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Equus national tour: Act II in Bradford

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Scripps2
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Equus national tour: Act II in Bradford#1
Posted: 4/20/08 at 12:18pm
I cantered off down to the Sheffield Lyceum with several friends last night to see the national tour of Equus. After we took our seats there seemed to a longer-than-usual time between the ushers closing the auditorium doors and the curtain going up, but this was quickly forgotten as the packed house quickly became rivetted by the drama unfolding in front of them.

My friends and I, being new to Equus, spent the interval trying to work out was going to happen in the second act and took our seats expectantly. Another longer-than-usual time passed before Simon Callow appeared front-of-house (I think that's the right expression) to tell the audience that they were about to be disappointed: the wires operating the safety curtain had snapped and the curtain couldn't be raised for Act II.

The audience were told to contact the box-office on Monday for refunds and it was suggested we could try and get tickets when Equus is in Bradford in a few weeks time. There were some calls from audience members asking for Simon to tell how the play finished, which he declined and the audience gave a sympathetic round of applause. Except those (me included) who chose to express their disappointment with silence.

The wires snapped? Isn't there a planned preventative maintenance program to prevent this sort of thing?
Updated On: 4/29/08 at 12:18 PM
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winston89
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I too think that there are ways around this to fix the problem. If worse came to worse it could have been operated by hand.
"If you try to shag my husband while I am still alive, I will shove the art of motorcycle maintenance up your rancid little Cu**. That's a good dear" Tom Stoppard's Rock N Roll
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The safety curtain is also known as the "iron" for very good reason. It is a heavy beast! Unlike other flown elements, it is usually separate from the rest of the grid , having its own counter-weight system. As a result, there is unlikely to be a back-up. The touring show would be helpless. Needless to say, it should be very well-maintained, so it would seem something very unexpected happened.

In London, each theatre employs its own fireman, (this is not required specifically in the provinces), but even he/ she would be unable to fix the fire curtain if it broke in similar circumstances.

Sorry to hear about your disappointment. If you want to know how Equus ends- here's a clue, it ain't happy- drop me a PM
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We're going to try and get tickets for the Bradford performances. If the same thing happens at the Bradford Alhambra (which I think is a much better theatre anyway) then I will be PMing you Dev.
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Fair enough! Forget what I said about it not being happy at the end. And watch out for the big musical number at the end. And the trapeze...

There, now you have to go to Bradford!

(I worked on a tour years ago and got so much hate mail it's unbelievable! Damn crazy animal lovers!)
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This is kinda off topic... WOOOH Scripps thinks my local theatre's good! I live about 10 mins away from the Alhambra. The posters are practically everywhere from Equus! They are just too scary!
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Double post... oops!
Updated On: 4/20/08 at 01:37 PM
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As Devonian says an iron is exactly that and is there for safety. When the Savoy Theatre burned down in the late 80s it took them almost 5 months remove the safety curtain.
A young actress with Noel coward after a dreadful opening night performance said to him 'Well, i knew my lines backwards this morning!'' Noels fast reply was ''Yes dear, and thats exactly how you said them tonight'!'
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Wicked:
They don't look that heavy but what do I know!

musicalfan07:
I prefer the Bradford Alhambra to the Sheffield Lyceum and also to those two Air Craft Hangers in Manchester. It has much better public space, decent sized and accessible bars and a good number of toilets. It also looks better from the outside, especially at night when all the lights are lit. I haven't been to the Leeds Grand since its refurb but, prior to that, the Bradford Alhambra was preferable to that as well.
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Back in the 80s a national tour of 'Babes In Arms' went out with Mathew Kelly and Su Pollard. I caught the show in Swansea on its opening night., First act went well and it was a great production. The iron was dropped for the interval. It didn't rise again for 4 days. After 20 mins of the resident stage crew doing all they could it did rise to about 3ft. The company were behind the curtain waiting and as soon as it rose they did the whole of the act 2 opening number just being visible from the waist down. The show was then stopped and Matthew and Su did a 20/ 30 min stint for the audience and then the manager sent everyone home. Yes, it took, i think it was 4 or 5 days for that iron to be fixed!
A young actress with Noel coward after a dreadful opening night performance said to him 'Well, i knew my lines backwards this morning!'' Noels fast reply was ''Yes dear, and thats exactly how you said them tonight'!'
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re: Equus national tour: audience sent home

