Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Kate Bush - theatrical genius!

I should preface this by saying I am a huge Kate Bush fan - I've waited 30 odd years for this so by gum it needed to be good. It wasn't just good. It was simply stunning.

At the end - and I feel guilty having taken it!

These blog posts are written from a theatre school viewpoint - so what can we draw from last night's show?

1. Never forget that if you are onstage, you are there to entertain. There's no purpose to what you do without an audience. Kate Bush put everything into drawing the audience into her differently created worlds - first as a multi-million selling uber-singer, secondly in the Ninth Wave as the desperate woman washed into the sea awaiting rescue, and thirdly as part of a summer dream tinged with the fear of blackbirds. Theatrical always, visually amazing throughout and all underscored by her wonderful music played by a superb band. And finished off with a song everyone could sing along with - somewhat euphorically!

2. Attention to detail - we go on and on about everything on stage meaning something - the slightest look, the tiniest hand movement. Everyone on stage was 'on it' 100%. But also the whole visit should be an experience, so the programme was a work of art, the merchandise original and apt (including a sea survival kit!) and even the confetti blown into the audience was printed with lines from a Tennyson poem.

3. Enjoy the show - leave the cameras/mobiles at home. Kate Bush asked fans not to take photos/recordings during the show and just enjoy the event. What a difference that made! Everyone just focused on the performance, not on dodging lit up screens. We always ask parents not to take photos or film during our main shows, primarily for security reasons but more and more I believe important moments are being ruined by the desperate need for validation through photographic proof that 'you were there' and to have every moment of your life digitally stored. So I (hypocritically)ended up like everyone else with a photo of the theatre outside, two of empty stages and one at the very end - and even then I felt a bit guilty. But it was nice to see the whole audience rapt and focused and not littered with little lit up screens. Perhaps our communications on this with parents should reflect more on 'being in the moment' rather than recording it.

4. There's no substitute for a massive budget sometimes, but it still takes skill to use it well. Kate Bush had obviously gone for the best specialists she could find - not just the brilliant musicians, but the lighting and stage/costume designers and even Adrian Noble as her co-director. I wonder if they'd come and help with 'The Boy Preference'. I'll ask...

5. Commit to your creation! Nobody is memorable for being mediocre. Try something amazing. You never know...

So overall, this might well have been the best gig I've ever seen - and I've seen quite a few. Trying to think now what my other favorites were... Japan as a support band for Blue Oyster Cult (yes it did happen), the original Two-Tone tour, Peter Gabriel's 'Growing Up' tour... no, this was the best.

There's rumours of a DVD of the show being released. I strongly advise you to make a small investment.