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BLOG : Matinee Idle: A Lazy Afternoon At The Theatre

Tuesday 24 May 2016

By Shanine Salmon

I recently went to see King Lear at Theatre Royal Brighton. I live in South London and couldn’t resist a sunny afternoon trip to the south coast. I’d forgotten how much I love a Saturday matinee and if you thought they were just for the elderly then you are very much mistaken. They are the most welcoming option, if you think theatre is cold and inaccessible you have not gone to a Saturday matinee.

Matinees keep me going to the theatre in winter. I would just hibernate like a bear otherwise. I visit a lot of outer London theatres and I get easily lost so a matinee is perfect for familiarising myself with a new venue. You can have a nice breakfast, arrive at the theatre at your own leisure; how many weekday evening performances have been spoiled because somebody called you at work and made you late? If you are going to the Southbank the lovely food market is on and you can have an exciting lunch to go prior to your performance. Matinees don’t attract bizarre groups of people like evening performances do. How many nights out have been ruined by hen/stag nights (do stags go to the theatre, I hope so) or just groups of old philanthropists rocking back up to their seats late.

The bar is more civilised too, most people are weird about drinking before 5pm but not me. Once it is 12pm anything goes and there isn’t the mad rush for the bar that you would get in the evening, without having to push any elderly patrons out of the way.  Let’s be blunt here, with a matinee you are getting an actor at their best. Come Saturday evening they are done with this. They hate you, they hate the play, they hate themselves and are willing for Sunday to come along for a rest and until they are back on Monday.

Once the play is over it is always a civilised time, even after an Oresteia-style 4-hour epic you know you will get a train home. It is easy to underestimate how exhausting theatre after work can be. I take the attitude that I am already up and about (Wednesday has become a theatre day because there is no Eastenders on) but I never feel as relaxed as I do at a matinee, plus you can combine it with a theatre tour or perhaps more importantly you can go see another play!

tags: Children, Classics, Cheap Theatre Tickets, West End Favourites, Hot Tickets, Drama, Contemporary, Best Of British, Star Power, Hen Night, Our Picks, Matinee Wednesdays, Matinee Saturday


By Shanine Salmon

Shanine works full time as Drama examinations administrator and hopes to start an MA in Gender, Sexuality and Culture in September. Her interests are politics, archives, film and of course theatre. She prefers plays but does enjoy dressing up for Rocky Horror Show.

Please note: Opinions expressed on the londontheatredirect.com blog are those of the relevant contributors, not of London Theatre Direct Ltd, its owners or staff. London Theatre Direct Ltd is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by contributors.

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