In conversation with

Show time with Martin Burrell

August 20, 2019

From fun-loving musicals to thought-provoking drama, Martin Burrell, our theatre desk manager at The Dorchester, has been to all the top London shows. Don’t plan a trip to the theatre without him! 

Passion for theatre

I’ve always loved the theatre and originally trained as an actor, so this job is ideal. In fact a friend contacted me while I was on holiday to tell me that The Dorchester was looking for a theatre desk manager and immediately got in touch saying, “Hold that job it’s got my name on it!”

Show time

On The Dorchester’s theatre desk we know a great deal about the 50 or so shows playing at any one time. We usually go to the theatre once a week. This expertise means we can be confident of giving the right personal recommendation.

Reviews are subjective, whereas our job is to judge exactly what suits our individual guests.

Memorable moments

I still remember my first experience of London’s West End as a child, which was ‘Harvey’ starring James Stewart. The excitement of that special occasion will stay with me always. There’s something wonderful about the shared experience an audience has – whether you’re laughing together, crying or just thinking. It’s a chance to live through these moments with the actors, unlike watching television or a film.

Most recommended

Musicals tend to be more popular than plays but it depends on whether you want to be made to think or just swept away. The play I’d recommended the most earlier this year was ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’. It’s such a clever and original story, putting the audience in the extraordinary mind of a 15-year-old. Anyone who loves good theatre really appreciates the realness of it.  When it comes to musicals ‘Tina’ is the one everyone wants to see, thanks to the powerhouse portrayal of Tina Turner.

Best of British

For guests looking for something British during their stay in London, I often recommend the unique staging of a courtroom scene from Agatha Christie’s ‘Witness for the Prosecution’. It’s played out in the historic council chamber of London’s magnificent County Hall, which is an experience in itself.

Pulling strings

I often get last-minute requests for shows that are notoriously difficult to get tickets for. Thankfully, we’ve built up some great theatre contacts throughout the West End, so it’s always worth asking!

Expert opinion

In 2018, I had the great honour of being a judge for the Olivier Awards. I was in seventh heaven for the whole year.  I got to see all 108 new productions with my fellow panellists. It made me appreciate what a gloriously rich variety of theatre London has to offer – when they get it right it’s just pure joy.

Be sure to visit the theatre desk next time you’re at The Dorchester, and if you’re looking for a theatrical style suite, there’s nowhere better than The Oliver Messel Suite.

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