‘They say it’s better the second time…’

Last night, I saw In the Heights for the second time and judging by what I heard, I wasn’t the only one. It seems to be becoming an increasing trend, seeing the same show twice. And it makes sense. Think about it, you’ve just seen the best movie: Avengers, Star Wars, what you will. I don’t really know what the ‘kids’ of today are up on! What’s your first instinct? Go back and see it again, of course! Well, that’s how I and many others feel about theatre.

Why do people do this? Well, there are various reasons. First, simply put, is for pure enjoyment. This is the reason I returned to In the Heights; it’s an energetic, fun night out. It’s also why I saw Design for Living twice, because I loved the plot and it was a laugh. A certain casting also factored in the form of Andrew Scott, who had just risen to fame following the airing of Sherlock at around the same time. Which brings us to another reason: star billing. Some people will go and see shows multiple times purely because their favourite actor is in it. I’ll readily admit I occasionally go and see shows purely because of big names attached to them. Case in point: Three Days in the Country. And we all know how much I ‘enjoyed’ that. One which did live up to the hype was Mojo, which had Ben Whishaw, Colin Morgan, Daniel Mays, Rupert Grint to name just a few. Quite how they secured that cast I’ll never know. Finally, the other reason is cast changes and updates. I’ve only done this with Book of Mormon and it’s interesting to see how not only the cast but dynamics and even staging change. And also because I wanted to see it again. But some people will see a show every time the cast revolves, with Wicked perhaps the best example of this audience phenomenon.

Source: West End Theatre

Of course, there are some issues. Mainly money. The average price for a cinema ticket is about £9. Even if you throw in the most overpriced crappy food and 3D prices and crappy drink you’re still nowhere near the going rate for a west end ticket is about £42. Availability is another issue. If you see a show which you love but it has a big name attached, chances are it sold out months ago. In which case, Day Seats are your best option plus they also help towards the whole money issue, as they’re often offered at a discount rate. I’d argue there’s also a bit of a stigma attached, generationally. I’ve been to about six shows multiple times and every time I go, the question’s the same: ‘Why? You’ve seen it once already?’ But then couldn’t the same be true for everything? ‘Why are you seeing that movie twice?’ ‘Why are you going to that same restaurant again?’ ‘Why are you watching that episode of Come Dine with Me? You know the format?!’

The issue is that this stigma may be internalized, that you may not want to go for fear of judgement. But if you can do it and want do it, get that day seat, do it! Instead of seeing that other show this month, see the same one again! The magic of theatre is that no night is ever the same. You may be seeing the same show, but you’re not seeing the same performance. Ever. The second time I saw Design for Living, Andrew corpsed on the ‘armadillo’ line. The second time I saw Mojo, the staging was totally different. Even last night, I saw In the Heights the understudies were standing in and I got a completely different experience and energy.

So do it. Watch that show again, just like you’ve watched Rent, Les Miserables and Dr Horrible’s Sing Along Blog again online or on DVD.

Because they say it’s better the second time, they say you get to see the weird stuff.

I’ve seen the weird stuff…


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