STANDING on stage, I have had some of my most exhilarating experiences and most terrifying.

I have felt more connected and part of a team and also so incredibly alone.

Such is the power of live theatre that it can make both the performer and the audience go to some of the most extreme places and feel the outer tips of emotion, feeling, what it is to be a human being.

This week I have had quite a run of theatre jollies, each very different from the previous.

On Wednesday, I battled through Cardiff City match evening traffic and a Herculean hunt for a parking space, to get to ‘Chapter Arts’ to see ‘The Creature’.

Sat in the round with the sparse set and four performers in touching distance, it was an intense exploration of fatherhood, abandonment, the nature of evil and more than the occasional mention of cheese toasties.

Inspired by ‘Frankenstein’, it was theatre, stripped back and raw.

Then a few days later and a jolly to the New Theatre to see ‘The Mousetrap’, after a delicious pre-theatre dinner in Giovanni’s.

Having lived in London for years, it is a cause of mild embarrassment to me that I never got around to seeing the longest-running West End play there, as much an institution or landmark as a theatrical ‘who dunnit’.

But it was a joy to snuggle down in Cardiff’s play house to eventually enjoy it.

My trilogy of theatrical treats was completed by a trip to London and excellent seats to take in the spectacular that is ‘Les Miserables'.

Assembling Alfie Boe, Michael Ball and Matt Lucas to star alongside one another, in a show that each has left an indelible and ever-lasting mark upon and has probably been marked by, is a casting agents dream come true.

The music is stirring with some songs more akin to prayers; the themes are in turn desperately heart-breaking and breathtakingly uplifting; the performances were faultless and I have never experienced quite so many standing ovations, for individual songs, from the close of the first Act to the end - it went on and on and deservedly so.

This was theatre that had transcended a story on a stage and had become a moment, a happening, an event.

There is something about live performances that only those that were there really know.

You can describe what happened or how you felt, but all too often find yourself murmuring the words, "you just had to be there..." and feel them drifting in to the ether.

I love that sense of shared experience that can, for a fleeting moment, bring strangers together.

A case in point being the line for the ladies loos in London, finding four of us all chatting about ‘Les Mis’, and in the process a finding a shared story of a grandchild being born that morning.

We were brought together, we talked, we listened and it felt special - and more needed than ever.