Thursday, April 05, 2012
It is a wonderful production of Mike Leigh's play with and excellent cast. The star of the show is really the authentic recreation of suburbia 1970s, which for both Feroze and I brought back happy memories of our childhood - complete with leather look lounges. The cast which includes Jill Halfpenny as party host extraordinaire Beverly and Joe Absolom as Tony.
The story is fairly straight forward. They drink, they smoke, they drink, they argue. They drink some more, smoke some more and argue more. What its all about and the point of it all is another matter but it is very funny. It also serves as a reminder that you don't have to watch Mad Men for a retro fix.
You can register on their website for interest in an extension to the season or a possible west end transfer. The production deserves a longer outing. Current run is scheduled to end 21 April.
The views of well fed and front row passive smokers are as follows...
Monday, April 02, 2012
This modern and minimalist dark production has evolved over the years. It is better lit now but there is still an orgy and full frontal nudity within the first thirty minutes. This enables anyone not in the stalls an excellent view of a flaccid penis and a nicely shaved bush. But as time goes it seems more and more superfluous to the main focus of this tragedy of a court jester who seeks revenge. Here is hoping that the production continues to evolve...
Conductor John Eliot Gardiner keeps the music well paced. Dimitri Platanias in the title role sounded great and received a rapturous applause for his interpretation of the role. You get a sense more of the doting father rather than the court jester or cursed man here.
Vittorio Grigolo plays the Duke and sounds too lovely to be the cad the role calls for, but it is hard not to like when he is on stage anyway. And it is easier to understand the motivation of Gilda, Rigoletto's daughter who is hopelessly in love with the Duke. And Ekaterina Siurina sounds and looks lovely. It runs through April. If you can't get to the House, there is always the live broadcast on 17 April...
Sunday, April 01, 2012
In October it will be fifty years since The Beatles released their first single ‘Love Me Do’. While scary to think that anyone now who remembers the sixties is ready for retirement (or near death), London’s Prince of Wales Theatre will welcome Let It Be, a new West End production featuring many of The Beatles’ greatest hits from September 2012.
The show is a theatrical concert and the first West End show with full rights to the Beatles' catalogue. The Prince of Wales theatre is also the site of the fab four's legendary Royal Variety performance, featured in the above clip. Tickets are on sale now. Mamma Mia, currently playing at the Prince of Wales theatre, moves to the Novello early September.
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
The Sunshine Boys opens at the Savoy Theatre towards the end of the April and a new picture of Richard Griffiths and Danny DeVito is out of the duo...
Neil Simon's classic play is about Al Lewis (Griffiths) and Willy Clark (DeVito), a vaudevillian team who grew to hate each other. They are reunited for a television special which is a cue for grumpy old men-type shenanigans.
Griffiths and DeVito certainly look the part, albeit with possibly better dental hygiene than real vaudeville stars... It starts previews from April 27...
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Based on The Servant of Two Masters by Carlo Goldoni, the action is updated from the renaissance to 1960s Brighton with songs by Grant Olding. The update works well with the mad plot and storyline and the costumes and set look great. The music and performance by the resident band "The Craze" gives things and added touch of class.
Keeping the insanity together is former understudy to James Corden, Owain Arthur, as Francis Henshaw. He manages to make the part his own. Sitting in spitting distance to the stage (his spit not mine), you could see how bloody hard he was working for the laughs. And it always helps when the audience members he calls on for the moments of audience participation (or should that be audience lubrication since it does get everyone in the right sort of mood?) give him plenty of material to work with. His rave reviews have not gone unnoticed in his homeland, but one also suspects a new star is in the making as well...
This show has all the elements of a great farce and there are some wonderful moments of physical comedy that will have you in tears of laughter. If you want to analyse it all, there is a chat this weekend with Tony Robinson to do that, otherwise strap yourself in and go for the ride.
And gentlemen... Not that I want to give anything away... But if a gorgeous, hot, single babe sits next to you and starts chatting you up... All may not be what it seems. Which is just as well if you have your own date on your other side.
Don't miss it, or perhaps see it again to catch all the lines you were too busy laughing over to hear...
One Man Two Guvnors is playing at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. Day seats available from 10am and there is a tour scheduled for later in the year.
Saturday, March 17, 2012
This weekend at the Store Street Gallery in Bloomsbury is the second exhibition of contemporary printmaking, promoting it as an art form. It includes a variety of prints by artists Lisa Denyer, Alexander Gough, Damien Hirst, David Hockney, Max Lowry, Dénes Maróti, Will Martyr, Andy Warhol and Giulia Zaniol. Venetian artist Zaniol's prints (pictured right) uses a two-plate technique that means no print is exactly the same and the results are quite varied and interesting.
The exhibition concludes Sunday, but be sure to linger around Store Street to sample the other exhibitions and independent stores in the neighbourhood. An oasis in Bloomsbury and a civilised short walk up from Covent Garden or the British Museum...
Thursday, March 15, 2012
I caught a charity fundraiser for The Sound of Mumbai this week. It is currently available to watch online on More4 within the United Kingdom and tells the story of a slum school choir performing the songs from The Sound of Music in a major concert hall with a full orchestra. At the heart of the documentary is the optimism of the young singers who have so many hopes and dreams riding on the one performance.
The success of the documentary has led to the start of Songbound which is a music outreach initiative that uses singing to reach out to India's most impoverished children through collaborative projects with schools, choirs and professional musicians. Donations can be made through the website.
Boo impressions follow...
Stephen Sondheim's Grand Guignol musical-opera Sweeney Todd is back in the West End. This time it is with the versatile (and somewhat unrecognisable) Michael Ball in the title role and Imelda Staunton as Mrs Lovett, his partner in crime. The tale has been told in many forms, and the last time it was on the West End was in John Doyle's wonderfully claustrophobic production where the cast doubled as the orchestra. This time around, this Chichester Festival transfer provides a slightly more traditional staging of the production with a grand set, huge sounding orchestra and elaborate set pieces. Of course it is still probably Victorian London as the story does not make sense in any other period, but you could be forgiven with the odd car, costuming and set decoration that it could also be the 1930s...
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
In Basildon by David Eldridge at The Royal Court is a brilliantly funny play about a dysfunctional family and an inheritance. Len is on his deathbed and the family gather to say goodbye. His two sisters Maureen and Doreen have not spoken in nearly twenty years. Doreen's son Barry is hoping to get the house as his inheritance so he can start a family. The scene is set for greed, grudges and entitlement against the backdrop of the city of Basildon, a rather bleak looking town created in post war England to house the growing population from London (and featured in the above promotional video).