcher show with some other people who they couldn't even be bothered to put up proper posters on the building for the rest of the leads and just slapped a flyer on the wall. Or as I put it - it looked like they run out of money half way installing the posters and though sod it that will do.
I remember seeing a show at St James' (now Other Palace) that EVERYONE compelety sla**ed off and I actually though it was quite good. I mean wouldn't win awards but decent.
I saw Yank everyone reallyed loved it. I loved it but not as a musical. It would be much better as a play with music.
I did see a show The Stripper directed by the one who did Toxic Avenger at St James'. The show itself was done by Richard O'Brien. Being a Rocky fan. It was awful. It was made worse by being immersive with the lead actor going up to audience members and hugging them. It was the most akward thing I had ever watched in my life. I had a 2nd ticket and never went back.
Last Edit: Sept 10, 2019 12:13:52 GMT by kimbahorel
When I got my ATG card about 4 years ago, I booked most discounted things at my local theatre (Bristol Hippodrome), but got burned by the dreadful (IMO) Breakfast at Tiffany's, Flashdance and The Mikado. I've been lucky in the West End, with the notable recent exception of Present Laughter which I hated, so am tempted to stick to safe things which I'm pretty sure I'll enjoy due to personal recommendations or the fact am already familiar with them. My current dilemma is Six - I have only seen TV performances and thought the lyrics were cheesy and some of the accents irritating. I wonder if I would actually like it live but am not prepared to take the risk at the moment.
An actor in a leading role, director, writer I don't like is a red flag for me and if a synopsis doesn't grab me or its about a topic I'm not really interested in then again its a no. I don't see the point in seeing things for the point of seeing things.
Six being a good current example - none of the creatives or cast get my juices flowing and I'm really not that interested in foreign history to shell out on it. The Lyceum putting something on in the current season starring Elaine C Smith also is an automatic boycott for me.
Post by Serial Shusher on Sept 10, 2019 13:11:42 GMT
Pretty much everything I had booked prior to seeing at Edinburgh Fringe this year I had a 'gut feeling' about, that turned out to be on point. Just one that I can think of that didn't live up to the expectations, but that was an audience participation show that was misguided by an audience member. 9/10 time my intuition is correct. Sometimes I'll ignore my intuition and go out of curiosity and end up not enjoying it - whether that's because of a preconception or not I am not sure.
This is indeed correct - but it's also a learned response!
I think at a certain level of theatregoing experience your gut reaction is a pretty reliable guide because it *is* a learned response.
When you have less experience it is worth seeing things that don't have immediate appeal because you make great discoveries. I remember very early on in my theatregoing career being persuaded by rave reviews to see this Shakespeare play at the National I was only vaguely familiar with starring a bloke I'd never heard of and an actress I sort of knew off a TV sitcom.
It was Much Ado About Nothing, starring Zoe Wanamaker and Simon Russell Beale.