Going to the theatre is one of life’s rare treats. The excitement builds at home when the tickets or email arrives confirming your attendance, making it real. Then the anticipation ratchets up as you hear friends and co-workers rave about the show, and the critics continue to lavish it with praise. On the big night, you crack out your finest clothes, shoes and accessories and admire yourself in the mirror: you are ready for a big night out! When you arrive at the venue, you drink in the surroundings, admiring the ornate fixtures, the plush carpet, the history of the place. You imagine people from different generations, even a hundred or more years ago, treading the same well-worn path into the stalls. And then you see the stage—the curtains drawn back, the set perfectly arranged and painted, the props in place. The anticipation builds again until the lights dim and a voice announces that it is time to start.
It’s at this point that the real fun begins. The lights go up, the actors take the stage and the drama unfurls. You immediately sense how much more intimate and absorbing this set-up is than any television or film production. The drama takes place within touching distance, the actors speak, shout and sing as if they are communicating directly to you across a room. You can see their sweat, read the anguish or delight on their faces, even sometimes notice the glisten of their eyes. You appreciate the imagination and craft of the props: the way one object can become many if viewed from a different perspective; the way a well-designed backdrop can imply depth and size that isn’t there; the way the lights add mood and focus and drama all of their own.
My favourite genre of play has to be the murder-mystery, especially the classic tales of Agatha Christie. From Murder on the Orient Express to And Then There Were None, Christie’s stories have thrilled theatre-goers for generations with their attention to period detail, eccentric and eclectic casts of characters, a famous sleuth trying to solve a murder, and a suspect list that includes everyone except the corpse. Even if you know the story (and the identity of the murderer) inside out, there is still enormous fun to be had watching the whole thing unfold—the deathly scream from another room, the discovery of a body, and delicate assessment of clues and statements until the killer is revealed. It is a tried and tested formula that works a treat every time.
Right now, you can experience an Agatha Christie play with a difference. Witness for the Prosecution is currently showing at London’s County Hall, which for 64 years served as the headquarters for local government in London. At the heart of the hall is the octagonal council chamber, which provided seating for over two hundred council members, as well as four press and public galleries which overlook the chamber. For the purposes of the play, the chamber is transformed into a court room, and you are invited pass judgment on the trial of Leonard Vole, accused of the murdering a widow to inherit her wealth. It really does feel as though you are witnessing a real trial—there are moments when you get so absorbed in the action you want to shout out—and the story of deceit, passion and betrayal is one of Christie’s best. So don’t be guilty of missing out on a unique and riveting theatre experience. Get yourself on jury duty right now!
And when you get home, why not treat yourself to a nice mug of Hoogly tea? Our delightful Danish brews have all the luxury and indulgence of the finest trip to the theatre, crafted to deliver an elegant and refined cuppa that combines Hoogly comfort with the thrill of something new.
You don’t even have to wait until you’re home! Why not take a flask of unapologetically decadent Chocolate Brownie black tea with you for a sweet treat in the interval? For a start, you’ll avoid the bar queue, and secondly, you’ll have a uniquely warming and delicious way to pass the time! If the drama is too much for you, why not calm yourself with Chill Out Mint herbal infusion? This is a classic brew, crafted with soothing menthol and mint, combined with fresh herbs to help settle and satisfy any tea lover!
So there you have it: for a brew that has all the seductive appeal, excitement and just-as-good-the-fifth-time-round star quality of the theatre, then the only choice is Hoogly!
Written by Chris Bedford.