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5 Shows I'd Most Like To See When Theatre Returns

5 Shows I'd Most Like To See When Theatre Returns
A man with a message for the teenagers

Unfortunately, it looks like we'll have to wait a while longer for theatre to return in full force - and our thoughts are with all the arts workers (still) awaiting Government intervention...

On a cheerier note, we're dreaming of when we can welcome back shows - and what we'd most love to see once theatre reopen! BWW reviewer Gary Naylor shares his choices.

A Little Night Music

Stephen Sondheim's beautiful waltzes weave in and out of Hugh Wheeler's book, evoking a long balmy night in the short, but oh so beautiful, Swedish summer. Everyone knows that time has been wasted, sliding imperceptibly through the fingers, and there's always a wry, sad smile at the memory.

With no theatre and much else left undone in this strangest of summers, its resonance would be all the sharper. Petra, the free-spirited maid, has the right philosophy for post-Covid times, grabbing life as it hurtles past in "The Miller's Son". I'll cheer that number the next time I hear it.

Salad Days

Posh types graduate from Oxford and acquire a magic piano, while there's some spying going on with those pesky Russians. Oh, and there's a flying saucer too.

Julian Slade and Dorothy Reynolds' musical is indescribably bonkers (I know, I've tried), but you leave the theatre skipping, humming and remembering your own Salad Days, when love came with no strings attached and everything was just another jape in that brief lacuna between a child's innocent freedom and an adult's weighty responsibility.

Every single song is perfect. Here's one for 2020 - "We Said We Wouldn't Look Back".


Death has been too much in the news. "Regrettably, 127 of those testing positive for Covid-19 died in the last 24 hours." The only way to deal with night after night of those statements is to push them out of one's mind - and as for imagining the total toll... well, in every sense, one just can't.

Gilbert and Sullivan's topsy-turvy comic opera is all about death and, paradoxically, that's exactly what we need. It's absurdity would reset my attitude towards death's inevitability - you never fear something quite as much if you can laugh at it.

Sir Ruthven Murgatroyd must commit a crime every day to stay alive, but he's not much of a criminal; one rather thinks he'd wash his hands for one "Happy Birthday" - and not the required two - and pass that off as his duty under the curse. (There's a bit of this bad Baron in all of us, isn't there?)

It's all silly of course, but there's real wit in the songs and the tunes are unforgettable. Here's my favourite, the spectres' joyous holiday "When The Night Wind Howls".

Three Sisters

Why don't they just bloody well go to Moscow then?

Maybe the last few months has given us all an insight into why it wasn't quite so simple for Olga, Masha and Irina to just get on with it. Like us, they long for a larger world than the one in which we have been confined, and yet...

Will theatregoers return to the places they love? Will a "Mostly Clear" be enough, because an "All Clear" looks a long way off just now. For those of us who look at public transport and consider our outcomes should a cough or sneeze from another land awkwardly, the West End looks as far away as Moscow did to the Prozorova girls.

Chekhov, whose plays offer me more on repeat viewings than any other playwright's, would have much to say about how we live and think right now. A few hours lockdown with a genius will tell me much about my own mind.

Julius Caesar

On both sides of the Atlantic (and elsewhere too of course), political leaders surround themselves with Yes Men, preside over parties in which dissent must be whispered else it is crushed, and look out at a populace all too ready to be roused to something close to anarchy.

The plotters saw off the Emperor whose ambition was shrouded in a deceitful refusal to seize complete power, but what came after was war and betrayal. as the vacuum was filled by Mark Antony's ruthless eye for the main chance.

"Be careful what you wish for" (a theme not uncommon in Shakespeare) is a key message of the play, but how would that come across as hospitals fill with second wave patients and streets with protestors?

Which shows are you most looking forward to seeing post-lockdown? Let us know @BroadwayWorldUK!

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