In amateur theatre we often have discussions about whether to perform matinees and if they are worth while. A lot of amateur performers don't like matinees and find the atmosphere less electric than in the evening. But do the professionals feel the same? I know a few of the West End's performers don't do two shows a day and as a fan I have often watched understudies for the afternoon performance. Personally, I don't mind this as often the stand-ins are fabulous (see my previous blog Big Names Vs. Alternates, Stand-Ins And Understudies), though I guess if you're looking to see a specific actor then it can be a bit disappointing. But for those of us who don't live in the South East, often the matinee is our best option if we want an affordable theatre trip without the added cost of a hotel stay.
As an amateur performer I love double show days. If we're only putting on a show for a week I want to perform it as many times as possible, even if you do get a very strange feeling of deja vu. I'm sure the professionals get used to this.
Actress Rachel Ricione who is currently in the Broadway production of Les Miserables, said
"2 show days are easy. Like riding a bike. Except the bike is on fire and you're on fire and everything's on fire..."
This sums up the weird two show feeling really well.
Between shows I asked Wendy Peters who is currently starring in White Christmas at the Dominion Theatre if she felt the same
"A little!! Just about to go with 2nd, all good fun though."
When I asked Rachel if she felt matinees lacked atmosphere she said,
"No way they are exactly the same! We always give 100%!"
I know double show watching days can be a lot to take in, but I love the full emersion of theatre in one day. It helps if you don't watch two shows which are similar because it then feels like you've just started a new day when you get to the second theatre.
So, to matinee or not to matinee? I say go to one or be in one, a matinee is definitely worth an afternoon's investment. If you get to do a double show day, great. As a fanatic, triple show day?!
By Nicky Sweetland
Matinees can be a great way to snap up some cheap theatre tickets, and for more deals check out our Discount Theatre Ticket Offers page!