A young actress with Noel coward after a dreadful opening night performance said to him 'Well, i knew my lines backwards this morning!'' Noels fast reply was ''Yes dear, and thats exactly how you said them tonight'!'
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They don't look that heavy but what do I know!

Very little about the weight of GREAT BIG sheets of iron, designed to keep fire from passing from one side to the other, evidently. re: Equus national tour: audience sent home
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A week and a half later I get to see the complete Equus at the beautiful and comfortable Bradford Alhambra, where the safety curtain goes down and up.

And yes - Dev - the big musical number and the trapeze were so unexpected. With it being a Peter Schaffer play I had expected it to end with violence, misery and an epitaph.

More seriously, Simon Callow was rivetting as Dr Dysart and so was Linda Thorson as the magistrate. I could not imagine Richard Griffiths doing this role anywhere near as well. Nor could I imagine him carrying the naked Alan Strang to his bed.

I thought the play itself was rather obvious in its pshychological analysis and possibly showed its age, but was compelling none-the-less. It clearly shows the attitudes of the time it was written but it is good to understand that knowledge, experience, inhibition and inability to communicate were different then.

The Tuesday night audience was full of teenagers, presumably in school groups, and I suppose the sexual discovery taking place onstage (or not as the case may be) mirrored their own lives. There was not as much giggling as one might have expected and at times the silence was very concentrated. They certainly gave the cast a huge reception at curtain call, although many of the teenage males may have been intimidated by Alfie Allen. I know where there are unauthorised production photos on the internet - anyone wanting the link should PM me.
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I've managed to talk my manager into giving back my day off next week (they cancelled it because I'm leaving - how rude! XD), so am looking forward to seeing it next Wednesday! I'm mostly in it for Simon Callow; Richard Griffiths took a while to settle into the role, so I've seen it done uncertainly by Griffiths and comfortably by Griffiths. But I'm REALLY looking forward to it done by Callow any way he likes! re: Equus national tour: audience sent home

That's um... *interesting* to hear about young Mr. Allen. re: Equus national tour: audience sent home
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Scripps. as a teenager, did you yourself, feel intimidated by Alfie Allen?
(so what's that link your on about by the way!)
A young actress with Noel coward after a dreadful opening night performance said to him 'Well, i knew my lines backwards this morning!'' Noels fast reply was ''Yes dear, and thats exactly how you said them tonight'!'
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Well - that was a full Inbox! Including some people I'd not even seen posting before. But no-one from the Broadway board - Miss Hannigan must have them all on best behaviour.

"Scripps. as a teenager, did you yourself, feel intimidated by Alfie Allen?"

No.

(meaning I'm not a teenager)
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As a pensioner did you feel..... well you wouldnt would you? Would you?
A young actress with Noel coward after a dreadful opening night performance said to him 'Well, i knew my lines backwards this morning!'' Noels fast reply was ''Yes dear, and thats exactly how you said them tonight'!'
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Scripps2
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That's a really nice photo in your avatar - which theatre is it?
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Your the 7th person to ask. Its gorge isn't it!
Its the beautiful, newly renovated Theatre Royal Stratford E15
A young actress with Noel coward after a dreadful opening night performance said to him 'Well, i knew my lines backwards this morning!'' Noels fast reply was ''Yes dear, and thats exactly how you said them tonight'!'
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The Sheffield Lyceum are now offering the disappointed Equus audience 2-for-1 tickets for the national tour of Sleuth. Unfortunately I won't be able to make it; although it's a BK production (and probably has the set for Jesus Christ Superstar) it does have an interesting cast.