Head of Hair

I have SeatPlan to thank for my bucket list getting shorter. In case you're not aware it is a website that shows you the actual view from different theatre seats submitted by people whose bottoms have occupied them.

When it comes to seating I know what I like (front-ish, centre Stalls), though that is often at odds with the stratospherically high prices for West End shows.

By coincidence, my friend who has no such seat loyalty, used the SeatPlan website when we were buying tickets for Pi, and we had such a brilliant view from the Royal Circle that I thought I might need to reconsider my long-held preferences.

At the Oliviers (and to be fair at Pretty Woman where I didn’t get to pick my seas) I was reminded why it is, and will remain, the Stalls. It’s the tops of heads and our friend Head of Hair.

With the great and the good by necessity occupying the seats nearest the stage, the mere mortals were sat in the periphery. And with an auditorium as large as that of the Royal Albert Hall the periphery can be quite a long way up.

Free seats notwithstanding, the value of SeatPlan rather proved itself, as if I had been tottering on high heels I would have appreciated the warning not to look down until firmly seated.

The Royal Albert Hall has just been added to the venues covered by SeatPlan and they are very keen to get more visitors to the venue to share their seat views, and audience members can also review their seat, which could be handy if leg room is your 'thing'.

We were in the Rausing Circle named after a charitable donor and even from there the huge screen onto which proceedings were projected was dominant. Without it — and isn't that the point of a live experience — everyone looked like ants in wigs (thank you again Head of Hair) because, to be truthful, there were a fair few on stage who had stiff necks and didn’t manage to look up as far as RC Row T.

This won't matter for film Return of the Jedi which will be screened in September with a live orchestra playing the anthemic score for which 'my seat' costs £50-something.

It will be the same price for Car Man but will there be a screen — I can't tell. If there isn't you'll need to take your own binos, and if there is what does that do to the enjoyment of those in the much closer Arena seats costing a lot more.

Time and/or SeatPlan will tell I suppose.

In truth of course is the key to live performance is about having an individual reaction to a collective experience, and here the Royal Albert Hall has the massiveness that is more than 5,000 side-by-side.

Without wishing to detract from some very impressive performances, the biggest goose bumps awards goes to the spontaneous, unanimous upstanding for the Ukrainian National Anthem sung by native mezzo-soprano Kseniia Nikolaieva.

It wasn’t the only reference to the war. Supporting Actor in a Musical winner Elliot Levey (Cabaret) made space in his acceptance speech for a well-received point about refugees. If you watch the televised highlights you might wonder why his bit got quite such rapturous applause, and the answer is that his criticism of Government ineptitude was edited out, be it for political impartiality or time constraints.

On television it is sanitised is more ways than just that. Live it has moments that will resonate for whatever reason making it meaningful and memorable for each.

The "landmark moment for puppetry" when seven actors playing the tiger in Pi won Best Supporting; when all-female Pride and Prejudice* (*Sort Of) writer, director and performer, Isobel McArthur, thanked the Tron; when Liz Carr (Best Supporting for The Normal Heart — over 35 years since a disabled actor played the role) said "I think this proves we can do it".

Talk about "The First Time In Forever".

SOLT president Eleanor Lloyd closed her speech saying "Theatre needs a big night out, let's make it one to remember". For me it was, and I would like to thank my agent, my mother …

Sandra Giorgetti would like to thank SeatPlan, British Theatre Guide, and Rick Strickland, Head of Hair.