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Ian Cheeseman: Break-a-Leg

A few weeks ago, I took the opportunity of being down in London for my main job as a sports journalist, to take in a couple of West End shows.

I’d heard about Moulin Rouge from my son, who’d already been to see it, so I went to see a matinee performance. I wasn’t disappointed, it was brilliant. That evening I took a gamble and went to see a show I knew only a little about, the Time Travellers Wife.

I’d seen the film, which stars Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams and loved it. I read that Brit, Grammy and Masked Singer winner Joss Stone. Hads co-written the music. Another music legend, Dave Stewart who’s a Rock and Roll of Famer and former member of the Eurythmics, alongside Annie Lennox, was the other song writer. I also noted that the special effects in the show, when Henry suddenly disappears as he travels in time, where created by Chris Fisher who is a member of the Magic Circle and worked on Back to the Future and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Those creatives could not have a better pedigree.

I was sat on the front row because I’d picked up a late, cheaper ticket, so I was looking up at the stage. It also meant I was very close to the actors. The first time Henry disappeared it blew me away. As the story progressed, I became more emotionally attached to the characters, who were portrayed brilliantly.

During the ballad between Henry and his father, I had tears rolling down my cheeks. During the final song, Love wins the Day, I was uplifted and walked out of the theatre feeling amazing. This was now one of my favourite musicals and I wanted to tell everyone. I contacted the PR for the show and asked to interview a couple of the actors for my radio show. Last week I chatted to Joanna Woodward, who plays Clare and Tim Mahendran who’s Gomez. Two great interviews which you’ll hear on Break-a-Leg, my weekly show, this week.

Just a couple of days after recording those chats, I tried to book tickets in March to see the show again and take my wife and son to see what I was raving about. I’d checked with both Joanna and Tim that they were due to perform on the date I had in mind. They’d consulted their diaries and had confirmed they would be on stage that night. As I tried to book, it wouldn’t allow be to pick any dates in March. I asked the PR company what was happening and they confirmed the show was closing at the end of February. I was heartbroken.

I have a West End trip planned for March with my family. Time off work and a hotel has been booked and although we’ll still go, we won’t get to see Time Travellers Wife. My wife and son will not get to see it, unless it comes back in the future.

It’s made me wonder why the show is closing. Is the show’s title, Time Traveller’s Wife off putting? Are the songs not good enough, is the story too complicated? Perhaps if Joss Stone and Dave Stewart had recorded and released one of the songs that might have helped. Whatever the reason, I’m gutted.

In less than a fortnight, I’ll be down in London again watching Manchester City at Tottenham in the FA Cup. It’s a Friday night game and I don’t fancy the long, lonely drive home after it, so I’ve bought a ticket for the Saturday matinee to see Time Traveller’s Wife before it closes down. If you’re going to London in the next six weeks, I recommend you do the same. It’s a brilliant show and deserved a longer run.

You can hear my interviews with Joanna Woodward and Tim Mahendran on my show this week, and some of the great music. I’ve learnt this week to Never take great Theatre for granted. Break-a-Leg.

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