Kerrie Nicholson runs her theatre blog over on Wheelie Stagey, sharing theatre reviews and features. She is also a keen reader, often sharing book reviews and posts about handling her own disability and how that can impact on her life. I was able to chat to Kerrie all about her love of theatre and how she has been continuing to support and love the theatre industry throughout lockdown and the ongoing theatre shutdown.
Firstly, can you tell us how you got into theatre blogging?
Purely and simply, I’ve always loved to write, and had toyed around with the idea of doing a blog for a long time, but I struggled to settle on a theme or a focus for it. I’d talk with my friends about the shows I’d see, and I’d consistently be encouraged to write about them because I was so passionate… It happened really quickly and just felt like a natural fit as it’s the thing that brings me the most joy in life.
Can you remember what the first show you saw was?
My grandma would take me regularly to see shows at my local, Bristol Old Vic when I was young, but I can’t recall any of them from that time, sadly. My first West End show was Beauty and the Beast in the late 90’s, I adored it- especially the mechanics of the transformation!
How have you been managing during the theatre shutdown?
As someone with a physical disability that makes it difficult to access your community and make friends, theatre was where I’ve found my tribe and felt accepted, and I’ve been badly struggling with feeling disconnected from the community I love and that has been a consistent force of positivity in my life. Some days are better than others, and I’m doing my best to embrace all the brilliant virtual work/streams that are happening!
Have you been able to keep your blog running during the lockdown?
I drop by with a review of something I’ve watched occasionally, and am working on a few things, but I’ve definitely taken a step back for the time being; I’ve been finding it hard to focus and motivate myself to write.
Do you have a favourite show, and why?
I have many shows I like, but only a handful I consider true favourites. The Bridges of Madison County is the one I mention most when people ask me this, so true to form that’s what I’m going with! I love the story anyway, and think Jason Robert Brown’s melodies are beautiful – there’s influences from pop, gospel & country music in there and I love the blend of those styles!
Desert island discs! What five show tunes could you not live without?
Just 5? Man…In no particular order, then:
Soliloquy from Carousel, It All Fades Away from Bridges of Madison County, The Best Of Times from La Cage Aux Folles, Finishing The Hat from Sunday In The Park with George, and Be Prepared from The Lion King!
Old classics or modern marvels? Do you have a preference between the older and newer shows?
I’m an old soul, I think – aside from Bridges of Madison County, there’s only a few modern shows (all of them from Broadway that haven’t come over to us) that I really, properly love, and aren’t well known among my circle of friends. I’m a sucker for the likes of Sondheim and Rodgers and Hammerstein, so I’d take a revival any day; musically they just move me more!
What is your favourite movie musical?
Seven Brides For Seven Brothers
What show are you hoping will be the first show you see after the lockdown and why?
I’m grateful that the majority of my bookings have been rescheduled, but I’m particularly hoping to finally take my mum to Harry Potter & the Cursed Child. We had a trip booked for May that I was really looking forward to as we don’t get to spend much time together due to her other commitments. I’ve seen the play many times, but I’m excited to share it with her after telling her so many stories about it! I also can’t wait to get back to my beloved local!
Have you felt able to continue to support the industry during the shutdown?
I’ve realised lately that I won’t be able, financially or from an energy point of view, be able to support every venture or watch everything I’d like to. It took me a while to be OK with that, but now I’m just doing the little I can and really enjoying them – concerts seem to by my “go to” watch lately! I’m also in the process of doing some fundraising for Acting For Others, it’s been a huge boost just doing a little something to give back to the industry that has done so much for me.
If you could go back in time and watch any show from the past, what show would it be and why?
I’m going to go fairly “recent past” with both of mine. The first would be the 2019 West End transfer of Fiddler on The Roof. I didn’t go to this purely because I get nervous about visiting theatres that are new to me (getting there and if I need help getting around the venue) and I couldn’t find anyone who’d go with me and I will regret that choice forever – the production shots looked stunning and I enjoy what I know of the music very much.
The other would be the 2008 Menier Chocolate Factory production of La Cage Aux Folles, with Douglas Hodge. The 2010 Broadway Cast album with Douglas is one of my absolute favourites, and to be able to watch him as Albin from as close I get to do in the Menier would’ve been a treat!
Have you been watching shows that have been streamed during the lockdown? If yes, do you have a top three and why?
As many as I can! My favourites have been:
The Lincoln Center’s 2013 staged concert of Carousel – the cast are INCREDIBLE including my favourite Broadway leading lady, Kelli O’Hara and the score is beautifully played by the New York Philharmonic; I watched it and not even ten minutes after I ordered a region free dvd player and the DVD so I could own it always!
Turn Up London was really really special, both for the sheer range of talent and the fact it was a huge eye opener about the industry and black performers.
My third would be Nottingham Playhouse’s production of Alan Bennett’s The Madness Of George III. It was a new play for me and I just found it really moving but also quite witty, and the central performance of Mark Gatiss was absolutely suberb.
I would like to thank Kerrie for her time and her answers to this interview, as well as wish her the very best for the future. Stay safe x