Picture of Mrs Doubtfire at The Shaftsbury Theatre.
February 5, 2024

Mrs Doubtfire

In his engaging blog, Kevin Dowsett, Artistic Director of Theatretrain, recounts a charming evening at Shaftesbury Theatre watching Mrs Doubtfire. Reflecting on his history with the venue, Dowsett praises the musical's magic, and its clever character development, and shares a special connection to Theatretrain, adding depth to the delightful West End experience.

I took my daughter to see Mrs Doubtfire at the Shaftesbury Theatre. I have a little history with this theatre, as a sixth former I went to see the then famous production of Hair. It caused a lot of fuss at the time as they all stripped off to sing for one number. The stage was dimly lit for this section and a stage manager friend of mine told me that if she had any trouble from the cast she only had to ask lighting to turn the dial up a bit and everyone fell into line. At the time it seemed revolutionary for the audience to go up on stage for the final number and join in.

As a company in 2006, we performed there with The Petticoat Rebellion – the story of the suffragettes. It’s a theatre I’d like us to perform at again but sadly the maximum allowed on stage is 200 so it rules out our large-scale productions.

Mrs Doubtfire was a fabulous show right from the pre-show announcements. It was based on the film in which Robin Williams gave a funny and heart-warming performance to a story of a divorced man who dresses up as a genial Scottish childminder to see his children. I remember enjoying the film but this seemed even better. A musical allowed the characters to develop their thoughts and give greater depth to the story. Also, as it was a musical it could do crazy things like have 10 identical Mrs Doubtfire’s in a dance routine. The central character played by Gabriel Vick was hardly ever off with a quick change, hilarious and touching performance. One moment where he held eye contact with his rival seemed to go on forever and the audience laughed more and more the longer it went on. How did they not laugh? The show is just a lovely mixture of laugh-out moments, quick costume changes and tender places of pathos.

Theatretrain, a nationwide provider of weekend theatre schools for young people aged 4-18, specialises in weekly classes in acting, singing, and dancing. An emphasis is placed on learning valuable life skills such as confidence, empathy, courage, and resilience. If you know a child who loves to dance, act and sing or could do with a little confidence boost why not visit to find out what our performing arts classes can offer your child at one of our 80 locations across the UK.

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