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Showing posts from July, 2010

Opera: Salome

Full frontal nudity, blood and violence never sounded and looked so good as it did in the Royal Opera's production of Salome which I caught last week. Richard Strauss based his one-act opera on Oscar Wilde's play, and gave his leading lady the enormous task of singing Wagnerian-like over a large orchestra, belting all the way. Angela Denoke in the title role could meet that task, although I was a little bewildered why she went from a delightful dinner party down to the cellar to speak to Jokanaan in the first place. Later, as Salome was dancing the dance of the seven veils, running from the dining room to the wash room, it felt more like dance of the seven rooms...

Actually there were so many eccentricities in this production ranging from a cellar / basement that looked like a hospital, it was best not to think about these things too much... I did assume the executioner was naked due to the practicalities of having to wash all that blood off one's clothes. A nice little Fr…

Theatre: Lingua Franca lost in translation

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It always seems to be awfully warm when I head to the Finborough Theatre to see a show. Last year it was the excellent State Fair which is having another run at Trafalgar Studios. It was worth persevering with perspiration for that. This time around it was Peter Nichols's play Lingua Franca which alas, was not. This was a pity as the cast were great and there potentially was something interesting that could have emerged from the constant stream of monologues in search of a story.

When you have a good cast with some great actors featuring I always assumed you could put up with them reading a phonebook. In this case, maybe the White Pages would have been better. The story is set in a language school in Florence in the 1950s, which is the backdrop for a series of mildly interesting stock characters. There are no real surprises in the story, except when two of the characters embraced in some frottage-like behaviour in the first act. By the time the play reaches its climax involving a …

Hot news this week in London

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Ping pong tables are popping up around London this week and are free to play... Providing you return the bats and balls...

It's one of the initiatives to get people playing more sport (possibly by blocking the walkway so you have no alternative)... Here's hoping we see surprise fencing tournaments start up next... Outdoor darts might be a step too far... It isn't an Olympic sport...



Ping pong on Leather Lane in Farringdon
Originally uploaded by Ping! London

Theatre: Aspects of Love

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After a week away from London, I was back in town this week to see a preview with the West End Whingers and others of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Aspects of Love, being revived at the Menier Chocolate Factory. Some might say it is an odd sort of story with a few catchy tunes, others might say it is Lloyd Webber's best work... As I had not seen it before (and hadn't been out for a while since being away) I was keen to see this chamber musical. Well I was just to be out really but that's another matter. All told, I enjoyed the cast and the production.

What works about this show is the cast and the production. It is a show centred around a few characters so it benefits from the small space. It could probably be a little smaller as there were the odd distractions of sets moving in and out like it was removal day... Given how close you are to the stage I did enjoy the the occasional sleight of hand such as when the daughter grows up in a song and gets replaced by an older actor i…