Alli – Review of “A Life in the Theatre”
February 5, 2005 – Apollo Theatre – London, UK
I think as enough reviews of the play have come in now it’s pointless for me to keep repeating the same things. Quickly, I went to see the show on Saturday 5th Feb, sat four rows from the front (excellent view) and enjoyed it. It was a little strange but I’d seen a Mamet play before, so I expected that!
The first couple of scenes are a little stiff and awkward (which was kinda the point), so it took a while to get into the swing of things. Patrick has the majority of the dialogue in those backstage scenes and doesn’t disappoint. Josh was far more interesting in the ‘play within a play’ scenes, where he got to flex his comedy skills. As other people have said, the doctors’ scene is v. funny, as are the scene where Josh misses his queue (hammed up to perfection in that one!) and where he is ‘schmoozing’ on the telephone.
There were plenty of semi-nude scenes but the audience on my night seemed older so no whistles or screams (thankfully). Josh is a little on the skinny side to be honest, he needs a tan and the clothes & hair are awful but you’re still drawn to him because of his acting. He did look especially good in the ‘yoga scene’ in a lovely white vest/wife beater that made him look quite manly despite the camp poses he was doing!
I had a few tears at the end for Patrick’s character
(which Patrick later said to me “was good, it should make you cry!”)
I thought, overall, it was a pretty decent play. I think Josh could do well in the theatre, though I’d like to see him tackle something more serious in future but one step at a time (Iago in Othello would be perfect). Josh was very confident and assured in his role and despite Patrick getting the majority of the dialogue you could see Josh’s obvious admiration for him.
I had gone to the stage door the night before to get to the front and take some pictures. It was cold and we had to wait a while but I chatted with some of the other girls and met Merica from the boards (hi there!!!) who had come all the way from Germany. I managed to get quite a few nice photos of both Patrick and Josh but not having anything for them to sign (they would only sign tickets or programmes) I didn’t have the chance to speak to them. Josh seemed a little overwhelmed by all the fans and whilst he signed everyone’s programme and posed for a photo with a ‘birthday girl’, he seemed to want to get away quickly. He was quite shy in comparison with Patrick, who was the seasoned professional when talking to the fans and I was amazed how young he looks in real life (perhaps it was the baseball cap). He was still wearing the New Balance trainers from the show – he must have only brought 2 pairs of shoes with him because he is wearing them in all the photos I’ve seen.
However I did get to give Josh a present before he left (a book on architecture and a note thanking him for making me aware of Frank Gehry), which frankly I was a bit embarrassed about so I thrust it at him quickly and shied away. He gave it to the security to put in the office and I thought that would be the last he would see of it.
Cut to…Saturday night
We went the stage door again (my dutiful friend waiting in the freezing cold with me) and luckily got near the front. Patrick came out first this time, signed a few autographs and chatted a little with people. I got a “did you enjoy the show?” and I told him that I’d cried at the end *(see above).
Josh came out next and was promptly swamped by about 200 fans (it was very busy that night). He seemed in better spirits than the night before and had a good laugh at a passing drunken lad who shouted “look there’s Pacey from Dawson’s Creek who slept with his teacher!”
As he signed my autograph, bravely (I thought) I asked whether he had gotten my book and he said “the book on architecture, yeah I did thanks”, “it was a really good present” which seemed sincere). I thought that was going to be it but as he was turning away he decided at the last minute to turn back and said, “you should really try to visit the Guggenheim in Bilbao, it’s amazing”, I said I would try, he smiled and left!
Ok, it was not much of a conversation but it was the only proper one he had with anyone (result!!!) He made sure to sign everyone’s programmes and then left a little later in a car with (I think) his mum and Aisleigh.
If anyone is thinking of going to see the play, I would definitely recommend it and also make sure you wait backstage if you want to see him in person. Perhaps to get to chat to him properly, it would be a good idea to hang around before the show, as it is way too busy later on (there’s a handy pub across the road).
Writing now it’s all coming back to me – think I might have to go again!!!