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Showing posts from September, 2010

First Impressions: Caroline O'Connor

Scenes from a long bus ride

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I suddenly had the urge to eat a huge roast chicken. Can't quite work out what came over me...

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Opera: Don Pasquale

Donizetti's Don Pasquale at the Royal Opera was a nice way to spend a Sunday evening. Not good or bad but nice. There was nothing terribly engaging about the performances, and in the first act it was a struggle to hear anything much from the cast. Later we were informed that one of the cast members was having problems but would persevere for us all. But the opera is witty and the story around an old man who marries to spite his nephew moves briskly through its three acts and comes with some laughs.

Particularly exciting was watching conductor Evelino Pidò conduct the opera chorus in the third act, which was a performance in itself. Jonathan Miller's 2001 production still looks fair enough, although its doll's house set design manages to distract one's attention and is possibly the reason for the poor quality sound. On the other hand you do get a better view of the cast than you would normally sitting in the amphitheatre... It runs through September and worth catching.…

Theatre: Passion

Stephen Sondheim's Passion has started previewing at the Donmar as part of the Sondheim at 80 season... This dark story about a young officer drawn towards a sick unhealthy woman is less musical and more melodrama set to a lush romantic score, with a bit of crazy thrown. The musical motifs repeat and repeat to a dizzying point and if you let yourself accept the basic premise of the show you're in for a hell of a ride. I have always liked this show in which the central message seems to be long distance relationships don't work, no matter how well written the letters are. Sondheim's music and lyrics are more natural here and grounded in realism, including told through a series of epistolary songs that repeat and alter. And if it this production is this good on the first night, it can only get better.

The show opens with Scarlett Strallen as Clara and David Thaxton as Giorgio in their underwear doing gymnastic gyrations on an unmade bed. Amongst all this they manage to s…

Scenes from West London

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A little bit of muscle and a big bang...

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