Saturday, September 08, 2007

"An Audience with... Hilary Kay & Paul Atterbury" - September 2007

I suspect that the most common reaction to the title of the post will be "Who???". The subtitle of "Have you had it long madam?" may serve as a hint towards their involvement with the "Antiques Roadshow" but even then many of you will be thinking "Which ones are they then???" Which partly explains the somewhat disappointing audience at the Citizens for what was an enjoyable evening.

Still trying to work out who they are? I guess it doesn't really matter - much in the same way they tell us that locations and items tend to blur into one another, so do the experts on the Antiques Roadshow. Although having been with the show for 29 and 17 years respectively, these two are certainly familiar faces to the millions who watch each Sunday evening on BBC1.

Starting with an examination of the origins of the "Antiques Roadshow" and its presenters and experts we're then given what is essentially an insiders guide to the whole Roadshow experience along with amusing anecdotes, aided by video clips from time to time.

These sections are obviously pretty structured and as a result they come across as definite performances rather than off-the-cuff dialogues, but as performances they lack a little polish. The decision to have the house lights down also doesn't help as it leaves Kay and Atterbury often looking out blankly into space rather than being able to see and engage with the audience. While seeing the theatre 1/3 full may be disheartening, it would have built more of a rapport.

During an interval the audience are then able to provide written questions for them to answer in the second half of the show. This makes for a more relaxed and spontaneous section where although many of the questions will be covered in most shows, others seemed to provide a genuine element of thought.

For the casual "Antiques Roadshow" viewer this was a lovely evening of behind the scenes chat, and while true enthusiasts would probably learn little they didn't know already, Kay and Atterbury make for amiable company.

I'm afraid I probably have to put much of the blame for the low turn out down to the Citizens. On leaving the Sir Alex Ferguson and Sir John Mortimer shows earlier in the week we were handed flyers for the upcoming production of Hamlet and the Citz programme, but no attempt was made here or with posters/announcements to remind people of the other shows in the "Audience with..." series. A sadly missed opportunity.