Nikki Cotter, Founder/Editor of Opening Night
Theatre reviews, news and cast interviews from Manchester and beyond!
The theatre demands your full attention. You can’t pause it, click on your phone and swipe through to Twitter! There’s no screen between you and the performance; you’re totally immersed and engaged with everything on the stage.
I love the unexpectedness of it – not knowing where it’s going to take you. I can cry happy tears or sad tears, which I find freeing and cathartic. Everyone is affected differently depending on what they relate to. As a reviewer I’m aiming to convince people that, good or bad, they should have their own experience of the show.
‘No spoilers’ is my golden rule (that and ‘Remember who your audience is’). There’s no point going to watch ‘The Fully Monty’ and treating it like you’re watching ‘Macbeth’! You also have to be fair – offering constructive criticism which doesn’t court controversy for clickbait.
Reviewing is a privilege that came into my life around eight years ago. My showbiz reporter friend Michelle Eagleton asked me to help her out; she knew I’d had media training and loved the theatre. Press officers trusted us to deliver what was promised and gave us review tickets in return. By September 2016 we’d created own website, Opening Night, where we could control all the content.
Since then I’ve interviewed everyone from superstar Sting to political satirist Ian Hislop. Millionaires or not, they have created something they want people to watch. I treat it like an ordinary chat – albeit with someone I deeply admire!
Seeing my review on a poster is always a thrill. The first time was a TV advert for ‘Billy Elliot’! I’ve been to world premieres, but I also love reviewing up-and-coming theatre companies. The community is small but so supportive and I’ve met some of my best friends through reviewing.
As a child, my parents saved hard to take me and my three sisters to the theatre. I feel very lucky that I can give that experience back to them now with the best seats in the house. I’ll never become blasé about the theatre. My third show in a week could be the only production some people see in a year; my duty is to always do it justice.