Debbie begins her Wise Children 2018-19 UK tour diary

In Features, Opinion, Plays, Regional theatre, Reviews, Touring by Debbie GilpinLeave a Comment

Earlier this year I headed out on tour with The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk – well, I went to every venue on the UK leg of their tour… So with this being my year of Emma Rice, I simply had to do the same thing for Wise Children. It’s heading to a few places I know and love, as well as some theatres I’ve not managed to visit before; it’ll be great to take in some sights at some points during my tour as well.

Wise Children started life at London’s Old Vic, where (unsurprisingly) I had booked a few tickets on the strength of Rice and Katy Owen’s names alone… Me being me, the first things I booked were the first preview and very last performance – although I was slightly miffed when they then allowed people in for an open dress rehearsal prior to the first preview (but obviously wouldn’t have turned down the chance to go had I won a ticket!).

I have to admit that I was slightly on the fence about aspects of the show following the first preview, but I put that down to a combination of it being in need of some tightening (fair enough, given that it was the first preview) and having only just finished reading the book – minutes before the performance began. Source material can sometimes get in your head and spoil what are actually very good adaptations.

Since that first outing, it’s been on the upward trail – every show improves on the last, be it through Rice’s tinkering, a subtle shift in performance, or where I happen to be sitting… I’m really looking forward to dedicating a good chunk of my free time to following this show around the country. So keep an eye on this blog, as a new diary entry will be added following each show – and I’ll also be updating my exploits via Instagram stories, if that’s your thing.

A nice one to start the tour off with; it’s just over an hour away (including the very short walk from my office to Paddington station) and I know that teeny area of Oxford fairly well now. The only problem is that there really isn’t a lot to do – I didn’t want to risk delays or a commuter crush by taking a train any later so I ended up with two hours to kill before curtain up… It is nice to be able to take things easy, I suppose. Plus there was no sign of a power cut, unlike my Flying Lovers trip back in April – which caused no end of stress over making it out to my return train.

Following a bit of a stroll around, it seemed the best plan to go and pick up my ticket and have a cup of tea to keep me going. I had a little panic about the fact that my seat had been changed without warning, but it was just because row A had been removed to accommodate the stage – I have to give credit to Oxford Playhouse for making sure that people who had booked the front row were able to stay in the front row, as I’ve had a few experiences of being shoved anywhere without so much as an email to let me know! So I was in the front row still, and on the end just to give me an extra bit of help in escaping the theatre quickly to make sure I got to the station in good time.

I’ve definitely got to the point where I’m trying to watch different things, particularly anything going on in the background, and being right at the front also gives you a new perspective. I rather enjoyed Samuel Archer’s portrayal of the charming (and occasionally sinister) Perry – and I always look forward to Cassius Booth galloping onstage! A little bonus for me came in the form of a quick chinwag with Nora Chance during the interval, which really rounded the night off brilliantly. You’ll be pleased to know that I made it to Oxford station in plenty of time, and even got back to London early enough to catch the last train home rather than having to night bus my way back! Ready for a busy Friday at work…

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Wise Children is on tour throughout the UK until 6 April 2019. Full details of the tour can be found on the official website – tickets are also available from individual box offices.

Tags: Emma Rice, Katy Owen, London, Off West End, Old Vic, Oxford, Oxford Playhouse, theatre, tour, Wise ChildrenCategories: all posts, theatre

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Debbie Gilpin
Debbie Gilpin stumbled into writing about theatre when she moved to London after studying for a degree in Human Genetics at Newcastle University. She started her website Mind the Blog in November 2014 and also tweets from @Mind_the_Blog. She spent the best part of 2014-16 inadvertently documenting Sunny Afternoon in the West End, and now also writes for BroadwayWorld UK. Debbie’s theatre passions are Shakespeare and new writing, but she’s also a sucker for shows with a tap routine.
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Debbie Gilpin on FacebookDebbie Gilpin on RssDebbie Gilpin on Twitter
Debbie Gilpin
Debbie Gilpin stumbled into writing about theatre when she moved to London after studying for a degree in Human Genetics at Newcastle University. She started her website Mind the Blog in November 2014 and also tweets from @Mind_the_Blog. She spent the best part of 2014-16 inadvertently documenting Sunny Afternoon in the West End, and now also writes for BroadwayWorld UK. Debbie’s theatre passions are Shakespeare and new writing, but she’s also a sucker for shows with a tap routine.

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