BOOK REVIEW: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Going to the Theatre (But were too sloshed to ask, Dear)  

by West End Producer

Published by Nick Hern Books

Published late autumn this was definitely the best theatre book of 2017 and I suspect it will be unsurpassed this year too. Written in the same wickedly dead-pan tone as his earlier Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Acting (But were too sloshed to ask dear) this new book is funny because it’s so irreverently acute along the lines of “Shows often have more directors than performers” Or “If an actor forgets his lines in a Pinter play s/he will say ‘fuck’ and do an extra long pause”. But if it’s Stoppard s/he has only to “spout some gibberish about quantum physics, the Russian Revolution or Nietzsche that makes less sense than usual”.

Each copy comes complete with a Theatre Prefect’s Badge and advice about how to assert yourself when all about you, in the theatre, need a bit of bossing about. WEP’s “Theatre Prefect Programme” is a glorious satire which – almost unbelievably – some readers have taken seriously and objected to.

Other highlights include a run down on the best-known musicals: Matilda is basically a “blonde Annie with a scarier Miss Hannigan” and every theatre goer needs advice about what to say to an actor s/he’s seen in a show. “You’re better than Kenneth Branagh. And he can do Shakespeare and modern” goes down better than “Were there a lot of understudies on?” or “How do you remember all those lines?”

Anyone who teaches drama, goes to the theatre, works in the industry in any capacity, is training to do so, or would like to, will recognise all this and smile. And at times they will split their sides. Buy several copies!