Theatre Of The Absurd . . . Ticket Prices.

Sometimes life is a collection of Agatha Christie novels – full of mysteries.

Like, where does Channel Five find their terrible weekday afternoon films with idiotic titles like “Deadly Bereavement” and “Fatal Murder” ‘starring’ actors you’ve never heard of?

The appeal of the stage musical is a mystery to some people.

Where musicals are concerned, I sit on the fence – admittedly a very uncomfortable position from which to watch Les Miserables for three hours.

Those who loathe musicals argue that it’s ridiculous for characters to be talking one minute, then suddenly bursting into song the next.

The same people will watch a horror film in which characters are talking one minute and then being attacked by a possessed, carnivorous doll the next – but they don’t consider that’s ridiculous!

I’ve seen many hit West End shows – and some stinkers.  I won’t name them because the list would stretch From Here To Eternity.

In the 90s, tickets weren’t cheap, but were definitely more affordable than they are now.

Then, some of the older theatres started charging a ‘restoration fee’, which went towards improvements of the building.

We had no choice but to pay it, even though we thought “Surely some of the money I spent on this ticket already goes to the theatre?”

This was on top of the ludicrous ‘booking fee’, which most venues seem to think is alright to charge. It’s like they’re saying “Because you want to see a show at our theatre, we’ll charge you extra for the privilege!”

Apart from enormous price increases, which meant some West End theatre tickets went soaring to £90 and more in the past 10 years, we now have the phenomenon known as ‘premium seats’ – some as high as £200 each!

A ‘premium seat’ is one that the management guarantees gives you ‘the best view in the house’. Meaning you can clearly see the stage!

But, surely, whatever amount you spend, you expect to be able to see the stage? Otherwise what’s the point of buying the ticket?

Next year, a new Harry Potter stage play written by J.K. Rowling opens in London and if you have children or grandchildren who want to see it, now’s the time to approach your bank manager for a loan.

Including train fares, hotels, taxis, meals and theatre tickets, I reckon £5000 should cover it.

Although, if you want ‘premium seats’… add on another £1000!

It’s all in Neath

Regular readers of my column and keen followers of comedy will already be up to speed on the Neath Comedy Festival, which started last Thursday and continues throughout the whole of July.

As a performer and an avid supporter of live entertainment, you may have noticed that I am passionate about encouraging local talent. The festival started last week and I witnessed two of my local comedy chums, Paul James and Ignacio Lopez, kick off the event in style, to a standard that you would currently be hard pushed to match anywhere in the UK.

These events are exceptionally good at generating revenue for the local community and indeed arts as a whole. As a result of the opening night’s performances many more tickets were purchased for the shows that follow in the next few weeks

A case of pitching your tent in the wrong spot

I recently read a front page report in a national newspaper that contained what was probably the ultimate definition of hypocrisy.

If I’d reworded it as a joke and used it in my stand-up act, the audience would have declared me a comic genius. Okay, they might have tittered a bit . . .

That night, a TV news item covering the same story confirmed that, as ridiculous as it seemed, it was absolutely true.

I’m referring to the Anti-Austerity Rally in Central London, but let me stress that I found nothing funny about the rally or the thinking behind it, because Government cutbacks already affect us in many ways and will continue to do so.

I believe the next figure our ‘beloved’ Chancellor has in mind to save is £12 billion. If you find that amount too enormous to picture, just think of it as the equivalent of a dozen banker’s bonuses.

Already many libraries, day centres and leisure facilities have closed or are under threat and our bins only get emptied on alternate weeks.

I’m aware I’m going off at a tangent (regular readers know I’m inclined to do that), but isn’t it strange that after a couple of years of grumbling, most of us are resigned to accepting reduced bin collections?

‘They Who Are In Power’ knew we would, because us Brits don’t tend to march on the Town Hall with pitchforks and flaming torches very often. Not if it’s a nice day anyway.

That said, if we’re ordered to do even more recycling than we do now (see Phil Evans articles passim) I’ll happily lead the torchlight procession and give the Town Hall front door a good hammering, while shouting “Come out! We know you’re in there! Your bins haven’t been emptied yet!”

I could go on and on (regular readers know I’m inclined to do that), but I must return to my main point.

Among the marchers at the Anti-Austerity rally were millionaires Russell Brand and Charlotte Church.

Fair enough.

The fact they’re rich doesn’t prevent them from caring for the less well-off and I thought it was great they were marching alongside ordinary people for a common cause.

Until I read the article containing that ultimate definition of hypocrisy.

Mr Brand and Ms Church were provided with a V.I.P. Tent.

At an Anti-Austerity rally?

If anyone tells you satire is dead, don’t believe them . . .


Festival is fast gaining a reputation as place for laughs

Edinburgh festival is the biggest arts festival in the world. Neath Comedy Festival is without a doubt the biggest comedy festival in Wales.

It is running between 2nd and 30th of July, local comedy doesn’t get much better than this!

The Duke pub in Neath has a cult-like following when it comes to comedy, and it is just one of the many venues you can get to see some stunning comedy talent in July.

This year, it incorporates Neath Little Theatre and really does cater for everyone’s comedy tastes.

There are free shows, Welsh language shows, children’s shows, where you will be entertained by some of the most amazing award-winning performers and TV stars to have ever gathered together in one town!

In total, you will be treated to more than 40 comedians, with stars of TV including Omar Hamdi and Phil Nichol and local talent such as Paul James, Ignacio Lopez and Noel James.

Great talent on this grand scale doesn’t get together all in the same place at the same time very often, don’t miss out!

Check out the website at

Challengers in peak condition


Well, regular readers of my Evening Post column will be delighted to hear that Team GI Joe from Llanelli completed their gruelling Welsh Three Peaks Challenge!

Their challenge, all in aid of the autism charity Week on the Street, was to climb up (and back down!) Cadair Idris, Snowdon and Pen y Fan in 12 hours or less, a total distance of 16 miles and making a total ascent of around 2000m in some of the most remote landscape in Wales.

I’m reliably informed that there were a few challenges for the team, including prolonged waits on the mountainside, having to leave a couple of members in the bus due to bad knees and walking around bends only to see more hills!

It is Wales, guys! What did you expect?

They are looking to go bigger and better next year and raise even more money for charity, but with more than £2000 already raised for this challenge, and more donations coming in daily, I think the guys deserve a well earned pat on the back and a long, hot soak in the bath!

Da iawn!