Thursday, September 27, 2007

Scenes from the East End this week...


BETHNAL GREEN, originally uploaded by the_moog.

Those Bethnal Green rodents are good chameleons...

Monday, September 24, 2007

Theatre: Rhinoceros


Source: www.royalcourttheatre.com

Saturday night I found myself with Fliss at Rhinoceros at the Royal Court. I figured any play where pachyderms spontaneously appear and start running around the stage is my kind of show. Besides, I had studied it in high school so I knew it already. Fliss on the other hand declined to investigate further then knowing it was one of those weird-ass plays that Paul drags her to from time to time, but since it was my birthday she was bound to put up with it.

Our evening started out as a comedy of manners as Fliss thought my paté starter for dinner looked like dog food (it did). Well that's those Sloan Square bistros for you. But during the second act the evening had taken its absurdist tone, as she leaned over to me and whispered, "You didn't tell me there was going to be full-frontal nudity in this". Well I didn't know that was going to be the case either. She declined to answer whether it was the first time she had seen a middle-aged white man naked before (it was the first time I had ever paid money to see that) but whatever the case was, we had very good seats to observe it all.

Still nudity aside, there was so much to like about this new production. Ionesco's satire on mindlessness, conformity and banality was written as a response to the rise of fascism in Europe. But it could apply to many things these days. The Rhinoceros could be anything that refers to pack mentality, such as the way the West End theatre critics review things I suppose.

This new translation by Martin Crimp gives a new lease of life to this play as well and sounds a lot more like dialogue too... Actually the banal office banter was all too familiar for Fliss and I, although we often talked more about sex than socialism. I guess Ionesco didn't have as filthy a mind as we did. Or he had more important things to say.

The Royal Court itself was a great venue for the production as the distant rumbles from the tube trains passing could easily have been mistaken for galloping rhinos. The full-sized rhino that bursts through the wall before intermission was also a highlight that had the audience breaking out into applause. Of course the down side to all these walls being broken and stairwells collapsing and buildings falling apart was that there was a thin layer of chalky dust on everything... Those rhinos by the end of it all sure looked like they meant business. And with all that dust its best advised to avoid wearing black to the Royal Court for the next month or so.... Press night is this week and it runs through to November.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Scenes from the Royal Court Theatre Saturday


220920072512, originally uploaded by Paul-in-London.

Theatre dust thanks to the sets being smashed by a rhinoceros... More later...

Overheard at the Sainsbury's Checkout Saturday

Man #1: Look you are a 50 year old man. Deal with it.
Man #2: Yeah yeah yeah... Shush.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Theatre: Bouncers

Midweek theatre this week entailed going to the Greenwich Theatre to see a 30th anniversary production of Bouncers. For somebody turning 32 this week I figured I wasn't showing my age as much as this production. Sure the music had been updated and the cultural references had been too. But a night out had never seen so dated. If they were updating the play surely there should have been experiences of bouncers patting people down for knives, turning a blind eye to the GHB usage, and making sure everyone is drinking out of plastic cups if they are on the footpath. Alas it wasn't to be.

Essentially the play is an extended comic routine involving four men who are bouncers and their experiences picking up women and observing men at pubs. It's meant to be hilarious but I suspect that depends on how much you have drunk at the bar. The four men as women seemed to be collectively channelling John Inman. I would have preferred it to remain a period piece but that might have been a tad confusing for the large crowd of school students in the audience who were ready to laugh at it. Such a pity what is on the school curriculum these days... Well it is still a classic... Apparently...

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

In the news this week...

Not sure what the story is about but it probably doesn't matter. The South London Press is an entertaining read for those who like to read lovingly retyped press releases and filler before the ads for Foxtons...

Scenes from Open House Weekend Sunday


160920072484, originally uploaded by Paul-in-London.
Admiring some of the best architecture London has to offer as part of London Open House weekend... In (informal) architectural terms it is called "big penis structures"... Goldfinger (the architect) obviously had some issues there... They don't build 'em like that anymore...

