This is the blog for Theatre Reviews With Paul Seven, a YouTube channel featuring reviews by Paul Seven Lewis .
Please send theatre news and review invitations to [email protected]
On my YouTube channel, I say what the show is about, describe the production and cast, pick out the outstanding moments, and say whether I liked it or was disappointed. You’ll also find some longer features about theatre including 5 Plays That Shocked British Theatre and 5 Reasons The Critics Hated Macbeth.
On this website are transcriptions of my reviews, usually with a little added content.
My favourite leisure activity is going to the theatre. I’ve loved it since I was bewitched by watching a school play as a small child. I still find seeing people live in front of me acting out stories a magical experience.
I’ve been going to theatre all my life and reviewing for quite a bit of it, including stints for The Guardian and The Stage as well as regional newspapers.
Like all art, theatre helps us understand how other people feel but I find that, unlike cinema and television, its scale and pace are totally human. I love the way you are carried along with the actors in a live performance: they can’t stop for another take, you can’t rewind or take a break for a cup of tea. I think it was john Gilegud who described it as like stepping onto a rollercoaster that you can’t get off until it stops. That sense of the here and now is something that is lost in films of theatre shows.
I have always preferred theatre that challenges rather than reinforces my views and expectations. As well as West End theatres, I like to visit Hampstead Theatre, the Royal Court and Young Vic. I don’t know what I’d do without the National Theatre. Outside of London, I am a regular at Chichester Festival Theatre and The Watermill in Newbury.
Fundamental to the theatrical experience is acting. Sets can be an important part of the drama but I am very happy with a bare stage. I seek out great performers like Imelda Staunton and Rory Kinnear, to name two of my favourites.
I still remember the wide-eyed excitement I felt when I went to the theatre as a child. Perhaps that’s why I have a particular love of musicals. With their combination of the direct emotional appeal of music and dance, and the drama of acting, they often come closest to the immersive theatrical experience I felt all those years ago.
Best production I ever saw? Probably A View From The Bridge directed by Ivo van Hove with Mark Strong and Nicola Walker at Young Vic. Best musical? Guys & Dolls at the National Theatre. Best comedy? Noises Off which I first saw in the early 80s. Best acting performances? In the last few years, Mark Rylance in Jerusalem, Imelda Staunton in Gypsy, Billie Piper in Yerma, Bryan Cranston in Network and many more. Going back, David Warner‘s Hamlet and Alec Guinness in Habeas Corpus stick in my memory.
Research suggests that when you view someone talking, 85% of your impression of it has nothing to do with the words, it’s much more about what you look like and how you sound. So, this website offers you the chance to ignore the distraction of my appearance and read the content of my reviews on my YouTube channel Theatre Reviews With Paul Seven.
I have worked in theatre management and as a marketing consultant for small businesses including the serviced offices business Hampshire Workspace and arts organisations such as Theatre Royal Winchester. I still undertake one-off projects and consultations.
If you would like me to review your theatre show or send me theatre news, please contact me at [email protected]