My last post called into question the abilities of some of our most successful sitcom writers. This wasn't really the intention. It was just a talking point. So now I thought I would turn the argument on its head and defend the scriptwriter.
This time I'm talking about live performance. It has always irked me when people are only interested in going to the theatre when there is somebody famous in the cast. They go along to see a play with a perfectly good plot and excellent dialogue but only because so-and-so off Emmerdale is in it or what's-his-name who used to be in Casualty plays the lead. It's particularly upsetting when the 'star' of the show pulls out for one reason or another, audiences go into decline and the rest of the cast and crew are out of a job.
Here in Nottingham the Theatre Royal puts on a Classic Thriller Season every August. It is the same company every year and they put on a different play every week for four weeks. Members of the cast have served their time in various bits of TV, radio and theatre so they are no mugs. The point is – the actors are not household names but the playwrights are. They put on plays by the likes of Agatha Christie, Brian Clemens, J.B. Priestley etc. and it is excellent entertainment. They wouldn't keep getting invited back every year if it wasn't would they?
Each Spring the Nottingham Playhouse puts on a musical by a local operatic group. I went to see The Producers one year and was blown away. The brilliant acting, the flawless musical numbers and the slick scene changes proved that, although their status was amateur, the production standards were professional and no TV star could have enhanced the performance.
I suppose all this is just an extension of the celebrity culture we have nowadays. People are famous for being famous and seem to attract the attention of the masses. So what do I expect to be done about this? Just for people to think more about the entertainment that's on offer and less about the performers.