26 July 2020 02:45
On Thursday, I was back at the Palladium to watch Beverley Knight and her band perform. Image copyright Andy Paradise Image caption More than 70% of the Palladium's seats were empty Madonna performed to a full house, Beverley Knight had the unenviable task of performing to row upon row of empty seats, consisting of about 1,650 plush pink chairs occupied by black crosses on white paper rather than people. He was making the premise for the show quite clear - it was not so much about entertainment, more about being part of a series of official experiments to see if a major indoor venue such as the Palladium could manage the logistics of putting on a socially distanced show. Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption Andrew Lloyd Webber: 'Theatre can't run with social distancing' Image copyright Andy Paradise Image caption Tickets were checked at a safe distance at the entrance The social distancing worked well, in so much as we were so spread out (unless you'd bought a pair of tickets to sit together) that you'd need the vocal projection of Brian Blessed to communicate with your neighbour. The only snag with that is live entertainment is all about a sense of shared experience, which is pretty much non-existent in a huge auditorium with people scattered about like ships on the ocean.
Image copyright Andy Paradise Image caption The singer stared out at a sparse, mask-wearing crowd The stand-out moment, though, was her rendition of Memory from the musical Cats - a number she'd performed many times on the same stage when playing Grizabella in Lloyd Webber's long-running show. It proved to be a cathartic experience for both singer and audience, who found a way to bond as Bev and her well-tuned band powered through I'm Every Woman and Come As You Are. The show stopped with a showstopper: an a capella cover of Ben E King's 60s hit Stand By Me. Beverley Knight and Andrew Lloyd Webber hope not, because as far as they are concerned it doesn't work artistically or commercially. On 29 January 2020, I went to the London Palladium to see Madonna perform her Madame X exhibit. There have been 640 of us with tickets, whom Andrew Lloyd Webber in a pre-exhibit welcome cheerfully described as guinea pigs. He was earning the premise for the show very crystal clear – it was not so much about enjoyment, extra about being element of a sequence of official experiments to see if a significant indoor location this sort of as the Palladium could control the logistics of placing on a socially distanced clearly show.
The British isles federal government will get started enabling theaters to work with minimized ability properties and social distancing in place beginning Aug. 1. But like Lloyd Webber, the resource also cautioned that staying masked and far absent from many others can experience like "an anesthetic" for an viewers that can't laugh very easily or fill a place with pre-present buzzing. Andrew Lloyd Webber called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to set a date for the wider return of theatre as the London Palladium hosted a pilot performance featuring Beverley Knight. The singer performed a live show in front of a sold-out, socially-distanced audience — one of a number of events to gauge the viability of live entertainment amid the coronavirus pandemic. "I think this will amply prove why social distancing in theatre doesn't work.
Andrew Lloyd Webber warns Chinese investors could buy West End theatres if Government doesn't help Andrew Lloyd Webber has said that Chinese investors could be set to buy up London's West End theatres. Lord Lloyd Webber warned that without urgent funds and a clear timeline for reopening, theatre owners will be forced to put the buildings up for sale. Following government advice, theatres have been closed since 16 March to help slow the spread of Coronavirus, with many warning that they will go out of business in the coming months without support. Andrew Lloyd Webber, 72, has been trialling measures at the London Palladium that could allow the theatre business to get back up and running after Phantom Of The Opera continued in South Korea with strict hygiene measures and no social distancing. Yesterday, the composer hosted a pilot performance by Beverley Knight at the London Palladium, which had strict social distancing measures in place and was at 30 per cent capacity. Speaking after the performance, Rebecca Kane Burton, chief executive of LW Theatres – the venue's owner – said it was a 'relief' to reopen the doors. She added: 'I want to get this place back open, no social distancing. 'And hopefully today has demonstrated that we run a tight ship, we know how to manage things, we have the right mitigations in place, and people just need this back in their lives. Last week, Mr Johnson announced that live indoor theatre and concerts would be able to resume with socially-distanced audiences from August 1 – subject to the success of pilots. But British film director Sir Sam Mendes says opening the venues with social distancing will be like 'pouring money down the drain'. Theatres will be able to open with reduced venue capacity and limited ticket sales to ensure social distancing, while tickets will be purchased online and venues encouraged to use e-tickets to reduce contact and help with track and trace.