Posts

Showing posts from March, 2010

Theatre: Shirley Valentine

Just before Easter I managed to catch Meera Syal in the Chocolate Factory's revival of Shirley Valentine, part of its Willy Russell season which also includes Educating Rita. I wasn't particularly in the mood to go and see this play as I was to be packing that evening for a holiday, but there was something about this show that sucks you in and has you hooked.

On one level the 1980s have never been so fashionable. But on another level, when you are watching a show with a set that reminds you of your mother's kitchen, and the first scene involves frying chips and egg (don't go to the theatre on an empty stomach), perhaps it isn't everyone's idea of a great night out. That's a pity as Syal's performance is great and the show is as good as ever (not withstanding the difference of opinions in the audioboos below)...

Willy Russell seems to love the cliches and dramatically obvious but here in this show that is an asset (unlike in Blood Brothers where it is j…

Fashion: Trends on the underground Saturday night

Image
IMG_1624
Originally uploaded by Paul-in-London
It's all about brown shoes at the moment... Preferably your own not somebody else's...

Wandering about London Saturday

Image
IMG_0152
Originally uploaded by Paul-in-London
Battersea Power Station with moody weather backdrop... Shortly after a monster dump of rain ensued...

Theatre: Anyone Can Whistle

Image
Anyone Can Whistle, playing at the Jermyn Street Theatre is an odd sort of show that apart from potentially curing your insomnia will leave you wondering what on earth it was all about. I sat in the front row and even with all that great singing and acting I was none the wiser. It is one of Sondheim's shows that closed shortly after opening and that was probably less to do with the songs (there are a few good ones) and more to do with the book and subject matter.

Still, well done for the cast and the creative team for trying to make something out of it. Just pity the audience that has to sit through it. It is not every show that has four people falling asleep, and about half a dozen not returning for the second half...

It is Sondheim's eightieth birthday so there will be an onslaught of Sondheim shows in London this year. It feels like we get at least one major Sondheim revival every year for the past few years anyway... So perhaps no excuse was needed anyway. It runs a bit lo…

Theatre: Soap

I don't recall anyone saying that you should see more shows that feature hot wet acrobats falling about. But there should have been. This great looking show Soap, is playing at the Riverside Studios and is quite a eye opener. And not just because the cast is well fit and lit with water and moody lights. The show was quite engaging on its own level and will have you hooked. After a slightly shaky start on Tuesday night (where I think the audience wasn't quite sure what to expect), we all settled in and went for the ride.

The programme notes make the point that this show has been a hit in Germany, this is the ideal sort of Cabaret / Variety show. That was fine with me. Some of the creative team was also behind the production of La Clique, however this show has a much more coherent thread through it. There may not be a woman playing a kazoo with her vagina, but there was water and acrobats so that was more than enough (as the clip above demonstrates). It runs for about ninety mi…

Theatre: Once Upon A Time At the Adelphi

Last week I was watching Paint Never Dries at the Adelphi Theatre wondering if this is what passes for British musical theatre nowadays, maybe I should avoid it in future. This week I was at the Union Theatre watching Once Upon A Time At The Adelphi, which despite the overlong title (and perhaps an overlong second half), was enough to make me change my mind. There may be no projections or intricate melodies, but at least there is a coherent story and a series of characters that you could at least care about.

The musical, by Phil Willmott, is set at the Adelphi Hotel in Liverpool, which has been the source of many great stories, such as Roy Rogers taking his horse, Trigger, on the roof for some exercise or Hitler working in the kitchen. The action moves between the present day and 1930s. While it is more melodrama than drama, there is an emotional heart in it all, that had me hooked right up to the ending. And dare I say... It will leave you with a slightly misty-eyed view of Liverpool…

Nights out: Show Off

London has never really done the piano bar... They are good at doing the rough bar, the noisy bar, the bar where everyone used to be hip but now look weathered, the bar with too much wallpaper but never a bar where there is just a piano and a singer... And an open mic... So Saturday nights may not ever be quite the same again after the inaugural Show Off Piano Bar, downstairs at the Cafe Koha behind Leicester Square Tube on Charing Cross Road. The lovely Nathan Martin and Marissa Dunlop entertained and then coerced (at least some) of the bar patrons up to the piano to sing. The standard was pretty good too... Particularly after a few drinks...

With such a wide selection of sheet music flying about the bar, finding a song in low level lighting wasn't the easiest of things to do but I did make do with a little number from The Producers. Show tunes did abound strangely enough but they weren't essential. An awfully sensible way to start (or end) a Saturday night. The next one is o…

Theatre: Love Never Dies

Image
I had the opportunity to catch a preview of Love Never Dies, the sequel to Phantom of the Opera, Friday  night at the Adelphi Theatre in the West End. It is the show with the really creepy artwork that is starting to appear around town, and which has its opening night this week...

I have yet to get around to seeing Phantom on stage, but I would like to think that I know enough about the story and the music to make sense of any follow up. I also recall many years ago playing the Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman cast recording on a family road trip which caused my grandmother to throw up. The free association of the show with grandma's sick probably hasn't incentivised me to rush out and grab a ticket.

Anyway arriving tonight at the theatre with Johnnyfox there was a buzz of activity. It was either excitement, or the sounds of people scrambling to pick up tickets from the shambolic box office. Normally at one minute to the curtain up you don't see a line of people stretc…

In other news in London

Image
East London Advertiser
Originally uploaded by LoopZilla
You have to watch out for those birds...

Theatre: Hobson's Choice

At the end of Tuesday night's performance of Hobson's Choice at the Broadway Theatre in Catford, the woman behind us leaned over and said to Johnnyfox and myself, "You two are terrible..." I was thinking, hmm wasn't that exactly what the ladies at the Gatehouse said when we saw the high furniture removal production of High Society?
Well naturally anything with the slightest double entendre is going to make us titter, so lines like "I like a man who's good with their fingers" is naturally going to lead to trouble. Of course this woman's mind also was in low places; she was the lone person laughing following the line that mentioned something vaguely about finishing up your work before you come (to bed).

Schoolboy antics aside, this is a great production of the Harold Brighouse play, briskly paced and acted well. Oh and it is directed by Thom Southerland who always manages to make a show look great in a tight space.
Written in 1914 and set in 1880, it…