Oh I do love a grammatical question dear. Or should it be: ‘Oh I do love a grammatical question, dear.’? Or should it be: ‘Oh, I do love a grammatical question, dear.’? Or perhaps: ‘Oh I do love! A grammatical question? Dear!’?
I’ll be honest, this is something that has confused me ever since Cameron Mackintosh invented theatre in the 1960s. Am I producing a show in the West End, or on the West End?.
I think if you are performing in a show, you are in the West End. If you were on the West End you would just be standing on it, but being in it means you are doing it. But then, equally, I think you can use on and in together: “Hello, dear. Yes, my show is on in the West End at the moment.”
God, my brain is getting frazzled. I need a Babycham, dear. Or should that be: ‘I, need a Babycham. Dear?’
Maybe some practical sentences will help: with this theatrical quandry:
• I’m doing a show in the West End.
• I’m in the West End.
• I’m performing in the West End.
• I have performed in the West End.
• I was in the West End.
• I’m doing a show on the West End. (Doesn’t sound right)
• I’m on the West End. (Nope)
• I’m performing on the West End. (Maybe)
• I have performed on the West End. (Just possibly)
Some claim to have performed in the West End when they have been blowing bubbles outside Hamleys. This is neither in nor on the West End
I’m not sure. Of course, some people claim to have performed in the West End when they have been blowing bubbles outside Hamleys. This is neither in nor on the West End, dear. Of this, I am certain.
Anyway, to get a definitive answer, I consulted my editors at The Stage. I have been informed the house rule is that it is in the West End, but it’s on Broadway. This is because the West End is a general area, but Broadway is a specific street / landmark. Now that makes sense! Thank you, darlings.
Of course, at the moment the very thought of having a show in or on the West End is something we can only dream about. Who knows how long it will be before an actor will be able to put on make-up and shout and gurn and ball-change their way across the stage.
My fear is that it will take at least a year for the industry to catch up properly. I doubt many will want to sit in a space with 500 others for a very long time. And on top of that, with unemployment being so high, who will be able to afford the luxury of theatre? Who knows?
What I do know is that when it comes back it will be needed and embraced more than ever. As Jeff Goldblum famously said in that famous film about dinosaur drama queens: “Theatre finds a way”, dear.