Office manager by day and blogger by night Charlotte Hutchesson has been blogging at Theatre Scribbles since 2015, sharing reviews and chat on all things stagey. I talked to Charlotte all about why she loves theatre so much and how she has been continuing to support theatre throughout the ongoing shutdown due to the pandemic.
Firstly can you tell us how you got into writing about theatre?
It’s a random way round so bear with me. I studied French and Italian at university, and like every MFL course, I had to spend my 3rd year abroad. All my friends said they were going to be starting blogging about living abroad and I decided to jump on the bandwagon.
Turned out I loved writing so much I felt a bit flat when I returned home and didn’t have anything to write about. So I switched topics to the only other thing that I could write about at the time: theatre! I started Theatre Scribbles in January 2015 and never looked back! (I still have my Travel one for when I go on holiday but Theatre Scribbles is the main one now)
Can you remember what the first show you saw was?
It was Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat in Manchester when I was about 7 or 8. My only memory is clueless me asking my Dad why they were singing all the time and not talking like normal people…
How have you been managing during the theatre shutdown?
Like with everyone, I’ve had good days and bad days. I’ve been trying to keep myself sane by watching the theatre streams and getting through my Netflix and Crunchyroll backlogs that I hadn’t got around to until now. Oh and baking – lots of baking. I’ve also loved this theatre community group that I’ve been a part of over WhatsApp and Zoom – didn’t know any of them until lockdown and now we’re good friends! I just miss being able to give people hugs.
Have you been able to keep your blog running during the lockdown?
Trying to (haha). I had a couple of busy months when LOADS of stuff was being released and then this month has been really quiet… It was good in the busy months as I was on furlough on the time, and it gave me something to focus on for the day.
Do you have a favourite show, and why?
1000% Les Miserables. I have seen it 4 times (was supposed to be 5, THANKS Ms Rona); it blows me away EVERY SINGLE TIME! Those chords at the beginning give me chills, and it doesn’t leave until the final “Tomorrow Comes”. It’s the show I ALWAYS end up coming back to, even if I’ve been gushing about another show or cast album for the past month and I could talk about it all day but… I’m not going to. What’s next?
Desert Island discs! What five show tunes could you not live without?
I could honestly do almost all of these Les Mis songs…
- If you had to ask me which one from Les Mis though I’d say One Day More. On My Own’s close, and I Dreamed A Dream is a firm favourite in my singing repertoire, but One Day More is when it all comes together, with the entire company is onstage (well almost everyone, sorry Fantine) for one of the most epic Act 1 closers you will ever find. Chills
- Satisfied from Hamilton. This is the one that made me fall in love with Hamilton, as it’s a perfect example of wit and heart combined. I was loving Hamilton anyway but Satisfied was the one that clinched it. Lin’s writing = genius!
- It Sucks To Be Me from Avenue Q. Relatability at its finest… 17 year old me was OBSESSED with Avenue Q. It never fails to bring a smile to my face
- God Help The Outcasts from The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Obviously I am a huge Disney nerd and Hunchback is right up there for me. I think this song is really underrated by how simple it is. I really hope we get to see the stage version in this country someday.
- Defying Gravity from Wicked. Another one that never gets old. I’ve seen Wicked 4 times and this one never fails to give me goosebumps
Old classics or modern marvels? Do you have a preference between the older and newer shows?
Hahaha! If you had asked me this question 10 years ago, I would have been a modern marvel snob all the way; I used to like none of the older ones other than The Sound of Music…
What changed me was seeing the tour of Singin’ in the Rain; it opened me up to how good the golden oldies were. I still see a greater number of newer ones on balance, but I’m a lot more open to seeing the classics than I used to be. As long as they’re not farces – I worked that out after watching Anything Goes – not for me.
What is your favourite movie musical?
When I was a teenager, before I discovered Studio Ghibli, Hairspray was my favourite film of all time so I’m going to say that. What began as another excuse to drool over Zac Efron, turned into my mind being blown while dancing around my living room. It’s just so fun and infectious.
What show are you hoping will be the first show you see after lockdown and why?
Ideally & Juliet or Come From Away. & Juliet was the last show I saw before lockdown and as I saw the concert version (due to cast injury and annual leave), I would like to see the full thing. As for CFA, I was supposed to be seeing it just a couple of weeks after lockdown happened… THANKS Ms Rona…!
But to be honest, realistically I will go and see whatever I can, especially if it’s in the Northern area. I’m not sure about travelling to London just yet.
Have you felt able to continue to support the industry during the shutdown?
Yes, as best as I can. I love The Show Must Go On merch, got the tshirt, mask and pin badge. I’ve also tried to give a donation for any streamed musicals or the NT Live’s, and donated the cost of tickets to theatres whenever I could, especially to a smaller space.
But I think it’s also about moral support as well as financial; our theatre WhatsApp group gathered together and made a video to support the industry before the Arts package was announced from the Government. Whichever way you look at it, it all comes from a place of love for this community.
If you could go back in time and watch any show from the past, what show would it be and why?
Sweeney Todd at the Adelphi with Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton. I was at university at the time this was on and so it was time/distance restraints. But I’m kicking myself now looking back for not going to London for a weekend or something. Michael Ball is my George Clooney after all.
If I can have a cheeky honourable mention though, the last tour of Oliver would be it. It was in the Manchester leg after all that Cam Mac announced that Samantha Barks (playing Nancy at the time) would be playing Eponine in the Les MIs film…..
Have you been watching shows that have been streamed during lockdown? If yes, do you have a top three and why?
Yes, and ooooh that’s hard! There have been so many… hmmmm…. Ok
- Midsummer Nights Dream from The Bridge Theatre NT Live. I ended up watching this at least twice on YouTube. The vision for this production was genius!
- One Man Two Guvnors NT Live. James Cordon at his best. Even better than Gavin and Stacey. Try and persuade me otherwise.
- Small Island NT Live. This was very powerful and heartfelt, not to mention timely, as the National put this one on in reaction to the Black Lives Matter protests
I didn’t mean for these all to be NT Lives but here we go. If I could have an honourable mention, I have become obsessed with a show called Central Park. It’s an animated musical TV series created by the same team behind Bob’s Burgers, and features the voices of Josh Gad, Leslie Odom Jr, Kristen Bell, Tituss Burgess and more. If you have an Apple TV login, or know someone who has and is willing to let you borrow theirs, I would 100% check this out
I would like to thank Charlotte for her time and her answers to this interview, and wish her the best for the future. Stay safe x