Joseph 2005, Jerry Springer: The Opera 2005, Scrooge 2006, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang 2007 & 2009, Hairspray 2013, Wicked 2015, The Addams Family 2017… Matilda the Musical marks my ninth visit to the Bristol Hippodrome with a musical! It’s a theatre that inside & out hasn’t seen very many changes, remaining one of the quintessentially traditional venues on the touring circuit. However I’ve watched the city adapt and develop over the years into quite a place.
The streets teem with art & culture. Fine coffee, vegan bakeries & cider outlets are in abundance. Takeaway cups and plastic bags are on the verge of being outlawed (or at least massively frowned-upon). Musicians descend on the Harbourside almost in flashmob-style, bringing crowds singing & dancing with them. A Cat Cafe (You & Meow, of course) is a recent addition to the establishments by stage door. Cuisines are so far-reaching that I’m managing to eat in a different establishment every single day, and loving every single one of them.
We’ve just completed half term week. It sold out months ago, so the Hippodrome requested we add a ninth performance which took place on Friday afternoon. With only five-or-so weeks notice, impressively that performance also sold out! Audiences as ever have been fabulous, and we have one week left here before we move on to our penultimate venue, Southampton.
The end is looming into view, now, with just over two months left. The tour feels like it’s taken over half my life, and yet counterintuitively the warmth of June has had us all reminiscing of the heat this time last year in Milton Keynes & Birmingham, which only feels like five minutes ago! It’s definitely one of the peculiarities of working on a tour that lasts more than a year. It almost makes it feel like a proper job…!