Wednesday, September 14, 2005
Theatre, theatre, burning bright
There's nothing like an opening night. I should know. I go to enough of them. There was a time one knew everybody there. These days are the days of kiddie publicity people and sponsorship - so the papered first nights are packed with a new crowd. The sponsors, who mostly are newcomers to theatre, are out for a big night of special VIP treatment and they take the VIP status very seriously, assuming an expression of great importance and thudding down the foyer en masse at interval to get at their free drinks. In an unreserved house, they have reserved seats to which they arrive, very smugly, just before curtain - just like the first class passengers coming from the VIP lounge. Then there is the new young crowd invited by the new young publicists. They are predominantly young actors and their partners, fashionably known as "industry" people. Then there are the genuine VIPs who have managed to stay on the A list and, of course, my lot, the critics. Between us all, there is not room for a paying customer.