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Movies: 2 Days in Paris



2 days in Paris was pretty good. Written directed and starring Julie Delpy it was a bit like a French Annie Hall. It may not be such a great movie to see if you are single, with all this angst on screen about being in a relationship and being alone. Catching it with Mandy (who is single too) she didn't have as much a problem with that but rather that the characters didn't stop talking. Well they were New Yorkers. I just found it great therapy. It showed that there is hope for all eccentrics out there to find somebody just as weird. The funniest scene involved no dialogue on the metro as they were getting spooked by a crazy guy with no sense of personal space. Oh the memories of Paris that came flooding back (even if when I was there I knew the crazy guy). Shot on the streets of Paris I have made a mental note to get back there once the new Eurostar link opens in November. Sure Waterloo looks great in The Bourne Ultimatum but the Eurostar from St Pancras looks even better...

Scenes from Soho Wednesday


Scenes from Soho Wednesday, originally uploaded by Paul-in-London.
It seemed fitting on the day it was announced that dining in London is more expensive than anywhere else in the world... To eat out...

Well, it was Busabai in Soho. Rather than do what another boy from Brisbane (well he is from Logan which is just outside of Brisbane and like Peckham but less pretty) did and get arrested on suspicion of racial abuse of the staff, we just started taking photos of the other diners who were well fit...

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Dance: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre


Source: http://www.alvinailey.org

In a week with a head cold from hell (which meant no gym, a lot of rest, and no socialising), it was somewhat of a relief to get out and see Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre at Sadlers Wells on Saturday night. Arriving at the theatre with the above artwork plastered all over the theatre (and most of Islington), I expected little was spent on the costume budget. But in a programme set to legendary jazz music, it turned out to not be the case. This was a bit of a relief as after a week of coughing and spluttering who needs to have somebody else's physical fitness rubbed in your face?

After the first interval I caught up with Fliss who was there with her posse. Fliss signed up to see the show on the strength of a viral video that was doing the rounds in the past month. I was there just for the artistic enrichment (plus I got a great seat at good price). Well that's my story and I'm sticking to it. Anyway I joined them the first interval onwards as a seat filler in the stalls. And while the view of the stage wasn't as good, the view of the stalls was much better and there were some pretty nice views there... Fliss and I also managed to bitch about some of the production team seating by who only vaguely managed to resemble their photos in the programme.

Anyway I digress... Setting dance to the music of Duke Ellington and others can only be a good thing and it was a great evening. I was even grooving along at various points. Afterwards I passed on a chance to dine with the posse in favour of more drinking and more jazz... It was probably not the best idea after a decongestant with pseudoephedrine (and may have explained the in-seat grooving) but what the hell. Regardless of what substances I was under the influence of, it still was a great night. They are in London until the end of this week before touring the rest of the UK. Definitely one to catch... And most of the seats at Sadlers Wells are pretty good...

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Benefits of a tube strike


, originally uploaded by Orhan*.
1. You can walk home while the weather is still good
2. Save money on travel fares
3. Excuse to get home early and watch the sultry Nigella flog Waitrose products on the BBC

Monday, September 03, 2007

News: Nobody's going anywhere


Nobody's going anywhere, originally uploaded by thegareth.
Unless you can take shanks's pony, the next few days are going to be a bit of a nightmare... Until today I had no idea what shanks's pony was... I had to look it up... So there's a word for the day...

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Overheard from a family on cycles in the park...

  • Your seat looks really comfortable
  • I don't know why you wanted to start the day cycling at 5pm
  • I wanted to go out much earlier but everything's closed
  • Aw come on mum...

Scenes from Kensington Palace Gates Saturday 18:42


010920072370, originally uploaded by Paul-in-London.

That's the trouble with being the people's princess... The people can be a bit cheap and tacky with their memorials made out of cereal boxes, old newspapers and ball-point pens... Ten years after dying in some car tunnel thanks to a pissed Frenchman, the display at Kensington Palace must be the most hilarious thing in town at the moment... Cheap, tacky and nasty... And that's just the women (of a certain age) there pushing and shoving you if you take too long to read the messages (or photograph them)...

All that was missing was "Die Camilla die"! Don't miss it... Those ASDA flowers won't last the weekend...

Theatre (again): Little Me


Source: http://www.nymt.org.uk

In a packed week of theatre I also caught a youth theatre production of Little Me which actually was pretty good when you realise it was put together in under two weeks. The night I saw it the sound was a bit off and I couldn't help but wonder what drag queen they stole those wigs from. But Sarah Hagan was lovely as Belle Poitrine... As much as I was able to hear her...